Saturday, December 29, 2012

On Being a Mole-Person

I can convince people I'm normal. Normal in this sense means extroverted and social. Our current society values highly people with big personalities that are charismatic leaders. I can go long stretches of time where no one suspects I'm anything but that smiling, energetic student and teacher with a propensity for being silly and loud. This is certainly a part of me. I have a great teacher voice that quickly puts any group of any age straight in line and I use it sparingly enough that it works to its maximum potential. At a gathering I can be outgoing and engage people in conversation. I've taken psychology so I know all the salesman techniques. I can be persuasive and manipulate people pretty effectively when I chose to do so. I don't have a hard time analyzing my innermost personality on the internet because I am confident that my strong character can withstand the pressure of publicity. I am an excellent public speaker. That is bragging, but it is also confirmed by multiple sources. Those are all traits of a real extrovert. I would characterize myself as someone who is assertive, talkative, expressive, enthusiastic, and easy to approach. That doesn't settle it, though.

I also have a lot of characteristics of an introvert. My best present this Christmas was a computer game I am slowly playing through the ragequits. When on a vacation (like now) I stay inside playing games, watching YouTube, reading Science Fiction, and just generally being a nerd. My brother witnessed this and said, "you are the best person I know at doing nothing." I thanked him because I take it as a compliment. Being self-contained is somewhat about birth order and it's somewhat about innate personality. Whatever it's about, being able to sit by myself completely entertained with only an internet connection for consecutive weeks has served me well over the years. When I was quarantined after my heart transplant it was the only thing that kept me alive. Anyway, my quiet nerdiness is something I've made peace with. It's something I'm even a little proud of. I am internally aware, independent, and I enjoy solitude. Consequentially, I could easily be categorized as an introvert.

The categories don't really matter of course. They are constructions like almost every category, but I'd really like to know. Like Susan Cain describes it is not a dichotomy either. You can be a little bit of both ( That's what I want for myself because I believe working on your own is where deep thought comes from. I want to harness any creativity I have and bring it to the world, but working together is where ideas grow. None of the things I really love were made by a single person sitting and meditating on a hill or in their basement. They are colllaborations executed by hard-working teams that are typically led by an extrovert. I like the ideas guys- the introverts and the action people- the extroverts. I want to be both.

I want to know myself well enough to share my current true self with the people around me. I don't know if somebody I fall in love with will be an introvert or an extrovert, but I can guarantee we'll have a lot in common. On the first day of psychology last semester my professor said, "The idea that opposites attract is just a lie. If you want to know who you will marry all you have to do is look in the mirror. The truth is that most couples identify with the same race, class, experiences  and values." 

So if my husband enjoys any of the following I won't be surprised. I might even be a little  extra in love
  • Nerdfighters
  • the Yogscast
  • Video Games like Guild Wars
  • Orson Scott Card
  • Physics
  • Shakespeare
  • Biology

because I enjoy them too. We could be nerds together and go to the library. ( If you know this person send them my way

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Little Hope

There are little and big tragedies all around the world every day. From the sad disasters everyone hears about like the recent Hurricane Sandy, war in Syria, and shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to the personal disasters like hospitalized fathers (I love you Dad) and dying grandparents all of us deal with pain and loss every day. As John Green put it, the world is "irreparably broken" and all we hold on to is a little thing called hope as the world is seemingly crumbling into a state of unfixable unfairness and entropy. The world is very depressing and life is the most fragile thing we will ever own. If anyone knows this I do. When I was five I was told that I would be blind by the time I was fourteen. When I was fourteen I was told I would be dead by the time I was seventeen. Now I have a few extra years, but live on a very thin ledge near the chasm of death. As Hank Green says "It doesn't matter what game you are living for. If you are living for it you'll never win. ... we are all playing it and we are all losing it." ( We can't cheat death and we can't escape tragedy. We can fight against a tide of doom and choose to play the right games, but it takes mental toughness and immense courage to find hope in some situations. Sometimes it feels like your life isn't worth living. After my transplant I thought I might never be well again and little kept me alive (the magic of Guild Wars, my family's persistence), but I survived and the miracle of hope filled the void that was my life.

No matter how revolting the Earth around you seems, you have to always remember that “your world is round and appears to gleam with perfection” (Harjo, Joy. A Map to the Next World. New York: Norton. 2000.). Hope comes from a place of having seen small tragedies resolved. On the stage, in pages of a book, and in your every day life you have practiced pain and overcome it before. We've seen Chilean miners pulled up from deep, dark shafts after two days with no food. We've seen hearts implanted into people that should be dead. Hope comes from an evolutionary advantage we have gained after millions of years of breeding to fight against death and destruction at any cost. We fight because it is the thing we are bred to do. Our bodies have antibodies and our minds have hope. We know that sadness and frustration exist, but those around us remind us that beauty and joy exist in equally abundant quantities and we just need to choose which to measure. The Hunger Games says that, "[Hope] is the only thing stronger than fear" and I believe it. The most afraid I've ever been was the morning before my heart transplant, but I did it anyway because my doctors and my family told me they could fix people. When I commented that the hospital was just a place to keep sick people my doctor responded, "no it is a place for people who are getting better." If life is a game the boss battle is between doom and hope. Doom always wins, but only in the last moment. Until then, we can make the choice of who to fight for.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How I Feel About Finals 2

This year instead of doing a finals blog post I did a finals video. I tried to make it like a blog post with my face. Last year was a bit different. ( Just mixing it up.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I have a brother. Today is his birthday. Since he is a boy I am not supposed to express any emotions about him or in his general vicinity, but I like him quite a lot so I hope that he forgives me just this once. My brother is fantastic. He is smart, funny, strong, brave, and deeply passionate. He is an ideas man and one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. He wrote his first website before he was ten and knew more about computers than our school's IT department by middle school. I don't get to see him a lot right now, but there was a time I was a bit obsessed with him. When I was small and people asked my parents what I enjoyed their answer was, "whatever her brother likes." Now we are separate people, but he did buy me my first copy of Guild Wars, he forced me to read Ender's Game, and he made me sit and watch The Big Bang Theory. These are my favorite game, book, and television show respectively. My brother is an amazing creature and I think I owe as many of my defining characteristics to him as to my parents. We have a decent relationship, but we are a bit competitive. My brother is better than me at most things. He's smarter. He's more athletic. He's more coordinated. He's cooler. When we start a competition like who can get a better score in Temple Run he immediately crushes me. He sets the bar way above what I thought was good. I have to practice and practice until I spend enough time to crush him until he gives up. Our friendly competitions have made me better at video games, strength skills, and math tricks. Thank you and Happy Birthday to my brother. I like you even when you are 23 no matter what Blink-182 says.