Top Five Tuesday (#2: Me, Myself, and I (And Other People))

okay a) I realize that it’s Monday, but it’s probably Tuesday somewhere in the world and b) be proud of me for actually continuing with a series of posts for once!!!

So, I always see posts on tumblr and on here and wherever else that say stuff like “the day I dress to impress a man is the day I am being lowered into the ground” or “wing your eyeliner if you want, wear no makeup if you want, it’s all for you.” And things like this are good things. Great things, really, through and through. But I just honestly don’t feel like they apply to me all that much.

There’s not a lot that I do that I feel is 100% for myself. It’s not like I consider that fact a bad thing—it’s largely by design. I’m the very definition of an extrovert, and I like to share my identity with the world. There are times when I like feelings of anonymity, because I feel like it creates a stronger group “vibe” (at music festivals, for example), but for the most part I like to just kinda get myself out there.

So, I present to you:

The Top Five Things That Maybe Should Be For Myself But Aren’t

Five: Makeup

I do not like to wear makeup. Like, I mean, physically, I do not like the way it feels, especially on my eyes. It’s like my face can’t breathe, and it makes my eyes water like a motherfucker. I am one of those people that is always falling asleep with their chin in their hands and rubbing their eyes aaaaalll the time. I can’t rub my eyes when wearing mascara and eyeliner. I do not wear makeup on a day-to-day basis. (also, for the purposes of this post, I’m including other cosmetic things such as straightening hair and wearing perfume under the blanket of makeup)

Many people wear makeup because it instills a personal, if subtle, feeling of confidence in them. And this is totally great and valid—if makeup is something that makes you feel confident, then you should absolutely fuckin go for it. But it just doesn’t work for me. I actually had to try really hard, for a long-ass time, to break away from a psychological dependency on makeup. I’d feel as though I looked like an alien when I woke up in the morning (I did not, sadly, have a fairy godmother who applied my cosmetics for me overnight) and I hated it. I felt like I couldn’t even leave the house without spending an hour on my makeup, and it sucked. I’m not saying this is the same for everyone. I’m just saying that this is the way it was for me. Now, though, my sense of self-confidence is influenced by much more rational things like hormones, or how much sleep I get. Some multicolored goo from various tubes isn’t going to do much to sway me either way.

There are times, though, that I feel makeup is absolutely necessary or maybe even required. These are times when I want to inspire one of two things: respect, or boners.

In regards to the former, my prime example is speech and debate. I wear makeup to most speech and debate tournaments (and straighten my hair and a whole host of other things) in order to make myself more confident. Not because these things themselves make me more confident: people’s reactions to them do. I find, in general, that people are more likely to take one seriously when one looks like they put actual effort into their appearance. I am notorious for wearing sweatpants and a messy bun to even the most prolific of life events (see #4 below) which doesn’t exactly create a “classy respectable lawyer lady” vibe.

In regards to the latter, I’ll drop in a little personal anecdote. There was this big school dance a bit ago that (straight white) kids from all over the city come to. The girls wear the trashiest dresses they can find, the guys wear tuxes (although they seem to have this weird habit of tying their ties around their heads as the night wears on), and everyone basically just gets hammered and grinds on each other the entire night. I didn’t get hammered, but I did have plenty of encounters of the hetero kind. (((am I the only one who finds that teenage boys don’t really seem to know what a clitoris is?))) I got called beautiful/cute/fuckable/etc., by guys and girls alike, more times that night than I did in my entire life. And I think it was about 15% due to my dress (which I got for $14!!!) and about 85% due to my hair and makeup. My mommy did it all for me because I generally suck at actually making myself presentable. It must’ve taken at least an hour—almost a third of the time that I would actually be dancing later that night—and it was totally frigging worth it. My mom got some cute pictures, and I got…well, mostly drunk boy slobber all over my face, but some encounters were less clumsy than others 😉

[p.s. mom, if you’re reading this, neither I nor the friends I was there with got drunk or did drugs. I know better than to take shit from strangers. I also only drank the water, not the soda, and I’m pretty sure nobody spiked the water.

Actually, you know what, we didn’t even go. We went to church. And prayed. All night.]

Four: Clothes

As I mentioned in the above section, I wear sweatpants and my hair up to most outings in my life. It really doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with. If I ever get married, I’ll probably wear sweats and a hoodie to my own wedding. I own more pairs of sweatpants than every girl I know combined. And I fuckin love every last pair of them.

See, the thing is with me, my clothes generally don’t do much in the way of influencing my confidence one way or the other. I am equally confident in sweatpants as I am in my classy lawyer lady outfit. Sometimes, if I want to feel cuter, I will wear leggings. I will, once in a blue moon, wear jeans, if I think I’m going to be out doing real-life things for an incredibly extended period of time. The absolute only reason I wear “nice” clothes is when it would be considered wholly improper to do otherwise.

Speech and debate tournaments, model UN conferences, fancy family dinners, violin recitals and auditions, school music department functions, and my eighth grade moving up day. You can bet your ass that when I’m putting considerable effort into my clothing, it is sure as hell not for myself. Those are the only times that I dress “nicely,” because those are the times when the grownups probably wouldn’t even let me participate if I didn’t.

Three: This Blog

I feel like this one doesn’t require a whole ton of explanation. I do use this blog, mostly, as a journal. But let’s all be honest with ourselves here. If I actually wanted to just keep a journal, I wouldn’t be putting it on the internet. I like attention. A lot.

Two: Writing in General

I put up a post like a thousand years ago about some stuff I’d written and how writing in general had affected my life. Pretty much everything that I had ever written at the time of writing that post got mentioned there. I have written so much more since then, it probably warrants an entire new post. This past year has been quite the big one for writing with me. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before on here, but my sophomore project actually involves writing and self-publishing a book of poetry, which is currently in the works, so stay tuned for that !!!!

Anyways. My writing is not for myself, and it never has been. Of course it is in part—I wouldn’t write if I didn’t enjoy it—but there are VERY few pieces of writing that I haven’t shared with at least somebody. My friend Thalia (the only person I know IRL who loves to write as much as I do) and I are always exchanging stories and poems. She’s also doing a book of poetry for her sophomore project. A lot of the time, she’s the only person who reads certain pieces. My friends are always, always eager to read anything I’ve written. Not because I’m some amazing, prolific literary genius (although I’m not gonna lie, a couple of my friends are hardcore rabid fangirls when it comes to my stories, which is both encouraging and terrifying) but just because they want to help out. I do like to think that my stuff is at least, like, a four out of ten for the most part.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably be saying it until the end of time: I want my writing to change someone. Preferably for the better. I’d be thrilled if I could inspire millions and become some sort of prolific writer, but I’d be happy if I could have an impact on even one person. I just don’t see the point in writing only for myself. Part of the process will always be for me, of course, but I just couldn’t imagine not sharing my stories with other people.

Except for my emo poetry from sixth grade. Some of that shit needs to be burned and sent back to the pit of nonsensical adolescent despair from whence it came.

One: School

This is probably the most important (and, probably, suckiest) one.

I used to really love going to school. And I still love to learn, so much. It’s not uncommon to find me reading book reviews or news articles or psychological studies, or trying to figure out how to play a new piece on the violin, or playing those stupid “brain training” puzzles, or watching science videos (mostly vSauce to be totally honest) on youtube. That’s just who I am, and it always has been, and I like to hope it always will be.

But I really fuckin hate school.

The internet (and ESPECIALLY tumblr) is filled with people explaining why America’s current day school system sucks ass. There’s not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said. But I will say this: I really used to love school. Not all kids can say the same, but I can. Now, though, I dread going practically every single day. I can’t wait to be free of it. I’d drop out if I could.

But I can’t drop out. And that’s why school absolutely and positively tops this list and always will for me. I am not in school for myself at all. I am in school because I feel like it’s my job to use my privilege and my intelligence and my empathy for good, and I feel like I can’t do that without becoming a lawyer, and I definitely can’t do that if I don’t get a few respectable degrees, and I can’t do that unless I get into a good college in the first place.

So, I have to stay in school. If I could drop out and just stay at home and watch TV and read and just generally enjoy myself, I totally would. But I can’t.

Not to be a whiny teenager, but it kinda really sucks a lot. I am, at this point, not going to school for myself at all. I am going to school for the people who I hope to be helping ten, fifteen, twenty years in the future. In terms of me, school is just a source of stress and general unhappiness.

[okay, maybe it’s a little bit for myself, considering the fact my mother will probably not let me live with her forever. But for the purposes of the hyperbolic emotional resonance of this post, let’s just pretend that that’s a non-issue].

Bonus: Things That Are Completely For Myself

Three: Music

Like, it rocks to listen to music with other people and connect through that. And summer music festivals quite literally fuel my life force for the rest of the year. But if those things didn’t exist, I would still fuckin love music. It’s completely for me.

Playing violin is sort of an extension of this. I play in the orchestra, and I do recitals and auditions and stuff, and I take private lessons. And all that stuff is absolutely great and fantastic and would not be possible without a lot of time and energy (and money !!) from other people. But there are nights that I sit in my room, and put my music on shuffle, and try to play whatever song comes up completely by ear. There are nights that I pull out my book with music from the Phantom of the Opera (my favorite anything of all time, by the way) and just play through the whole thing. There are nights that I write random songs, just because I can.

Those nights? Yeah, those nights are for me.

Two: I Actually Do Have A Journal

Last year, for Christmas, the younger of my two stepbrothers (who is currently in college, a.k.a. the land of sweatpants and sex, Jim you lucky bastard) gave me this journal-type-thing. I had mentioned once on here that I’ve always wanted to keep a journal but that I really really suck at it because I sometimes don’t know what to write and then I feel like I’m slacking and get stressed and give up. This journal that he gave me is called “Q and A a Day.” It’s got one question a day, for every day, with five spaces for every day, so you can see how your answers change over the years. I can not explain how excited I was when he gave me this thing. It’ll take me all the way through almost all of high school, and most of my first year of college. It’s probably the coolest thing I own (besides maybe my violin and my computer, because those are both pretty rad too).

I haven’t let anyone read the journal. Not because there’s any big dark secrets in there—the questions are things like “what song is stuck in your head today” and “what’s the most expensive thing you’re wearing right now” and “who did you last say ‘I love you’ to”—but because, honestly, I feel like it’s just for me.

There’s also the fact that I’m also probably the only person who would find most of the answers even remotely interesting.

One: Masturbation

I feel like this one is relatively self-explanatory 😉

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3 comments

  1. I am the definition of an introvert. But I wish I could be an extrovert. I wish I could get my identity out there, make a mark on the world, meet people, make friends and hang out all the time. The way I see it my life has been ruined by the societal expectation to be an extrovert that I have been hating myself for not fulfilling. My mother wrote on her blog when I was 12: “We left the party about 9:30 pm, when [my name] decided he’d had enough. He doesn’t do well in noisy environments. It’s overstimulating for him, so parties and such gatherings generally don’t last long. Actually, he lasted a lot longer than I expected.”

    As for you hating school, I wish you would elaborate on why you hate school. If you get decent grades and have even one friend there who understands you, I refuse to sympathize. I attend an unconventional school that is bent on ensuring all students’ graduation and we work at laptops for 5 hours with only lunchbreak to talk to each other. “Socializing” is written into the problem behaviors list that can get you expelled. No one walks up to talk to me at lunch and I hate going to lunch because I love working for 5 hours and knowing exactly what I have to do and being able to live in my own introverted world and I hate being removed from it. I hate the expectation to talk to someone. For 12 years of homeschooling I had 2 friends, both of whom walked up and asked if they wanted to be friends. I kicked one to the curb a day or so after I met him for making offensive jokes, and the other one was a 7-year-old when I was 12 who moved away.

    I realize my biggest problem is that I want to have friends, be social, be liked, and go to people’s houses, watch movies, laugh, joke, but I’m not made to initiate things like that because I don’t have the slightest clue, and I don’t like speaking when I am not spoken to. I realize they could say the same thing about me and that’s the problem, but what is the point in speaking to someone if they did not care enough to speak to me?

    And yet I still find it amazing how much I can relate to you. I use my blog for the same reason you do yours, and my music means everything to me. I can’t stand how students at school constantly blare their terrible rap music when I try to study. Even though the teachers tell them to turn it down and that no one wants to hear it! I can’t fathom this mind-set because I listen to music late at night after everyone has gone to sleep.

    (If I’m not watching 2001 and losing myself in space stations orbiting to the Blue Danube in sheer beauty blissful in the knowledge I will never see the other half in their living rooms calling it boring, pretentious, overrated, unwatchable……………….)

    1. Here are some reasons that I (and loads of other teenagers) hate school.

      It’s because school is having massive panic attacks over the amount of work you have to get done. 5+ hours of homework a night (roughly an hour from each core subject, sometimes much more). Where’s the time for sleeping, or socializing, or even bathing—where’s the time for real life?

      School is listening to other kids refer to my friends by the wrong names or the wrong genders. Kids will be kids, though, right? But school is listening to my TEACHERS, the people who are supposed to care for us and help us and make us feel safe, continually pretend that my friends are people that they aren’t. No matter how many times we correct them.

      School is, in fact, listening to all sorts of racist and sexist and homophobic shit that teachers say, and having no ability to do anything about it, because “talking back” is disrespectful.

      School, for me, is spending lunch up in the orchestra room or in the library because I don’t have any friends in my lunch period. School is listening to the sort-of-acquaintances that I used to sit with using homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic slurs, and feeling terrified and powerless to do anything about it.

      School is being told that everything you do is just a number. Being told that you, ultimately, are just a number. School is your teachers’ futures relying entirely on grades that students get on standardized tests. And thereby, school is not learning for the sake of discovery or self-betterment—school is learning for the sake of numbers.

      Everything is fuckin numbers.

      School is having a panic attack because you’re too sick to go that day. It’s knowing that missing even one day could potentially influence your entire future. It’s knowing one bad test grade could bring down your GPA—which could bring down the rest of your life.

      So, yeah, I fuckin hate school.

      I’m not trying to make any sort of personal attack on you. And yeah, I get decent grades, but only at a huge detriment to my emotional (and, oftentimes, physical) wellbeing. Yeah, I have friends who understand me (of course I do, since I basically scream “BE MY FRIEND” in the face of everyone I meet), but it’s not like we get some sort of fantastic unlimited social time. And honestly, I’m luckier than a lot of the kids I know. Yeah, a lot of people don’t like me and talk shit about me and whatever, but I’m a middle class, cis(and as far as most people know, het) white girl. I’m not trans, I’m not fat, I’m not a POC. I’ve never actually been bullied. So, honestly, for all my grievances, I’ve got it easy.

      I really hate school.

      And honestly, I totally understand your problem. I think I’m similar. Except on relatively rare occasions (concerts, that big dance I talked about in the post), I really don’t like parties. I don’t like drinking. I’m not one of those people that goes out to bonfires at the lake just for the hell of it. I’m the girl who would almost always rather spend her Saturday night at home reading (or, usually, watching musicals with Thalia in her basement). And there’s nothing wrong at all with being that girl—it’s just that most of the time I wish that I could want to go to parties. And so when I do try to go to some huge social event (for example, laat year’s fall formal, which I mentioned in one of my first posts) and I see everyone enjoying themselves, and I find myself wishing that I could just be at home—I try SO hard to enjoy myself at those things, and I never do. And it makes me miserable. Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I should just stop trying to force things.

      I’m a very introverted extrovert, I guess.

      1. In a way, I’m glad to know I’m not alone, and in a way I’m not. I don’t like thinking that everyone else is getting everything I want automatically, and I know life is obviously more complicated than that.

        I think this is more than just hating school, however – people tend to feel dissatisfied about life in general, and I doubt being in school or homeschooled would really solve these major problems, it’s just a convenient scapegoat.

        I get tired of the same boring drudgery, the same small number of people I see every day, but I honestly feel better now because my belief about life is it is worth it for the moments that make it worthwhile. I enjoy the holidays greatly, and I just got back from a trip where I had a lot of fun meeting new interesting people in a side of the family I haven’t tended to see in person. I enjoyed seeing how life is for different people, I had interesting pleasant conversations, I met people like myself who I didn’t know existed, and I had genuine heart-to-heart talks with people who cared about my problems which made me realize there is no real villain trying to prevent me from being unhappy.

        I realized something very surprising from this trip, too. I may actually be different from you for the better. I yearn often for the things I don’t have, but I do have a clear idea of the things that make me happy, and when I get them I am happy. I think my problems may not be entirely what I have thought of them to be, so much as a fear of rejection. I have experienced great depression but all this year I have gotten hope. A lot of hope, and while I don’t believe in God, I do feel often there is a work working in my life.

        I suggest you figure out what you enjoy and enjoy it. Ask for advice from people you envy and you might be surprised or helped out by the answers.

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