Category Archives: Lost in Thought

All the Angles

This photo was taken at the temporary “Playing with Light” exhibit at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, NV.

It was unsettling to see so many different sides and perspectives of myself. All the reflections reminded me of an earlier post called “The Ghostly Self“.

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POSSIBILITY, USA: Beach Front Property

My mind loves to wander. I will be driving to work or pushing a shopping cart in the grocery store and suddenly I realize that I’ve been thinking about redwood trees or beluga whales or World War II or whether lions and bobcats have the same reaction to catnip as house cats. What about cheetahs? I’m often not sure how these particular thoughts came into my head or what I should do with them once they settle in, but I try to embrace them. Who knows which stray thought might lead to something bigger?
CATNIP: Friend to ALL feline kind?

CATNIP: Friend to ALL feline kind?

Lately, I have caught myself pondering Emily Dickinson‘s poem about possibility. Particularly the first line, “I dwell in Possibility.”
I guess I’d always imagined this version of “possibility” as Hogwarts with its endless rooms, moving staircases, secret passages, hidden chambers–even the Great Hall’s ceiling which had been bewitched to look like the sky above. Do you think J.K. Rowling had this poem in mind when she designed the school? [If anyone knows her, please ask, because I’d really like to know!] Come to think of it, Hogwarts even has its very own private lake which in turn holds its own underwater world of unknowns. Dwelling in Possibility sounded like the best situation ever, I mean what kid in the Harry Potter Generation didn’t want to go to Hogwarts?
Tie-Dye/Bleach homage to the Battle of Hogwarts which I made for the opening night of Deathly Hallows Part II.

Tie-Dye/Bleach homage to the Battle of Hogwarts which I made for the opening night of Deathly Hallows Part II

Lately, though, I’ve started to view “dwelling in possibility” from a very different perspective. Since graduating from college three years ago, I have dwelt in nothing but possibility. I have hopped from temporary employment to temporary employment, from potential career path to potential career path, from small town to small city.
I have no idea what my life will look like one year from today. Will I have a full time job? Will I have my own apartment? Will I be living in the same city? The same state? I can’t picture it.
I always thought living in Possibility would be freedom, but in reality I have found it utterly terrifying. Well, sometimes, that is. True, the financial burden is daunting. Sure, it’s difficult to see all my friends coupling up and settling down with families of their own. Yes, it would be nice to have a few certainties or definitive life goals to direct myself toward. I would definitely like to answer the inevitable variations of “What are you doing with your life?” with a single sentence. And yet.
I find there is still some magic left for me in Possibility. I enjoy the mystery of what lies a few months down the road or the future acquaintance that could change the course of everything. I was once asked by a job interviewer, “What drives you?” A question to which he felt I didn’t have a satisfactory answer. The truth is, the potential energy of “what if?” is what keeps me going. I’m not quite ready to be completely pinned down and defined. I am not ready for my life choices to fit in a single sentence. That’s why I am wanderlost (at least for now).

What’s in an Age?

I am 25 today, and I’m not sure what that means.

When you turn 14, you’re officially allowed to get a job. (At least, you live in Wisconsin.) At 16, you get a license and maybe a car. At 18, you become an adult—whatever that means. You can vote and get a tattoo and (in Michigan) you can get into the casinos. When you’re 20, you are no longer a teen.  At 21, you can legally drink alcohol. But what is 25? Is it just a number?

When it comes to anniversaries, 25 is big. More than big—it’s silver. I don’t feel silver—not shiny, not expensive. I believe I am valuable in my own way, but that’s just an opinion.

Maybe I’m looking at this wrong. Maybe I should be looking at my best friend.  She too is 25 today. She is not my twin, we are not related. We have been best friends since we were 7 years and 10 months old. Today, she has no college degree, some debt, a fiancée, and a child. I have a B.A., a small mountain of debt, no significant other. I don’t even have a full time job. But what does any of that mean, anyway?

And maybe that’s too narrow of a focus. There are lots of people who are 25. Taylor Swift, Jordin Sparks, Daniel Radcliffe, Chris Brown, Hayden Panettiere, Liam Hemsworth, and Mathew Lewis are all 25. Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, and Chris Colfer will all be 25 before the year is over. But that’s still too narrow of a focus because all those people are ridiculously famous.

Today I am 25. I have 364 days to answer that question. Wish me luck.

N1 + N2 = YOU

“There is not Nature versus Nurture. Nature versus Nurture is stupid. Really it’s Nature AND Nurture working together,” so said my college genetics professor.  In truth, I hated genetics class—the subject material was so microscopic and complicated that I just couldn’t get my head around it. My professor explained that in high school, we learn just enough about genetics to make us “stupid” regarding the subject.  (She REALLY liked that word.) I passed, in the end, but I swore never again would I take another “microscope class”. The whole Nature + Nurture thing actually made sense to me though. Even after graduation, I’ve thought about it a lot.

Who you are isn't just about DNA.

Who you are isn’t just about DNA.

The way I see it, Nature is a combination of your physical self and your personality. It is the part of you that cannot be controlled. For example, I am 5’2” high. I LITERALLY have a different perspective from someone who is, say 6’2”. When I say “personality,” I mean how you inherently react—like fight or flight. I would describe myself as a “by-the-book rebel,” in other words, I follow the rules, but I strive to do so in my own way. Ella from Ella Enchanted is my hero.  My classmates all thought of me as a goody-two-shoes, but my teachers didn’t see me that way. On my sixth grade report card, my teacher described me as “belligerent” and when on to say I had my “own mind—good and bad thing”. I did have my own mind.  My classmates thought I was a “good girl” because I did my homework and didn’t party. I saw myself as a quiet rebel because I did the exact opposite of everyone else. Even though I’m now in my twenties, that drive to be my own unique self hasn’t gone away.

My definition of Nurture is your environment—the place you live, the people you interact with, the things you read or watch or listen to, the way you spend each day. I grew up in a small tourist town in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Our population would double from June to August when the summer people would relocate to their cabins Up North. For a long time, I was a waitress at a year-round resort. It was through this job that I learned to cut a pineapple, clean a bathroom, properly make a bed, and interact with customers.  I went to college in the small Iowa town where my father grew up. This meant that even though I was technically on my own for the first time, I was actually surrounded by more family than I had left behind. After college, I returned Up North and became an AmeriCorps member for a school on a nearby Ojibwe reservation. I had thought, before my AmeriCorps experience, that I knew about Ojibwe culture. After one day at the school, I realized that I was completely mistaken. This epiphany opened my eyes and allowed me to become an eager learner.

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The place I grew up has a big impact on who I am and who I will become.

Who I am today is not who I was in the sixth grade, or when I graduated high school, or even after I had finally earned my bachelor’s degree. Every single experience I’ve ever had has been filtered through my eyes and my ears, my heart and my soul. Someone with the exact same life experiences as me would not coalesce into the same person I am. I know this because I am the oldest of four children and even though we grew up in the same environment, we are each our own person. Sure we share similarities, but we are not identical. And so, even though I only ever half-understood anything my genetics professor said, I do agree with her that Nature and Nurture are both factors in the “making” of an individual. Moreover, because each day is different and brings with it new experiences, I believe that who we are is constantly changing. I am not exactly who I was yesterday. I am not yet quite who I will be tomorrow. All I can do is experience each day and discover who I will become.

Bring on a new day.

Bring on a new day.