maturity and anger: realization

I’m writing this post so that I can distract myself from the fact I’m stuck in car with a very incompetent Lyft driver. Now I can be angry and completely bitch out the driver for driving into a traffic filled road rather than following the app’s suggested route and taking the back roads, or I can relish the fact that I’m in one of the busiest roads on the city, able to see the city life unfold around me. I’m letting time drift by, trying to not get annoyed or angry at my situation, because at the end of the day, there are better things to do than be pissed off.

This situation reminds me of two instances that were extreme opposites: when Scarlett forgot to register for classes and got extremely angry, to the point where she made everyone uncomfortable. She had the advantage of being able to pick her classes before the other college freshmen, and she did not realize that she simply planned her classes, not actually register for them. Her attitude was infectiously negative and made us all very unsure of how to feel. We were able to help her salvage a schedule for classes, but not after she had already went into a rage induced emotional rant about how unfair it was.

The other case was with my friend, Ann. She lost her wallet and credit cards flying over from NorCal to visit for spring break. Unlike Scarlett, Ann handled the situation really rationally. She figured out what she needed to account for, i.e. her credit cards, driver’s license, and while she did lose those, she still managed to have her passport. While she had to basically cancel her credit cards and rely on Venmo-ing strangers the whole time, she still had a lot of fun and completely forgot about the whole indicident. She invoked positivity and maturity in the face of a problem.

I’m trying to channel my inner Ann and take a horrible situation and make the most out it. My driver is a moron, and yes, he is going to get a very bad review, but that’s for later. In the present, I’m going to soak in the architecture of the buildings and people watch. Because that’s the most I can do with a situation out of my hands. Being angry will only make the situation escalate.


Road Movie: Chapter 20

“So I’m still debating on which city to move to, out of those four, but I’m definitely leaving at the end of the month,.” The brunette was with Monique again, walking around the Loop. “I’m going to miss you.” The dark haired girl sighed. “Come to think of it, what made you choose Chicago?” “It was just such a cool city for me. I’m originally from Iowa, and there’s not much to do there other than walk through corn fields. So coming to a big city like this, it felt like such a great opportunity. Plus, I get to photograph things that aren’t on a farm for once!” She laughed. “Wow, such a spontaneous move though.” Dakota sighed. “Yeah. I do miss my parents a lot, but I know if I have time to be homesick, then I have time to be exploring and enjoying my life.” Monique grinned. “I’m glad you’re getting more out of your time there than I am.” The brunette smiled. “Well, to each there own!” Monique reasoned.

Walking towards the Lake, Dakota thought about her conversation with Monique. To each their own. She sighed to herself. The very place the brunette felt trapped by, her friend loved and thrived in. It was interesting to think about how differently they viewed Chicago. Dakota felt that Illinois as a whole was holding her back. But Monique saw this as a place for her to thrive and grow. Even though there was a small age gap between the two, Monique seemed to be so much more complacent with her situation. She seemed to be a lot less panicked by the idea of being around this city. Granted, Monique did not have a dead boyfriend that reminded her of this place, but she still had her own grievances in the form of having parents so far away, working every day on a corn farm. It was also just funny to think about how a girl from the suburbs and a girl from the cornfields could become good friends over photography and through living in this city.

“Say, Monique. Do you know the main reason why I want to leave Chicago?” The two were sitting on a bench, watching the waves sway along the shore. “Actually, I don’t.” “So for a long time, I dated a boy named Phillip. He and I got together in 11th grade, but we knew each other since the 7th grade.” Dakota began. “Why haven’t I met him? Did you guys break up or something?” Monique looked at her curiously. “No. He… died in a car crash.” “Oh no…” Concern consumed the graduate student’s face. “It happened back in December. I… am still grieving, and trying to slowly get over it. But this city, we grew up in Illinois and in Chicago together. So almost everything here, it reminds me of him.” She sighed to herself. “It makes sense why you need to get away now. You need space to sort out your feelings.” Monique chimed in. “I’m not saying that the exact same thing happened to me, but I lost loved ones to an accident before too.” “Oh no! What happened?”

It was back when Monique was applying for colleges in high school. She had received a phone call from her parents that her grandmother, the last of her grandparents and the only one Monique had ever met, died in a fire. Nobody knew what caused it, but there were assumptions that with the droughts that were happening in Iowa at that time, the dried crops caught fire, and that wound up consuming her grandma’s entire house. Ever since, Monique knew that she did not want to work on a farm. The idea of being killed by the very things you work for, it was an unsettling feeling for her. Attending her grandmother’s funeral was tough for her, but it made her realize how badly she wanted to leave Iowa and go into a large city. So she chose an easy major to get into colleges for, being Psychology, and then decided to pursue photography on the side, until she had enough of an idea of what sort of photographer she wanted to be.

“I think the biggest thing I’m learning now is how strong we both had to be to get over their deaths. It would be easy to just throw up your arms, give up, and quit, but doing that is not what living life is about. We want to follow our dreams. I know that I want to be a photographer, but what kind, not sure. For you, Dakota, what is it that you want to do?” She looked at the older female. “I know I want to do something expressive. Right now, yes, I’m leaning towards photography. That might change down the line. All I know is that at this very moment, photography relaxes me and makes me happy. So that’s why I continue doing it.” She started to realize something else. No matter how inept she was at something, so long as she had passion for her, she could learn to be good at it. Just stumbling upon this realization made feel like she was less trapped than she felt.

We all can grow and mature. It does not matter how old we are, we can continue to learn new things and gain new insights. Perspectives continue to grow when we interact with others, and gain their opinions and ideas as well. The idea of talking to others, and growing through their experiences, it suddenly dawned on Dakota, that’s one large way for her to overcome her grief. And she knew that by going into a new city, there would be plenty of opportunity to grow. An entire metropolis of people she was waiting to meet and know. To hear about their stories. Maybe that’s another thing to appealed to her about marketing. Hearing their insight, and being able to give her own. The idea of sharing perspectives, memories, thoughts, that was something that spoke true to her.

“You’d think that because I have such a good career and that I look put together, I had life figured out. But nobody can ever figure out life. As soon as we think we do, it changes. It continues to grow and develop with humanity.” Dakota stated aloud to Monique. The two were walking back to their apartments after a day of photographing the entire city. “It’s a very true statement too.” Monique chimed in. “It’s not like an attack on your prior accomplishments, or anything like that, but we can all continue to learn and grow so long as we keep an open mind and not feel like we are being challenged or offended.” The brunette smiled. While she is still planning to commit to moving, she knows that somewhere in the future, returning to this city would not be as painful as she feared it to be. “Even if I’m leaving now, expect me to visit. Maybe not in a year, but I’ll be back.” She promised her friend.

pace: dream 35

When we want different things out of life, we have trouble co-existing. We have trouble involving each other in any aspect, from our daily routines to our deepest confessions. We are growing at different paces, and that is why one of us will outgrow the other. It creates a rift and a dissonance that we will struggle to overcome. And when we fail, the structure that was our relationship, it crumbles. It falls apart and sinks to the wayside. Yeah, that sounds dark, it’s terrifying, but does it really need to be? In every walk of our lives, we will always lose friends, loved ones, family, either to time or unresolved conflict.

What I am astounded by is how long the healing process takes. I really wish that it would be a two-three day process, where we get hurt, we reflect, we confront, and we move on. Unfortunately, that is not possible with every human being. We are all maturing at different rates, and we get into arguments because we miscommunicate, misinterpret, and misalign our values, perspectives, and morals. We are all at different stages in our lives. Some of us are bright-eyed interns who are eager to work, while others are jaded executives who want to find something else to be excited about. Because we are all were raised in different environments, it affects the pace at which we mature and live.

Obviously, I would wish for everyone to be at the same stage, moving at the same pace in their lives. But again, that’s not possible. Standardizing a way of living, especially across so many different countries, cultures, households, genders, and age groups, it is simply impossible. You cannot expect an 80 year old woman to have the same amount of enthusiasm as an eight year old boy about the new Spiderman movie or for a 45 year old woman and her 15 year old son to have an exciting conversation about Fifty Shades of Grey. Well, at least I hope. The second one would be pretty creepy. I know I would not want to talk with my mother or my potential child about that book. But it shows, case in point, that generational gaps is another reason why we cannot all be or act at the same stage mentally and emotionally. There are expectations with all of those barriers I listed.

I would say that in a world of my feather-light dreams, we would all still be at different emotional stages moving at different emotional paces. But I would wish that the conflicts that come from these differences will be easily overcome; I do not want conflict to go away, simply because it drives people to work more efficiently together when it is dealt with. I would also wish that everyone, regardless of where they are at emotionally or what pace they are moving, would be willing to mend their conflict and confront the issues, rather than running away. I want that to be the benchmark: nobody is so immature that they are non-confrontational cowards. In the world of my feather-light dreams, we would all at the least, be mature enough to respect each other’s time, and just work towards understanding each other’s perspectives, as opposed to slapping on labels and calling it a day.

dragonfly: dream 33

When people meet me, they typically assume that my spirit animal is a dolphin. My best friend told me that a dolphin fit my personality because I was outgoing and upbeat, like a dolphin. But I disagree with the general consensus. When I see myself in a mirror, I do not see a perpetually cheerful sea-rapist. I see a quiet, nomadic person who drifts between groups. A dragonfly symbolizes constant change. Specifically, maturity. I feel with my sort of personality, the dragonfly is a very perfect fit. I can be the most immature or mature person you ever meet, depending on my current mood and the context I am put in.

The biggest reason why I feel like a dragonfly is a perfect representation for me started from a dream I had. I was a warlord’s concubine in Feudal Japan. I was terrified and left alone in a small room with him. He was about to defile me. But then, like little flowers, dragonflies started sprouting out of the ground. I started following them, and more appeared. The warlord noticed me escaping, but the dragonflies continued to multiply and spread, flooding the room. He could not catch me. I followed the trail of dragonflies, and managed to escape the prison.

Waking up from that dream, I had no idea what to think. It felt completely random that dragonflies would appear to me and rescue me from a sex-crazed mongrel. But I started to think more about why that dream occurred and what the dragonflies meant. I just started to remember how I lost my virginity; to a much older stranger in a barely legal or consensual  manner. So in that way, the warlord represented the stranger. In that situation, I managed to fend off the person, so my act of defiance was like a metaphor for the dragonflies. I read into what dragonflies symbolized, and the results mostly showed that they represent maturity, power, and growth.

Becoming more mature, or at least, being able to maturely handle situations, is something I want to continue learning how to do. For me, maturity is something we all need to be strong. Specifically, being able to cope with hard situations in a way that does not harm anyone. Dragonflies never harm anyone. They fly through the different phases of life, and continue to drift off towards adulthood. In a feather-light world, we could all do just that. Life would be enjoyable to the point where it will always feel so short-lived or as if it passed by too quickly.

Responsibility: realization 24

With great power comes great responsibility. That cliché has been one I have seen throughout all of my team or organizational experiences in college. People who are given leadership positions, they really have the power to change entire groups of people in whatever way that they want. I have seen entire organizations fall apart because the leader is not competent. When I became an editor-in-chief, I was internally freaking out at first. I did not know if I was cut out to do this. But I quickly realized that to be a leader, I needed to just train my subordinates so that they can do their individual jobs better than if I were to do them collectively on my own. And that has been working thus far. Not going to jinx it. However, with great responsibility, it comes with great fear. For me, anyways. You need to be a mature person so that you can wield power in a responsible way. And my biggest fear is that I am not mature enough to be responsible. Hence, that’s where the fear comes into play.

For me, being mature means that you can typically handle a serious situation in a composed and calm manner, and when you cannot, you take, maybe 2-3 hours for a small argument, no more than a day tops, to get over your emotions and then confront the problem. Basically, you know to put your own feelings aside and try to solve the problem before it gets any worse. It’s funny to think that there are still so many people, even in college, who are passive aggressive, non-confrontational, and even evasive. That sort of cowardice, you have to live with it. You have to live with the guilt of knowing that you were too afraid to confront the problem. You bear that regret of not being able to be brave and face your fears head on. You will start wishing that you actually did something, rather than running away with your tail between your legs.

For that very reason, I try my best to be confrontational at the very least. Being passive aggressive does not solve anything. Trying to involve other people, using them as messengers because you are afraid to look somebody in the eye, it shows that you are just immature. You are not strong enough to fight your own battles. As an adult, you need to be able to do that. There will not always be a time where you have the luxury of making someone else be your human shield. When it comes down to it, if you have a problem with somebody, speak up about it and to the person who needs to hear it. While I will admit that I am emotionally frail and inept, being unable to control my emotions properly, I know that this is my weakness and to compensate, I typically just don’t use my emotions, especially not when making decisions. I can still take most confrontational criticism constructively (unless I am in an emotionally charged state, but that is why I do not use my emotions to begin with). Bottom line, there’s a reason why I am afraid I am not mature enough to handle being responsible. The moment emotions get involved, I am literally the worst. And I have to take ownership of that.

I will not deny the things I say or do, even when I am not in control of my brain or heart. I have to stand behind myself. I will not go around, spewing that I have changed or that the person who said those hurtful things was not me. Because that is an unfortunate part of who I am. I am still working on being less emotional, but that’s a project in itself. Being responsible or mature ultimately to me means that you will own up to whatever mistakes you have made, and that you will be confrontational when it comes to clearing up any misunderstandings. But at mature as you try to make yourself, keep in mind some people just aren’t mentally or emotionally mature enough to listen. Those kinds of people, just let them live, and ignore them. They are not worth your time. Stick to people who will hear you out and give you their time of day, and not make you wait to confront. And within yourself, find ways to make yourself someone you can be wholeheartedly responsible for. That way, you can live a feather-light life, where you are the one in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own actions and thoughts.