3 July 2014

STUDIES OF SELF: YOU'VE CHANGED

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"You have no obligation to be who you once were". 


This morning would be perfect. Of course it would be. I got out of the shower and smooshed some mousse through my hair, threw my head about, pouted and put some vaseline on my lips. I don't know what it was about today but it would be perfect. I knew this because my hair was sleeping right. When I walked into school, confident and bold, accepting compliments because they had been given to me, I treasured them.

In the thick of my perfect morning, right there in Science class, my 'friend' who I hadn't spoken to me that day turned from her seat, looked at me and said this, 'you've changed'. With no further commentary and no way to read into what she meant, my morning had been robbed off me, so did many mornings after that. The idea that I'd changed did not sit right with me. I was insulted because to me, change meant disloyalty to not only myself, but to people that knew me. How would we  continue being friends if I'd changed?

"I'd like to challenge this notion and propose that change is not good or bad, it just is. It is merely a vessel by where we are carried from our past selves to our prospective beings". 

For some reason this comment stuck with me for such a long time and I had no idea how to deal with it. Change felt like I'd be betraying those that knew me. At 15 this is the last thing you want because you mistakenly think that your peers at that age are people you will keep for life. In addition, you're told to never change for anyone, to never allow anyone to impact you in a way that your speech, motives, and attitude shifts. One of my pet peeves is people using 'You've changed' as a tool to hurt someone, as if the idea of change should be something you should be embarrassed about.  And this is what I want to focus on, the idea that we must always stay as we are, obliged to our former selves that we don't really know anymore. People and experiences do in fact change us and alter things in ourselves that seem cemented. I'd like to challenge the notion that change is a precursor to disaster and propose that change is not good or bad, it just is. It is merely a vessel by where we are carried from our past selves to our prospective beings.

Change is motion, not a destination, it is an 'almost', I see it as a milli-second or a 2.5 figure, or even a half-eaten sandwich. Either way, I think change should be viewed as a natural part of ourselves.

We are ever changing, ever evolving, developing and growing. But we are also shrinking, dying, enclosing within ourselves, we're crumbling and our bodies never really stop to digest this constant wheel of living. As we shed our former selves, sometimes involuntarily, it is important to know that it is okay to not be the person you were a year ago. You have no obligation to be who you once were. Take it from the class clown with the jerry curl in fourth grade. Do you have any reason to be apologetic for change? No! The actions that come out of change is what should be analysed as positive or negative, but not the actual turning point itself.

Be comfortable in saying, 'I don't know' or 'ask me later'. Through this, a lesson of humility slowly weaves itself together. I have learned that there are many ways to develop patience and humility, one of these ways is allowing yourself to accept that you make mistakes. I allow myself to feel things, I don't block out certain feelings. If I am angered, I will acknowledge that I am angry and for a brief moment, I will swim in this emotion and will feel no guilt. But I will not allow my mind to linger in the pool of negative emotions or thoughts. I simply soak in it and move on. These bouts of emotions help in the development of my character in the long run. I am changing. Five years ago, I would have felt guilty for feeling angry. Five years ago I would have felt anxious upon receiving compliments. Five years ago, I was someone else. For the most part, my entire character has changed. The key elements of me that I thought would definitely stay throughout my life and are no longer here. This is okay.

Change of character could be seen as negative, you might think that you are wired in a certain way, and then by something that has happened (or sometimes nothing happens at all!), you begin to shift and it isn't always obvious. Change does not mean instability. I have often been called a wanderer, a nomad, a wishy-washy person and "very wobbly" (I'm actually still offended by the last one). People will not always understand the reason for your shifts, they don't have to. The reason for their disproval of your change is because, change disturbs comfort, comfort can be seen as stability, which could translate into happiness. But happiness is not always stability. This is why change is often frowned upon, because it doesn't follow the natural confines of what we think is happiness. In addition, change is reflects those round you. When you change, you force others to see you in a different light, which may not always be comfortable for them. This movement is definitely not solely inwardly - It requires effort from others too. 

So now what? What do I do when I change, or my friend changes? Honestly, I don't have an answer for that, but I'll say this, I learn about myself with each passing of emotion or event. I learn new things about my friends everyday and I recognise that I have no authority to dictate their personal development. I may become an influence, but not the stopper. If they change in a way that I don't agree with, then I move on, always keeping in mind that we are in constant growth. We are in cycles of development. I don't believe that there is just one life cycle, rather, there are hundreds of cycles each day. Some cycles stop sooner that others, some cycles go on until death meets us. These cycles represent the different memories, emotions and traits that we have. Some traits leave us to join the rusty old cycles that have passed, and new cycles are formed daily, monthly, and even yearly. So perhaps, we should just let change be. Not paying much attention to it, but acknowledging that it's there and knowing that certain things at some point will cease to define who you thought you were. Maybe it means that who we are is not tied in our traits and personalities, but something deeper? 

1 July 2014

THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY

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I got slightly bored whilst drawing this. I promised myself that I would come back to it and try and finish it. But sometimes, you've just to leave things undone, let them figure themselves out. As was the case with this character. She seems pretty alive to me. I was trying to try out some new features, more almond shaped eyes and geometric face shadows. It didn't really work. I often mould my illustrations to how I went them to be, when they refuse, I discard of them, disregarding there ever was an existence. I'm a tyrant illustrator in my sketchbooks. Get with it! On another note, she resembles Kerry Washington a little bit, no?

27 June 2014

Mon. 23 June 2013

[Originally Written] Mon. 23 June 2013
I am the over achiever. Or rather, I was the over achiever. My mum called me this morning and she sensed the deflated spirit I'd had for a couple of months now. I normally get out of my ruts pretty easily, but this rut had attached itself to me since March. My mother told me I had no confidence, that I focused too much on the smaller things in life. She said, ultimately 'God is not going to congratulate you on the degrees you had'. Well of course he wouldn't, that notion sounded absurd. But I was living like my degree would be detrimental to my spiritual, emotional and physical health. University has taken so much out of me, because I have allowed it to. Coming from school where everybody recognised me for being the one with distinctions and 'A' stars, University paid me no mind. I was branded the one 'most likely to succeed'. But suddenly, nobody really cared about how many 'A's I had. This was difficult because grades had been my livelihood for as long as I can remember. For the most of my life, much of my self-worth was in education. 

So when I got my grade back for my final major projects a few days ago, I cried, and I cried some more. I'm so fickle. This is so fickle. I didn't see the point in anything anymore. So when my mum called me to discuss what I'd be wearing for my graduation, I immediately put down any mention of fancy dress wear because I didn't think I had deserved it. This morning my mum schooled me. 'Where is your confidence, Sherida, have you stopped reading your bible? Is Jesus going to ask you for your qualifications when you meet him?Why are you so anxious?' I couldn't give an answer for any of her questions because I had never once stopped to think about why I was working so hard. My qualifications so far hasn't brought me much further than any of my peers. Despite my super high school grades and college grades, I'm still in the same boat as those whose efforts weren't quite Super Sayan. But they are okay. 

I remember speaking to one of my friends at uni about grades. I was just going to comment on how disappointed I was with my 'A-', when he told me with a wide grin that he got a 'C+'. 'But how can you be okay with a 'C+'', I thought to myself. He said he had bigger plans than getting the highest grades in University. His vision superseded the regimented marking criterias and assessment sheets. It is only now that I realise this. I have been tunnel-visioned. This morning, my mum let me know that I ought to be grateful, so grateful. What was I trying to be the best at? Who was I trying to be the best for? Where are these qualifications going to take me in the grand scale of life? And it is this revelation that I want to share this morning, 'Jesus doesn't care about your status'. Life as a Christian ought not be a popularity contest, or a battle of the smartest or strongest. If "the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7) and he is all I am aiming to please, then why do I deceive myself in thinking that physical things matter? In addition, if He has told me to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7) then why do I hyperventilate at the prospect of not knowing what my future entails? Last night I went to bed with a heavy heart and an anxious mind, this morning, those things are flipping around. I have to think in the grand scale of things. It can become very difficult to focus on Jesus when there are little things biting your feet. A lot of the things that we experience are often minor, but they build up so vast that you forgot where you were in the first place.

I never thought anybody could tear me away from education, but I can feel myself being slowly peeled away. I have to know that God wants what is best for me, he knows what my heart desires and knows what it was take to get there. 

[ETA] Fri. 27 June 2014 
Reading back on this with a less heavier heart. I have accepted that we are in a perpetual state of battle. I have to say though, I was not expecting it all to be this hard. Also I have to be super honest, I'm scared and excited, but then I'm scared again. I wrote all of that on Monday with a seemingly good ending, but there really is no good ending. Plus I don't want to go home. There's nothing there. I'm so unmotivated to get a job as well, so this is a deadly combination.