Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coming to an end

This semester has been a wild ride for me.  Not so bad as some of the past, but admittedly that's because I sort of went numb for the last half or so.

I'll be honest: I pretty much gave up.  It was not an easy decision.  But I realized that I was unhappy, and that a lot of that came from my not realizing sooner how unhappy I was becoming.

I'm going to be leaving on my mission before I'm back at school next.  At the very least, I hope the experience makes me learn to be less horrible as a student.  I've never been good at learning just because I'm told to.  I've never been good at doing anything just because I'm told to.  I am intensely bad at not asking why.  There have been many specific instances that this trait has caused trouble for me -- major trouble.  For example, and this is admittedly not a very major example, one year I got talked into going to Especially For Youth over the summer.  It's basically a youth camp put on by the LDS church in our area (I'm uncertain as to whether it's in other places as well), with the intention of increasing spirituality and such.  In practice, it's a week of social events with very little real foundation in the gospel (save for the few directly scriptural events, usually classes), and a massive focus on conformity and structured living.  This is for some people.  Many people, in fact, judging by the program's reputation.  This is not for me.

For me, Especially For Youth was a week of hell.  I have to say that for me one of the most poignant experiences of the entire event was the dance at the end of the week.  I don't dance well at all, and never have really wanted to change that.  I cannot abide the social structure of dances, nor the environment.  Really.  I can't stand them.  Now, this dance started as it was supposed to and everyone got shuffled into the cultural hall where it was being held.  I sat down just outside one of the doors in one of the chairs kept there and began quietly keeping myself entertained (I think I was writing something or other).  Over the next couple of torturous hours, I was approached at least once every five minutes or so by a counselor who insisted that I go into the dance and start dancing.  I assured them that I wasn't going to go wandering off by myself and that I just wanted to be left in peace.  They continued to insist.  I asked why I needed to be in there.  They had no answer whatsoever.  It wasn't that their reasons were weak, it was that they didn't have any at all.  And therefore I refused to go in.  Honestly I was incredibly stubborn, but that's how I get when I'm not told why.  At one point the counselors tried to gang up on me.  Three of them all surrounded me and tried very hard to convince me that I should go in and dance "just because [I] should."  All it did to tell me to do it "just because" was convince me all the more that I was right to refuse and that they were wrong to ask me -- it told me that they didn't know any better than I did why I should be in there and that they were just doing what they were doing (i.e. being there in the first place) because they couldn't be bothered to think for themselves.

I have always found something incredibly wrong about people doing things and not having reasons for it.  Even if the reason is no good, like "because I was told to" or "it seemed like a good idea at the time," I can cope as long as there is a reason.  A bad reason, sure, but at least there is a reason.  If not, then my entire sense of order in the universe tends to break down in some way or another.  In a way it's a personal failing; I cannot cope with the world if there are no reasons behind things.  Behind events, behind feelings, it doesn't really matter what.  There has to be a reason for everything, even if I cannot see it, and when people refuse to tell me without actually saying that they can't tell me, I see it as a flat-out insult and cannot abide the person at all.

Again, a personal failing in one way, but at the same time this trait of needing to ask why has led to far more personal discoveries and in some ways actually helping many more people than almost anything else I have ever done or felt.

There are at least two sides to everything.  Even my poor habits and negligent study.  Even my understanding and wisdom.  There are always two sides.

1 comment:

  1. You've written a thoughtful and insightful blog, one that invites reflection and discussion and that ties big questions to the concretes of daily life. Best of luck with your creative and other life endeavors.