You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Preludes’ category.

I guess I’m sort of panicking right now. There’s no emergency, at least not in my life, but I have too much energy and not enough structure – panic ensues. So if it’s not an emergency, what is going on?

You could call it an identity crisis, or maybe a crisis of faith–but not the bad kind. No, this is the crisis where you wake up and don’t recognize yourself in the mirror–because you haven’t seen yourself as the person you want to be in a long time. Today’s reflection isn’t who I was yesterday, but that’s a peachy step in the right direction.

This is only a crisis insofar as I wasn’t expecting it, and it’s a lot to get hit with early in the morning–but since I’m here, I’m going to run with it for as long as I can.

So who do I want to be? The majority of that answer I’ll leave up to fate and my impending track record, but what I do know is that I want to read, to write, to learn, to exercise, and to make.

I want to read. It’s been years since I’ve really read a book for leisure. Hell, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything for leisure, so let’s change that and start with reading. Now, since a large part of what I do is “information processing”, I read–but it’s all ops info, logistics, strategy, and buzzwords. Sure, I see pieces of fiction occasionally, but that’s usually neither fun nor intentional. No, I want to read.

Forget Webster’s, here’s my dictionary definition:

reading (verb): making the conscious, dedicated effort to lose yourself and your world in the pages of someone else’s grand reality. It’s the commitment of all your emotional capacities to love, hate and fear, to sympathize, to rage, to despair, and more, and that commitment is made before you even crack the spine on this pocket universe. Reading is exhausting, liberating, and–if done well on the part of all involved–truly haunting.

This is what I want for myself–to be possessed by the knowledge and passions of these undying pocket universes.

I want to write. Sure, I can regurgitate ink well enough to put food on the table, but that’s an emotional net-zero. No, true writing is a beautiful, terrifying form of art powerful enough that the mere passing thought of what I believe it can do to my soul is unspeakable; writing is, ultimately, indescribable in its own medium. But. I want to contribute to my worlds, the reality in which we live and the creative one locked in my head, locked behind a previous inability to put words on the damn page. I want to give more of me than just myself, I want to give my mind.

I want to learn, and I want to exercise. Are these two sides of the same coin: theory, and practice? Or are they one and the same–raging at the unknown until it reveals itself? For me, exercise is about becoming fit by pushing my physical boundaries as far as possible. Why should the same not apply to my mind?

Finally, I want to make, but that is as far as I’ve felt out on the matter. Are there specific, tangible things I want to make? Yes, more than I can count, and there’s the trick. It’s not that I have one small thing trying to claw its way into existence; it’s that I have these flocks of ideas I’ve just been sitting on for years. I want to make, not as a constructive act, but as the destruction of my barriers, of my fears and my meandering laziness. I want to “make” as opposed to “wait.”

———-

What does this mean for “We’ll See”?

I’m not going to make any wide-sweeping promises (again), but you will see activity here and on the other blogs (including a couple special ones) for as long as this streak lasts. I’ll be trying new things, and there will be more of a story to tell. Here’s to hoping that story makes it onto the page.

Advertisements

The man next to me on the flight is a very nice Ghanain gentleman from Connecticut by the name of something I can neither spell or pronounce; the reason I know he’s nice is because he didn’t get upset when I poured my orange juice into his lap.

Yup. Let’s backtrack a bit.

I was raised on travel. My mother is a flight attendant and my family has been taking me places since nine months before I was born. People always ask me if I can remember all the places I’ve ever been to; “unfortunately” I took a lot of my trips before I started remembering things (which some would say was early last year, but they can just hush up) so the answer is no. However, I do remember just loving to travel. In the course of my blog I’ll try and throw in as many of my past trips as I can, and I welcome questions, comments and what-the-heck-were-you-thinkings.

However, to stay topical, I’m going to skip straight to the part where I’m taking a gap year before going off to college next Fall. More on that later, but what’s important is that my mom told her friends my plans; and one of them, a fellow flight attendant, suggested that I volunteer at the OSU Children’s Home (orphanage) in Accra. Apparently this woman and her entire family have been volunteering there for a few years, and love it (this includes her children, all of which are younger than me); I was eager to say yes. This would be my second time to Africa, first to Ghana; and I would be there, virtually on my own, for a “good cause.” (I’ll explain this in another blog). It would also be one of the longest amounts of time I’ve stayed in one place. Overall, it sounded like a great idea…

…especially the part where I try some new things. See, besides the “first time to Ghana” and “longest on my own/ in one place” aspects, this would be my first time setting foot in an orphanage. I used to babysit this one kid, Patrick, and he was great. He was everything one looks for in a babysitting job: very energetic, very smart, and very friendly – and there was only one of him. I am not, by any means, a kid person. Sure, I love their cute antics and I seem to get along with them well enough, but I don’t like messy, needy, disruptive, violent, disrespectful, and/or deliberately disobedient people at any age, much less when they each have the energy capacity of a small city. Also, I’ve never been much of a physical contact person, that just is what it is (but I’m getting better). I’m surprisingly okay with the poverty aspect, but the orphan part is totally emotionally incomprehensible for me (as I wish it were for most people). On top of that, I’m not sure about the prevalence of AIDS over at that particular orphanage and that never makes anything easier.

So why an orphanage? And why just jump right in to one in Ghana, rather than building up to it? I’ve been asking myself that for a while, and ‘m not particularly fond of the answers I’m coming up with. Yes, I want to travel. To Ghana? Sure. “Sure”? Yeah, I stopped looking at alternative ways to spend my November when this trip was dropped in my lap. But what about the orphanage aspect? Well, I like to try new things that would normally put people outside of their comfort zones. So you’re just going for your own personal experience? Isn’t that minimizing your goodwill? I just don’t know. In my personal opinion it’s hard to completely selfishly donate one’s time, but it is not impossible and that gray area is where I tread now. I wouldn’t be as worried if I knew that I could make a positive difference; but I’m inherently of the opinion that I can’t bring anything to the table they don’t already have (again, read my “Good Causes” post).

Fortunately, I’m [hopefully] going to be tutoring the children who attend school, and while explaining things to others has never been my strong suit I can only hope that if I take things slow and approach the job with the level of passion that I feel towards education, I’ll be able to make some sort of lasting positive impact. Isn’t that everybody’s goal for life in general though? This sort of normalcy is inspirational.

Now back to the land of the here and now, or more accurately then and there: leading up to the trip was a combination of jealousy and excitement from all of my friends and family, with a liberal dose of apprehension from the latter (I love you guys). I, surprisingly, was nonchalant about the matter. I typically try to never fret about a trip, because I like to have no preconceived notions about my experience, since they provide a digression from flexibility and opportunity. That being said, I took that notion to the extreme, to the point where my parents were questioning my resolve more than once. Not that that was an issue; I welcomed the opportunity to go over the trip with the people that have my best interest at heart; but when one of these opportunities takes place two days before the trip because I still have an untouched shopping list, that’s excessive. Try telling the people at REI that the trip you’re stocking up for leaves in 14 hours (I think they’re taking bets on my survival rate).

So I eventually get packed (true story) and during this whole time I’ve been in contact with various people for making arrangements, or at least going through the motions and faking the rest. I got my visa application sent in (rush mail and rush processed because I left it a little longer than I should have), e-mailed the head of the orphanage, and continually checked in with the woman who would be taking me over and introducing me to everyone (my mom’s friend). She was very helpful in suggesting gifts & donations to bring over, of which I only got my hands on clothes, cards and books (NOTE: if you’re reading this and at any time wish to support OSU Children’s Home, they could use anything having to do with soccer, any vitamins, and diapers, as well as clothes and books. They are in dire need of more cribs as well their current ones are moldy); she was also great help in the nonissue that arose when I heard back from the head of the orphanage. I was out of town the weekend before the trip (see my blog posts about DC) and get an e-mail that Saturday (seven days before I leave and ten days after I sent it) that says I need, among other things, a police background check. For those of you who don’t know, that is a seven-to-fourteen-day, roughly twenty-dollar endeavor that is typically performed by an employer and must be done through the mail (or online for a higher fee). Three days and two police station scavenger-hunts later, I figure that tasty tidbit out. Hence, a dilemma; so instead I begin writing a letter of credence that I thought might suffice; I end up not printing it when the woman tells me that this hasn’t happened before and they won’t turn me away for not having it. Hence, the nonissue is left unresolved.

And with all that travel preparation, on the morning of Saturday, November 6th, 2009, my dad drove me to the airport to catch the 6:15 flight to Lord-only-knows-what (but I intend to find out).