Friday, December 28, 2007

Overload

My brain feels overloaded.

Too much thinking and second-guessing and doubting going on up there.

I discovered something about myself over the past few months -- well, maybe discover isn't the right word, more like articulated -- I am a person who likes it when things under her are solid. I don't like the unknown phase, the up-in-the-air time, being in limbo. I like to have closure and finality. Waiting around for something to materialize is not something I enjoy. I am not patient enough to always let time do its work. Heck, I'm not patient enough to let other people always proceed at their own pace. I need to go according to my own speed, but I want everyone else to be moving along at the same rate, which is of course not so fair to ask of others, because people have different personalities and needs and operate differently.

But I don't *want* to wait. I don't *want* to have to let time swirl around me and let myself drift slowly in its wake. I want to be the one in control, the one determinedly pushing through things and being in total control of the situation.

Gah. My wiring is bothering me. I wish I was built differently. I wish I was one of those people who relaxes easily, who relinquishes easily when they know that they can't do anything to affect what's happening around them -- not giving up, but being realistic and not letting the helplessness of waiting overwhelm them.

Am I being too hard on myself? It's possible. I see all my faults very clearly (even though it may not seem like I do -- mostly it's just that I wish I didn't have them and so choose to ignore them). But I need to relax and just let myself go with the flow. To just breathe and let go of the reins that I'm clutching so hard, my knuckles are turning white and my hands are hurting. Not to mention that I have finals coming up, and if I don't give them the attention they deserve, I'm probably not going to be so happy with the results.

Well, I think that's quite enough self-indulgent angst for one post. I'm gonna go eat some cookies now.

"Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength."
--Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Inner balancing act

It's funny sometimes.

I wonder how much I let what other people think of me guide my decisions. I would like to think that I've gotten to the point where I just don't care anymore, and while I will try not to violate halacha and I stay within the comfort zone of my hashkafic parameters, I pretty much do as I please without constantly worrying, "What is everyone else going to think?"

And then I just have these moments where I do something that I normally wouldn't, because I'm suddenly seized with fear that if someone would find out what I did, they would react in a way that would make me feel bad about what I had done, even if there's no problem with it per se.

Okay, all my pronouns are probably making you confused, so I'll try to concretize what I'm saying.

The other night, I spent the night at friends instead of in the dorm. I decided not to tell people where I was, because I assumed that they would react negatively and with suspicion.

So when people asked me where I was, I ... kind of lied. Okay, I didn't lie, per se, but I didn't tell them the entire truth. And the thing is, as I only told them half the story, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy with what I was saying - but I did it anyway.

What on earth motivated me to only tell a half-truth? Why was I so afraid of what they would say, what their reactions would be? Am I not secure enough with myself and my motivations that I can't handle people not necessarily agreeing with every move I make?

This set me off on thinking about how I react to mussar that people give me. When my friends tell me that they disapprove of what I'm doing, or when someone tells me that I'm being rude or ignoring someone, or that I interrupt, or the lots of other things that people see fit to tell me that I'm doing wrong (and hey, I'll admit it - I'm probably doing something wrong), what do I do?

Generally, when someone tells me that they don't agree with or like a certain behavior of mine, it makes me go waaaaay defensive and I spend lots of time justifying my behavior to them. Or I shut down and I don't listen to the other person, or I think of a million reasons why they're wrong and I'm right and how they also do way worse things so why should I bother to listen. Now, many people might say that this type of reaction is normal, but just because something is normal doesn't mean I shouldn't be working to change it.

As a certain friend would say, it's all about balance - being able to accept mussar and even act on it, while at the same time, being yourself and being comfortable with who you are. It's a tricky place to get to, though - it's so easy to go too far and disregard any mussar that you get, because you emphatically feel that you are you and so you should do what you feel most comfortable doing, because to not be yourself would be dishonest. But it's also easy to go the other way and be so disoriented by mussar that people give you that you constantly try to please others without being truly happy yourself.

I discussed this with a wise friend, and she asked me what I would want my friends to do in the event that they saw me doing something that they perceived to be damaging or injurious to myself - emotionally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise. Would I *want* them to say anything to me? Or would I rather them leave me alone and assume that I am an adult who has thought things through and has made her own decisions? In other words, do I *want* to receive mussar/guidance/perspective? Or do I just want my friends to leave me alone and go about making all my decisions using my own judgment?

I want to be open and willing to hear mussar. I really do. So why is it so hard for me to hear it? Maybe it's because I don't think they understand the full picture, and even when I try to explain, they still don't. That frustrates me - that even when I explain, no one really gets it. But then am I really just justifying my behavior without bothering to take a step back and evaluate myself and really take a good, deep look at my motivations?

I feel like I'm walking a very narrow inner tightrope sometimes. I'm afraid to take a step in any direction, because I'm afraid I'm going to fall off and everything will shatter. But I need to take steps, because if I stay in one place, I'm going to wobble.

I need to go forward.

P.S. Will you hold my hand?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Little Shop of %#$*!@

Okay, I need to blog about something QUICK so that I don't think about the upcoming show. (One of the other main parts might have mono, I keep forgetting certain lines, I still get confused with some of the lyrics [at least it's only one of the eleven songs I'm in], no one seems to come onstage at the right time, we've never had a practice with every member of the cast, and the show is on Sunday. ::sigh:: I'm *really* looking forward to Shabbos.)

So.

Uh.

Yeah.

I made up a haiku:

Don't be in school shows
Tolls will be taken on you
Have regret after.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

7 things meme

As many other bloggers have noted, this is very reminiscent of the 8 things meme that went around in the summer. I was tagged by Scraps, though, and I like memes, so I thought I'd do it again.

1. I'm an extremely light sleeper. I wake up from the littlest bit of noise or light, so I need to sleep in pitch darkness and complete silence. If I'm really tired enough, I can sleep for 9-10 hours, but on average, I wake up after having slept only about 5 hours. Usually this means that I'm a complete zombie during the day.

2. I never seem to know how much milk to pour into a bowl of cereal. It always ends up being too much, so then I add more cereal, but then I need more milk . . . breakfast takes me a really long time :D.

3. The first time I took my road test, I failed in five different ways. (Let's see if I can remember all: didn't signal on the K-turn, drove too slowly, forgot to signal before pulling out of a parked position, messed up parallel parking [two wheels over the curb. No idea how it happened.], and one more thing which I've forgotten.)

4. When I was younger, I pretended I had a catering company and kept a notebook of clients and menus.

5. It drives me crazy when people around me daven shemona esrei loud enough that I can hear every word. Not to mention that it's halachically incorrect.

6. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in third grade.

7. I dislike the taste of mint, unless it's in toothpaste or mouthwash. Oh, and Thin Mints - the Girl Scout cookies. Those are goooooooood. But I don't like mint candy, mint gum, or chocolate with that nasty mint goo inside. Or actually, chocolate with any kind of goo inside.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Interesting similarity

This article is from a couple months back, but the comments thread on this post made me think of it. Excerpt:
"For scarf-wearing Muslims like me, premarital interaction between the sexes (touching, talking or even looking) is strictly controlled. Our mosques have his and her entrances and stairwells. Men and women pray, eat and congregate separately. At private dinner parties, women exit the dining room so the men can serve themselves platefuls of spicy curry and kebabs. Family celebrations are segregated: boys sit on one side of the hall, girls on the other, and married couples in the middle.

When out in public — at school or the mall or the movie theater — interactions with non-Muslim boys tend to be less constrained but still formal. A playful push from a boy would bring an awkward explanation of how touching is against my religion.

So my friends and I had high expectations when it came to marriage, which was supposed to quickly follow graduation from college. That’s when our parents, many of whom had entered into arranged marriages, told us it was time to find the one man we would be waking up with for the rest of our lives, God willing. They just didn’t tell us how.

There were no tips from our mothers or anyone else on how to meet the right man or to talk to him. It’s simply expected that our lives will consist of two phases: unmarried and in the company of women, and then married and in the company of a man. There is no middle ground and no map of how to cross from one phase to the next."

I find the similarity between the communities to be both unsurprising and oddly comforting. I don't think we're quite as on our own as she and her peers seem to be with regard to people handing out marriage advice and stuff though ;).

Monday, December 3, 2007

**tantrum alert**

This is NOT RIGHT.

You're taking advantage. Do you realize that?

I committed to it - fine. But that doesn't mean that you can suck up every SINGLE FREE SECOND that I have. I need that time. It's really important to me. And frankly, I don't care about it anymore. Certain other aspects of my life are a little more important and far-reaching than a college performance.

It's not fair.

And you're making it very, very hard for me to feel at all excited or happy to be a part of this.

Ugh.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Awk-WARD!

I learned many things this weekend. They include:
  • High school boys are really rowdy. And they make awkward shidduch comments regarding their advisors.
  • Apparently you can become an MD even if you go to osteopath school.
  • Sometimes the YU shuttle isn't a white minibus thing.  Sometimes it's a different kind of van, kind of silver and campy.
  • If you look pretty, the chassidish man will want your phone number so he can find you a shidduch.  (Or even if you don't, probably. I didn't look so spectacular that afternoon.)