Saturday, September 13, 2008


Last year I took a mythology course. I hated it. The professor, while brilliant, accepted that he had chosen a subject and a class size well beyond his scope, and he allowed Gods to become equations. We analyzed Ragnarok the way you might observe moldy bread, noting it's shape and color, but not eager to put it in any universal context.

There was one day, however, where the discussion struck me as worth my time. We had just read some obtuse analysis of the paths myths seem to take, and we stopped and shared how college was, itself, a liminal experience. We are thrust into a transitional dimension where ideas are radical, experiences are delicious, and the rules of the world don't always apply; at the same time, we are expected to be preparing ourselves to serve reality once we return to it. Jesus want AWOL for 21 years; I'm expecting 4-5 for myself. Still, I can't help but bitch about how ready I am for my life to begin.

It's not Truman that dissatisfies me; it's not the shitstain of a town I grew up in, or the Midwest mindset that will never mesh with me. It's just me, ready to be making changes and terrified it will stay the same. I have an ambitious (albeit, disoriented) heart, and she's ready to start fixing things. But there's always the chance that I won't end up anywhere but here, treading water.

I love so many of the aspects of my life in this moment. I have encountered so many pure ideas and beautiful people and known so much love that to negate it would be as false as it would be cruel. But goodamnit, give me a paintbrush or a pistol or something so I can stop waiting to return to the world; I'm ready, honest, to be a part and be a change.

This is, of course, related to another anxiety- that I am somehow incompatible with what I want. There is a part of me that clings to films, literature, theater, ideas, and all things delicious. There is a part of me that dares to notice what has been written off as the dirt beneath the fingernails of society, and I long to know it, love it, work with it, help it... to make justice out of randomness. Can I be both people? If I fulfill one desire, do I destroy another? And if I don't answer that question, will I, just as a fear, stay this way forever?

On a completely unrelated note, I love the rush of finding your power chord when your laptop battery is on the verge of death. Grey's Anatomy ain't got nothin' on this shit. Solid gold drama.

P.S. I have called/texted a few of you this afternoon/evening for perspective; thank you all for your help. It meant a lot!


Jason said...

Don't discredit the academy by excluding it from "reality." I know you probably don't mean it that simply, but it's a pretty large point it sounds like you should consider.

In regard to your duality: the part of you that clings to all things delicious should be inextricable from your desire to notice what society has written off. At this juncture, the former should be an interrogation of the terms by which life is constrained, to foster more inclusive conditions for those folks on the fringes. Anything else is just vanity.

Adam said...

thank you for the advice.

i meant more to imply that we are more thinking and gathering than doing and living while in college, and that we have to be taken out of what our parents would call "the real world" so to prepare for it. but you're right, I did suggest that this 4 year (or 5 year:) pursuit of knowledge was separate from reality, which is of course not the case.

I appreciate and agree with your suggestions on approaching my "duality." I suppose the real question for me is which path do i take for a career- that of an intellectual, an evaluator and produce of culture, or that of a humanitarian and servant, working with and for various NPOs and all that saintly hooplah.