Good Feelings All Around
March 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
I don’t really know what to write about but I’m experiencing a rare lull in my life right now, and thought I should probably capitalize on the welcome free time before it disappears again.
Sorry if the following seems a little jumbled, I’m literally going to write whatever comes into my head, including interrupted thoughts, etc.
I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. I know the majority of reasons why too (I always assume I don’t know everything because hey, what if I feel good for other subconscious reasons too?)
Out of order but one thing is that I survived this week. Oh god, this week was horrible, and it was worse because I only had myself to blame. I could have used my spring break to do my work, to pace myself so I wouldn’t have exactly the kind of hell week I had, but what did I do? Certainly not my homework. It was like as soon as my brain realized it was break, it exploded, supernova-ed, big-banged its way into oblivion, and I couldn’t bring the trillion million pieces and edges back together to focus on anything. My cousin from Japan was here during break and god, is he tall. 6’1″ at sixteen and here is little old me, a measly 4’11”. Though I guess that makes me easier to pick up, and I do like getting picked up, you know, the whole swept-off-my-feet thing, only literally. Except that could be a bad thing, too, since all my friends are convinced I am prime pedobait. Out of all my circles of friends, I am consistently the one considered most likely to get kidnapped. I don’t know how I feel about this.
Talking about friends, I was able to meet some old friends over break. That was a lot of fun but I felt bad for my cousin who was forced to come along by my mom. She said it would be an enriching experience to learn English or some shit like that. I didn’t mind him coming along but it was obvious he felt uncomfortable — I mean, you would too if your cousin was blabbing away lightning speed in a foreign language with friends who she was very obviously close with.
Anyway, digressing. My week, back to my week. So I get back from break, and within the span of four days (4!!!) I had to finish a 310-page novel (The Handmaid’s Tale which is a fantastic book; a bit slow-paced but intriguing, especially if you like dystopia with a feminist and anti-fundamentalist lean), study for a psych exam (I only actually had two days but I busted my ass and pulled through with a solid 95%), write up a bio lab report supported by outside research and literature (pulled an all-nighter to finish this one; like literally finished this at 8:30 the next morning and I started some time in the afternoon or evening prior), and write a short story that’s a “modern update on a traditional fairy tale” (this was probably one of the funnest assignments I’ve ever had so I feel like it doesn’t count as I had such a great time writing this).
But the point is, I accomplished everything and survived. What’s more, I don’t feel all that bad about my assignments. Like despite the crunched time, I still feel like I did a pretty good job on them because I took them seriously, I didn’t try to “bullshit” them. I did well on the psych exam despite it being harder than the last one (about the same score). I got all the way through the book and enjoyed it too, especially seeing as I didn’t finish a couple of books earlier in the semester for the same class. If I look section by section of my lab report, I feel pretty good because I checked to see if I was following the parameters assigned, if all the relevant information was included, all the extraneous information deleted or relocated to its appropriated section, if the figure was what the TA was looking for; I cited outside sources (five since she never specified how many she wanted), checked my citations and “Literature Cited” section, on and on. Basically, I did my best at it and just hope I’ll do well. I hate writing lab reports because it’s as if every teacher, professor, and TA are looking for something different.
The highlight of the week was definitely the short story assignment though. As I said before, the assignment was to take a traditional fairy tale and modernize it. Well, it was either that or other various essay topics. Haha, yeah right, of course I chose the short story option. I was thinking about using something like Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, or Sleeping Beauty (i.e. a Western/Occidental fairy tale) but then I had the lightbulb idea of using a traditional Japanese fairy tale. Why not bring my heritage in? Plus, it would be something different and refreshing (at least to me since I had a hard time coming up with an original idea/concept different from all the modern takes on western fairy tales like Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples, Ella Enchanted, and so on). Also, since it’s Japanese, I would be able to bring in “exotic” qualities like kimonos and shoji screens; not exotic to me but exotic to many others. I wanted to bring in more of the seasons to subtly underline the beauty-of-nature-loving aspect of Japanese culture but oh well. It’s something for the revision, I guess. I’ll post it here if people are interested in reading it.
I just like exploring more of my heritage when I have the chance and I love writing so it was like best of two worlds kind of thing.
I also feel really good about something that occurred over break. Well, more like the culmination of something finally occurred over break but it was a year in coming. During my last year at high school, my AP Lit teacher sponsored a screenplay writing contest. Initially, I wasn’t going to enter. I considered it but I neither had an idea, and even though I kind of wanted to, there was that “kind of”. Basically, kind of = not enough motivation. But then my teacher, the AP Lit one, the same one who was sponsoring the contest, persuaded me to (he’s very persuasive) so I sat down one weekend, the last weekend before the deadline, and just let loose. All day Saturday, I thought about it, let my ideas run free and bleed and blend into each other, pulling out this wisp here or that thread there and following it along before it dissipated back into the swirling fog. Then I spent all day Sunday letting it flow, deleting and adding and editing as I went as the fog changed and cleared and shifted in turns.
I won. I won the contest. And even though sometimes I feel like it doesn’t mean much as there were few entries and even fewer serious ones (one apparently was about space monkeys shitting and blowing up the universe), every little victory counts I guess, right?
And as my “prize”, my screenplay gets to be filmed and produced.
Not by a professional cast and crew of course as the idea behind the whole thing was to foster and encourage an interest in student film, but still. And my AP Lit teacher and his wife, who both work with film professionally (teaching is like the “hobby” for my teacher), oversaw the whole project and gave guidance and advice as needed.
And so, the Friday of my spring break marked the culmination of the cumulative effort of many, many people.
We had a screening of the final product at my high school and then a panel, me included. It was intensely exciting as I was surprised by how many people attended.
Easily my favorite comment during the panel session was this one point where I expressed my worry about how the LGBT community will react to the film as that is the primary theme it addresses, and this one lady said to me (as verbatim as I can remember), “When I saw this film, I immediately showed it to two of my colleagues who are both gay, and they were so moved and touched by the film that they insisted it should be shown at the next LGBT film festival. They absolutely loved it! They believe these sort of issues aren’t addressed enough and said you did a great job portraying them. So, congratulations!” I was so speechless and I wanted to cry — I still get teary as I think about it. It’s just — I can’t even begin to describe but it just made me feel so grateful, so happy to hear those words.
So, two creative accomplishments in just as many weeks.
It was very reassuring as I was starting to doubt my creative ability. Devastating feeling really when I love writing so much.
Another area that’s feeling good (or at the very least, a little better) is that I think the fog is starting to clear from my path just a little. Just a teeny tiny bit. But it’s better than complete opaqueness.
Over break, I met up with some old friends. Well, I was talking to one of them and telling (more like barely subdued panic bubbling up and spilling over through my voice) him about how I felt so lost and directionless and overwhelmed with the massive just everything that was the future. And like he always does, he walked me through my thoughts and guided me out of my panic. With some well-placed questions, he told me that I sounded like I knew what I wanted to do and just needed to find the major or majors that matched. He gave me direction, in other words.
So I get back from break, and do a little reading of the majors/minors website and now I have an idea. Only an idea but an idea, as unformed and vague as it is, it better than no idea. So my idea is a double major with general pysch and ILVS (International Literary and Visual Studies — think literature/English, film, or art major with an international/cross-cultural focus). Which would mean giving up the premed courses but I don’t feel too much distress over that; more stress over how I’m going to break the news to my parents, especially my dad, and whether or not I might, just a teeny bit, want to pursue something medical in the future. But I guess that’s what post-BAC programs are for. Also, with a double major, it’ll be highly difficult to study abroad, maybe even unmanageable, and I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, I feel okay about it because I’m not really where I would go or what I would gain from studying abroad but on the other hand, going abroad always has some culturally enriching aspect.
As you can see, there’s a whole new swarm of worries, concerns, and stresses with my choice, which I haven’t really fully committed to yet, but at least I can see the edges of a few feet in front of me.
I’m going to spend some part of this weekend figuring out fall’12 course that align with my newly discovered focuses.
So to recap my good feelings: Survived a hellish week, had a relaxing break beforehand as a tradeoff, some life direction has appeared, did well on my harder-than-last-time psych exam, did my best on my bio lab report, the screening of my screenplay was received enthusiastically, and wrote a story that I quite like in retrospect.
No wonder I feel so mellow. Although that could be the fatigue from too little sleep but I’ll take anything I’ve got.