Being Un-Abnormalized

I always have things I want to talk about–like my experiences with the Tangle Toy I just bought, or the fact that my boyfriend and I almost broke up on Saturday–and then I sit down to write, and something else takes over. So I want to talk about my philosophy class, and the way my professor invalidated and trivialized what I based a large portion of my value on last week.

So I’m taking this Education Philosophy course. It involves a lot of (really awful) dense readings. Last Tuesday my Professor started talking about a bifurcation on Davis’ genealogy–structuralism VS poststructuralism (it’s honestly not even worth explaining what that sentence means, but here’s a link to a description of the book if you’re interested).

She talked about the societal need to ‘normalize’  students. That we give a group of kids a test, and the average score in the room is deemed “normal,” the lower percentage of scores is deemed “at-risk,” and the higher percentage is deemed “advanced.” And then she basically shit on it (it being this classification) for ten minutes.

I wish I had a better way of saying that. Wish I could explain it in intricate, fluffy terms, but that’s what she did. She shit on the only thing that has ever made me feel worth anything my entire life: my intelligence.

I was classified as Gifted when I was eight. My sister was the Dancer, the Nice One, the Pretty One. And those things are all true of her. But I didn’t have those titles. I wasn’t nice. I didn’t dance. I’m not pretty. All I’ve ever had is my brain. So when I was told that my brain really was special, or different, or Worth Something–well, I latched on to it.

So I had a bit of a breakdown, after lecture. Because what she said, in a nut shell, told me that nothing about me was actually Different, or Special, or Worth Something.

I should clarify that I have never been the smartest person in a classroom. My best friend was Valedictorian and is a kind of smart that I can only hope to be. I spent every class for  six years aspiring to be her level of intelligent. So it’s not like my Professor walked into the room and completely crushed my soul.

It was more like she took this thing that I had as an Identifier for the past twelve years and set it on fire.

My sister is still the Nice One. The Pretty One. The Good Cook. The One who Works with Animals.

Now I’m not Gifted. I’m not Worth Something. There aren’t a lot of things I’ve ever wanted people to remember me as–if any, the only ones were Trustworthy, Loyal, Hardworking (oh man, my Hufflepuff is showing), and Intelligent.

So I’ve lost an Identifier. And I know that College is all about Finding Yourself–but this isn’t exactly what I imagined.

-HH

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Perpetual Incompleteness

I was going to make a political post. I’ve got a handful of them, half-finished and untitled, sitting in my Drafts. I always want to say things–profound, well-thought-out things. And then I decide I want to talk about something else, or I feel like I haven’t Completed my thought on the topic yet, and therefore can’t write about it.

The idea of Completeness reminds me of something my Professor said in lecture on Tuesday. It’s an Education Philosophy class–which, yes, is just as dense and difficult to get through as you’d expect it to be–and we’ve been looking at the evolution of education as a whole. We were discussing Metaphysical V Physical worldviews, surrounding ideas of Absoluteness.

“I will never be Complete,” she declared to us. “Everything I think and am always has been and always will be evolving, and changing, based off of the things happening around me and to me and within me.”

The thing is that I’ve said things along those lines before, about my inability to maintain or achieve Completeness. But I have never felt, or said it, in a declarative sort of manner. Mostly I am terrified of constantly feeling and being Incomplete.

I always thought that one day I would Wake Up and be an Adult. I would be Complete. I would no longer have questions, or doubts, or worries. I would be so absolutely sure of my beliefs.

Everything about the Surety Within Me has been challenged recently. My Boyfriend, for one thing, differs with me on things that I always said would be Dealbreakers. And yes, we argue about them, but in no way do I ever feel like I’m making a mistake, or compromising who I am. If anything, our differences are forcing me to look within myself even more, to educate myself even more.

Some things are making me even more sure of my beliefs, even more secure. Others are making me question, making me wonder.

I don’t want to delve too much into religion, because I have remained a largely areligious person for the majority of my Personhood. But sometimes, more than I ever have before, recently, I find myself thinking of things in a different light.

More than anything, though, I’m trying to learn to accept Perpetual Incompleteness. That nothing about me will ever be Sure. That I will never be without question, or doubt, or worry. That Adulthood and Happiness will find me in spite of those things.

-HH

Thinking and Knowing and Growing

Tonight I went to a wedding for two people I went to high school with. It’s terrifying to think that I’m old enough to know two people who are old enough be adults who are married–or that I’m old enough to be an adult who’s married.

The wedding was small and simple. The way everything back home feels, now.

I played softball with the bride when I was a freshman in high school. I remember the day we found out she was pregnant, weeks before she graduated. She’s four years older than me. I remember thinking that she was going to turn out so different than anything I’d ever expected from her.

That part is still true, that she turned out different than anything I expected from her. But I think her future turned out better than anything I could’ve imagined.

“Do you not want to have a wedding, then?” My Boyfriend asked the other night, after I went on a ten minute rant about how weddings are for other people and not that actual bride and groom.

I thought about it for a moment. “I think every girl dreams, at least once, about being the princess walking down the aisle.”

Tonight I watched someone be that princess. She bounced with excitement. I wondered what it was like to be her. To be so sure of what you had and who you were and what you wanted and where you were going. To be so sure of who you wanted that person to be and who you wanted do those things with and go those places with.

I looked at the girl sitting beside me, one of my best friends of over seven years.

“I’m going to say something to you,” and she turned to me, already preparing for the worst. “And maybe I’m going to sound crazy. And maybe it won’t happen But I’m going to say it anyway.”

She waited.

“I think I’m going to marry him.”

Her smile was small and sweet and soft. “Yeah?”

And when I nodded, she shrugged. “When you know, you know.”

And as he sleeps next to me, breathing getting heavier, fingers twitching, limbs sinking–I think it a little more. I think I know a little more.

What I have.

Who I am.

What I want.

Where I’m going.

Who I want to go to those places with and do this things with and be with.

Yeah, I think I know a little more.

-HH

The Jar Post

I don’t like to rank my Top Ten Best Events, but I did this time–because although all the Post-Its were good, these hold different levels of importance.

10. The Beer Pong Tournament – My first ever college party, and I had more fun than I ever thought I could while sober and socializing. It was here that I realized that I really liked people in my fraternity–and that maybe, just maybe, they liked me.

9. The Holy Trinity – I’m not sure where this ridiculous and irrelevant name came from, but during Finals week I religiously hungout with two people in my frat. We started calling ourselves the Holy Trinity ironically, and the name sort of stuck. It’s an unexpected trio, but such a fun one.

8. Wine and Cheese – This is the party that happens the night after new members get inducted into my fraternity. My second ever college party, and I had a ton of fun. It’s also the night I got together with my Boyfriend.

7. Bro Bonding – A trip we do towards the end of every semester–this year was my first one. It was a learning experience, but also really good. Also, I fell down the stairs twice and sprained my ankle.

6. Making Mark Cry – I know it seems like a really awful thing to have, especially so high on the list. But he cried for a good reason. I think if this night had never happened, he wouldn’t be alive anymore.

5. Sushi with Squad – I have a core group of friends from high school I try to meet up with during every major break. Seeing them right before the start of Sophomore year was the best way to end my summer. It’s always nice to remember where I came from, and how far we’re all going to go.

4. Biloxi – Alright, so I realized that there were 4 different Post-Its with Biloxi related events written on them. I live about two hours away from Biloxi, and spent many-a summer night there. It’s my new go-to Runaway and Think place.

3. The Boyfriend – “I’m going to say something,” I told my Best Friend while I drove us back to my house after a night out. “And you might think that I say stuff like this all the time, so maybe it won’t mean anything. But I’m going to say it. And maybe I’m wrong! But I’m going to say it anyway…I think I’m going to marry him.”

2. Brother of the Month – I think if I hadn’t been voted Brother of the Month, I wouldn’t have become so invested in my fraternity. I didn’t realize my presence was valued until I received this privilege, and I’m forever grateful for the recognition.

1. Δ – I got this tattoo in July. A delta. As a means of reminding myself of the importance of change–of its inevitability. To welcome it, to reach for it, to remind myself that I will change every day, that I can change every day. Maybe not the tattoo itself is most important–though I do love it–but rather the moment I learned this lesson is the best thing that happened to me in 2016. Because it was a terrible moment when it happened, and it was a lot of terrible things that happened leading to that moment, but everything after that has been good. Nothing has been worse than what my life was like before that moment. My life started again, after a year and a half being paused, after that moment.

So I’m a few days late, but I’ve still got to say it:

See you never, 2016. You had your good moments (see above) but otherwise, you sucked. I hope your successor is better.

-HH

Making Change: A Photo

Yesterday I posted about working on Bettering myself as a way of practicing Self-Love. Today I thought I’d produce some photographic evidence.

I got a lovely planner for Christmas from my sister; I plan on keeping myself organized and balanced through it. And I can’t write more if I’m not reading more! So I’m reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the first time (and yes, I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).

I’ve got to start my good habits early on in the year, so I’m starting with this.


-HH

Making Change

I wanted to make my first post in 2017 my Jar Post.

See, every year I have a Jar. It starts off empty, and as the year goes on it gets filled up with crumpled up post-its of good things that happen to me throughout the year. At the end of the year, I pop open the Jar and pick the Top Ten Best Things That Happened to Me in [YEAR].

Sadly, I left my Jar in my dorm room. And I was going to wait until I got back to school to make a post, but I don’t want to wait that long to write something.

I’m down to my last week of Winter Break. The first week of Break I spent stressing about purchasing The Perfect Gifts and recovering from Finals; the two weeks following that I worked (and when I say I worked for those two weeks, I mean I had Christmas Eve off and that was it). This last week I’m gearing up for the Spring semester and recovering from two weeks of work.

My New Year’s Eve was quiet. I’m not one to give in to the idea that a Revolution around the Sun somehow signifies a time for Change.

Change is Inevitable. Change is Constant. Change doesn’t give a Shit about whether or not you’re ready for it.

But I like the potential energy that thrums in your bones when the clock strikes twelve. It’s like all the elastic vibes you spent the year emitting snap back to you, and this time when you send them out they can have a different feel, texture, color, sound, thickness. Not a New You, but maybe a Better One. A Wiser One. One Excited for something New.

The Change I need this Year is Internal. Instead of waiting or working for new people or better classes or more money, I mostly want to work on Loving Myself more. Which, as I’ve aforementioned, is a thing I’m Always Working On.

I think I want to try harder, this year.

I think the biggest part of Loving Myself more is feeling better inside. Not letting myself get wrapped up in negative spirals. Drinking more water. Writing more. Focusing on my academics. Learning how to balance mental health, academic success, and physical health. Surrounding myself with people who give me positive vibes. Doing something with my body that feels good–yoga, kickboxing, anything that reminds my body that there’s a person inside of it.

I don’t want to say that my Boyfriend gave me a reason to make myself better. It’s too dependent, and it’s not true. But he’s given me a reason to see the better in myself. He doesn’t doubt the relationship, doesn’t doubt me, or himself. He is secure in his decision. It makes me secure in myself.

So I’ll make a Jar Post when I get back to my dorm room.

For now I’m not making Resolutions. For now–and hopefully for all of 2017–I’m making Change.

-HH