…given the nature of this assignment, I figured I’d have an easier time writing in the setting of a blog post. My assignment is to write a one-page response about the work of literature that I most enjoyed reading and discussing in class this semester. Lame confession: I actually didn’t finish a lot of the assigned readings. But whatever.
On an unrelated note and before I dive into this assignment…
Current song on replay: Intro – The xx
It’s great (at the moment at least). I am the type of person who continuously listens to a song until the sheer number of times I’ve heard it makes me sick of it. I remember putting Postcards from Far Away – Coldplay on replay back when I was writing a lit essay on The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens last quarter. By the time I had finished writing my essay, I’d upped the play count on that song by several hundred at least. It remains the #1 song on my top 25 most played songs playlist.
OK. Now I will start.
I often feel like a mindless drone. In fact, when I reflect on the meaning of this phrase, I realize that I actually am its epitome. I’ve been stuck in the same pathetic cycle of waking up, going to school, doing homework, and sleeping (though not a whole lot of it) since 6th grade. It’s not a new revelation by any means; every tear shed over lost test points and every all-nighter pulled for the perfect essay was done in a completely self-aware state. And that’s what bothers me so much—the fact that I know how pointless all of this is.
The Metamorphosis was not my favorite book to read. I thought Benito Cereno was much more enthralling, and I considered “Rappaccini’s Daughter” to be one of the most interesting short stories that I’ve read in an English class. However, The Metamorphosis did touch upon an issue that I can relate to. Gregor is the typical workaholic. He devotes his entire life to working blindly towards ultimate meaninglessness. Enslaved by a false authority, he cements himself in a mindless routine and becomes so wrapped up in the minutiae of everyday life that he no longer truly lives. And one day, he simply wakes up as a bug, the literal manifestation of how useless he has become as a human being. It is only in becoming this bug that he eventually regains some of his lost humanity.
Just as this transformation was a wake up call for Gregor, reading and discussing this book in class was one for me. Though I have always been aware of my ridiculous ways, the discussion really drilled the idea into my mind and made me reassess some of the decisions that I’ve been instinctively making. People in class remarked how important it is to remember that ultimately, it is only one day in a long string of days. There is no point in concentrating on the petty details of our current realities at the expense of living enjoyably. In time, these specific concerns that loom so large at present will dissipate, and the real problem will show itself in a shocking way—perhaps not as the metamorphosis into a bug, but certainly as regret, shame, void. I am already starting to feel a little bit of all these. I have rejected invitations from friends to celebrate birthdays and holidays; I have missed out on opportunities to develop real friendships beyond their acquaintance stage; I have resorted to making long lists of books-to-read and movies-to-watch rather than actually reading and watching them; I have let go of my chance to become a substantive person beyond the numbers. Now high school is almost over and all I have is a stack of fairly decent report cards.
Since reading The Metamorphosis, to be honest, I have not changed much. I may have a deeper understanding of myself, but I remain the same mindless drone as before. But the first step has been taken, and maybe by the time I head off to college, I’ll be able to keep my priorities straight. Joey Lima mentioned during the discussion, “Life sucks and then you die.” (I was taking notes that day.) I once believed in that philosophy too, but now I realize that there’s an equal chance that it will be “Life is good and then you die.”
OK, so that turned out to be almost 2 pages double spaced when I pasted it into a word doc (I feel like this always happens to me… I write too much fluff and everything overflows and it always goes over the word limit). Oh well.
Your inflated wisdom is unneeded.
This is my blog and I’ll spew whatever nonsense I want.
Here’s a sprinkling of numerics. Of scores that should not count, of grades that could be ignored. Here are the trivialities I’ll look back on in hindsight and remark, “Oh, that was ridiculous. Why was I so worried again?” But at the present moment, these anxieties are deeply rooted things that are very real and very distressing. I definitely did not perform up to par today. I essentially need a 100% (or possibly a 96.66% if I’m lucky) on my physics test to get an A this quarter. It’s a miserable feeling knowing that you’re so close to something… yet not quite close enough. To taste success at the tip of your tongue, and to let the flavor dissipate again before having even properly relished it… it’s infuriating. I also messed up my stat test, but hopefully I can still get an A in the class.
There are crumbs and eraser shavings everywhere. These tiny particles are strewn across my desk, my workspace, my living area in a way that irritates me more than such a circumstance should. I am easily bothered by the trivial discomforts common to everyday living. There’s this problematic situation that I encounter, almost perpetually it seems: I want to eat my pita chips and hummus with enjoyment and with as much of a carefree spirit as I can muster, but the result of the careless consumption—specks of food contaminating my otherwise hygienically clean table—gnaws at me from the inside out. I can barely function. My focus is gone, my work ethic is diminished. Something is just off. Displacement and disorganization are unbearable. The little things really get to me.
I know it’s dangerous to dream. In fact, I live with the mindset of “no expectations, no disappointments.” I don’t want to hold out hope, but it’s so so hard. I envision myself in such a beautiful future full of realized academic goals, a blooming social life, a happy family, a stable life. I imagine the perfect college experience, the perfect college itself, the perfect major, the acceptance, the glory, the happiness. It’s so vivid in my mind, but as soon as I drift out of my reverie, it’s back to my current snapshot in reality. The switch is rather drastic and startling. I want that life so bad, but alas, it’s not my fate to decide.
Tired. Heavily, extremely, intensely tired. I am physically drained, emotionally worn, intellectually exhausted. My eyes are hollow, sallow, expended. I am but a frail shell, walking without a purpose, working in a blinded state, continuing my lifestyle as a mindless drone. Output output output. I chug and plug and churn out what I can, but it’s no longer the quality I once produced. My mind is fogged up from drowsiness. The sleep debt totals a scary amount. I’m unwell and unhealthy, and I think I’m on the brink of something. Lunacy? Meltdown?
There will always be hardships. And I’ve just gotta suck it up. STRESS STRESS STRESS. My only consolation is that it’ll soon be over. No matter the outcome, good or bad, futile or not, desirable or unpleasant, the toil will end and I will be free. I will FORCE myself to be free. A bucket list is to come.
If only you knew. You make me want to love and hate you at the same time. We have been friends for a long time, and I suppose that gives you the right to make fun of me and insult me, to not sugar-coat things and instead tell me the truth. In fact, this kind of honesty is much appreciated. I am grateful that you aren’t one of the ones from the Horde of Disingenuity. That group is unbearable… their false compliments, casual flattery, blind admiration of a skewed perspective of me. It’s pressuring and hurtful. Their intentions aren’t bad, but I hate how they carelessly toss these words of praise out there like chicken feed, not caring one bit about the way they scatter on the floor. Little do they know that this scattering, this arrangement does matter. I would prefer one real compliment to a million absentminded ones any day. On the other side of the spectrum of disingenuity, they worship me for my grades, for my supposed intelligence, for what I appear on the outside. It’s a superficial respect that makes me feel sick on the inside. I want to scream at them, “No!” I am not this or that or whatever they declare I am. Stop assuming! It’s frustrating to live freely while false labels are emblazoned on my forehead against my will. I’ve had this problem since 5th grade. People just automatically attach labels to me—variations of nerd with all sorts of connotations—that give me this extra pressure to live up to what I seem to be projected as. I need to live up to “my image” or else the reputation I never asked for will suffer.
Anyway, as I said, you are not one of Them. I am glad about this. However, sometimes honesty can hurt too. I think it’s more my problem than yours, as what you said wasn’t even hurtful in the direct sense of the word. It was a perfectly normal statement, something that would have probably gone by unnoticed had it been directed to anyone who wasn’t me. I am a sensitive person and I feel emotionally hurt at the slightest misunderstanding, the most subtle strikes at my personality and actions. I don’t mind the kidding around, the playful blows. I like being the butt of your jokes. Heck, I like to insult myself. I am probably the most self-deprecating person in the world. I really can’t stand big egos, so I’d probably hate myself if I were to even put on a cocky front. But when the matter becomes serious and your tone betrays some level of earnestness, or you accurately pinpoint one of my weaknesses and tell me so in a spiteful way…honestly, I feel like crap. You don’t have to constantly remind me of my bad points. I understand. I know I have many flaws.
It really sucks to hear it from a friend. You hurt me more than you’ll ever know. I have a tough exterior shell and my sense of humor protects me from the crudest of insulting jokes, but as soon as a remark crosses over into the realm of subtle vindictiveness, my shield shatters and I am left defenseless. Your words are like daggers that pierce through to the heart. I’m bleeding on the inside. I can take constructive criticism about certain issues, but when it hits home, I feel rather misunderstood. I do care deeply, contrary to what you think and I was conscious of the issue before you waved it in front of my face. If only you knew that your bluntness is more than I can take. The only thing I hate more than wrong assumptions about my virtues are wrong assumptions about my vices. I actually feel wronged.
I feel like crumpling sometimes.
I’ve been getting bogged down by my own insecurities. I am unhappy with my life and my accomplishments (or lack thereof). I simply cannot handle the amount of pressure that is engulfing me at the moment. It’s actually not a lot compared to the magnitude of the crap that I’m sure other people must face, but the combination of a just a tiny bit of stress and a temperament like mine makes it worse. I am plagued by constant paranoia, low self-esteem, and anxiety. I just can’t shake off the heavy burdens that I place on myself. I try to deal, but I am an immature brat. I scream and shout, throw temper tantrums, cry like a baby. I am disappointed in myself. It feels like a constant battle that I’ll never win.
Frankly, I am quite aware of my own problems. The real problem is that I run away from them. Confrontation is unpleasant, but avoidance is destructive. I want to tend to my internal conflicts and heal my damaged self, but now it seems impossible. I bury myself in the trivialities of the Internet; it brings me fleeting bliss. I’ve become dependent, an addict, a worthless vermin. I am an empty husk. Hollow, useless, stuck.
Living has become painful. It’s dull and joyless. I comprehend the concept that life is pointless until you impart meaning to it, but at this stage, I am too broken to do anything about it. It’s pathetic, but it’s also the truth. I’m lost and I just need a place to spill my bottled up emotions without judging eyes and probing voices. I want liberation without condemnation. This is the first step to salvation.
This is the life of a bland individual enduring the mediocrity of everyday minutiae. This is the life of a bruised soul seeking solace in another triviality. This is a paradox, a nonsensical distraction. This is embarrassment and shame and secrets.
The deluge is coming.