Journal 20

I want to let you all know that I am heading home today! I am incredibly excited to get back home and enjoy Christmas there with my mom. She is supposed to be arriving at my dorm in about an hour to help me finish packing up and moving out. (I suppose that means I should get out of my sweatpants and start packing...) Anyway, the main reason I mention this is because--when I get home--I probably won't have Internet access. Given that I will not be back to a computer until early January, it may be awhile until you hear from me again.

Anyway, this is the last journal that I wrote for acting class, and I thought I would put it up here, too. It was supposed to be a reflective journal that answered the question "There is a journey within every act, every scene, every moment. What has been your journey within this class?" I went a little abstract, but still delighted in reading it aloud to the class.

It’s Sunday morning, not yet 10:30, and I sit at my computer, typing. I’m in clothes that I have been wearing for two days, and the dishes from my last several meals sit encrusted together to my right, as I am too indolent to carry them the ten steps into the kitchen and place them in my too-small sink. I’m tired; I haven’t slept in three days. If I were to mix that with the anxiety of final exams and the disappointment and guilt that I have felt this past week in that large, blue mixing bowl I’m using for prop, I’m exhausted. And yet...I’m so close to finishing. I’m so close to being done with what I consider to be a huge academic waste of time. Even now, as I compose this journal, I wish I could write it differently. I wish I could do away with all of the “I,” “I,” “I,” selfish, first-person point of view. I am so conditioned to writing academically that I can’t analyze myself properly; I need to take on the role of the omniscient narrator in order to completely and accurately examine why I do the things I do. Furthermore, that third-person, that “epiphanal” viewpoint doesn’t get uncomfortable. It can say what it needs to said—make observations and discoveries that, if I were to say them, would make me feel belittled or inadequate. Rather, the subjective voice I give myself creates a story—one in which I finally don’t have to worry about characterization because, well, it’s already there.

Wrapped in a fleece blanket and perched on her computer chair, she dangerously leans over and reaches for her Acting folder that rests atop one of the three neatly-stacked piles of homework she has on the floor. She places the folder on her desk, casually opening it and ruffling through several pages of notebook paper. Though she can recall exactly what the page looks like, she wants to view it again; use it as a reference. There. She finds it, nestled between acting principles and performance histories. My stomach. Drawn during the first day of class, her stomach is an incredibly accurate depiction of all that has nestled within her mucosa, save for the changing semi-nutritional nourishment that is churned within. Butterflies. Anxiety. Pangs. Anger. Jealousy. The only sentiment that she left out is disappointment. It was one that, most likely, she did not recognize at the time. Either that, or she was too afraid to admit it. Too afraid because—like Antigone—she doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable. She “kind of” knows that she can’t be perfect—can’t be strong—all the time (especially given the size of her heart), but...she’s still a perfectionist.

She thought that, maybe, one of the reasons she was at the University of Iowa this semester would be to learn humility. Admittedly, she might be on her way, given that she has slowly become accustomed to receiving more negative criticism. However, to be knocked off of that pedestal, it is going to take more than acting pointers and her first, in eight years, ‘B’ on an essay. She holds onto the belief that perfectionism is, in fact, both her strength and her weakness. It’s something that she wrote about in her senior reflection four years ago, acknowledging that is has been—and always will be—her greatest setback, as well as her greatest reason to aspire to be something more than everything else she considers to be “mediocre.”

She doesn’t know what she wants to be when she “grows up.” When people ask her, her response is often, “I’m not sure yet, because I know I will always change my mind.” An accurate observation; her chronic indecisiveness and sporadic impulsiveness always lead her into unpredictable and unexpected situations. However, she holds fast to the belief that “every opportunity is a learning experience,” and, in believing so, desperately searches for some meticulous point, a minute sentence or phrase or tidbit that she can absorb, reflect upon, and always remember. Sadly, this semester, only two of her classes provided such an opportunity. One, not-so-surprisingly, was Jewish-American Literature. The other, of course, was Acting. However, what she learned in Acting wasn’t necessarily something that she can apply directly to her own theatre experience. Moreover, what she found and decided to hold onto was something that can be examined and smiled upon every day, rather than only be applied to some specific aspect of only one of her passions. If I’m really motivated, if I really want something, then I’m unstoppable. That sentence is the only things she needs to remind herself; the only phrase that she can inwardly smile about when, upon being asked what “she wants to do,” she can truthfully and happily answer, “I want to live happily ever after.”

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a seasons closure. You must feel elated?

    Be careful with the happily ever after thing ...those goals can be blocked and life was made to be bumpy. It's what you do with the bumps that count.

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  2. Have fun at home! Will miss your posts while you're away. I've never said this before, but I absolutely love your writing. I've always envied people with an ability to put their thought on paper...in a coherent way.

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  3. Oh, I'm sure that things will be bumpy along the way...and who knows how happy I'll be in the end? I'll just have to stay on the bright side. :) However, at least it is a nice thing to aspire to...

    And, Yelena, thank you very much! I'm glad that you enjoy reading my writing! I will have to say that I am certainly not as eloquent (and coherent) when I try to physically speak. :)

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