"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ramblings of a... person... studying people...

Sometimes during a “normal” day you find yourself in really amusing moments. Moments that are just good. Usually they are just small, little things, but they put a smile on your face. They also might not be that amusing to other people. But to you they are. Like when I found myself with some fellow missionaries from my mission…
We are all humanities majors (or rather, we all have majors in the humanities), and we were havin’ a laugh (said with british accent) about how with our chosen majors, oftentimes we hear the question, “What are you going to do with that?!” This question makes us feel good. Real good. We decided that our professors all know we face that question (probably because they faced it long before we did…), and so they often will remind us the first day of class (and throughout the courses we take) the ever-important why of studying something in the humanities. Though often they will remind us that in the humanities, it isn’t about the money, it is about much, much more. And actually, I must admit, that as an English teaching major, I don’t usually face the worst of the critics who want to know what the heck we think we are going to do when we “grow up.” I do, however, face the worst of the “not in it for the money” jokes. Not the point.

As our little mission-buddy group, we tried to come up with some clever ways of responding to that favorite question of ours and as we talked, we felt very validated as we all decided we were studying about what it means to be human. Who can say that is unimportant?! Probably people could. But for the sake of this current blogging stuff that is happening, we are going to all just pretend that we really believe that studying the humanities is really important and helps us in life. And some of us (maybe just me) actually believe that. Some of us might just pretend. It’s fine. I’m over it.

But anyway… I was reading for a class and I stumbled upon a really interesting quote that made me think about humans. When I write “humans” like that (like I just did a few words ago..), it makes it seem like I’m distancing myself, but I’m not. I’m human too. Proud of it. And proud to be an American. But that is not the point either. So….this quote I came across made me think about something that I have been thinking about lately. Curious yet? Annoyed? Probably annoyed.

Anyway. The quote: “The reason I am obsessed by young girls is that they are individuals who exist but also do not yet exist. They are afraid, and they’re strong and weak at the same time. They confront life violently. They are weak because they do not know who they are going to become.”

Once you get over the initial shock over somebody admitting they are “obsessed” with little girls… it’s not what it seems! Promise. This particular scholar did some analyses on fairy tales and movies and such that center on little girls as the main characters. Not as creepy as it sounds. Once we get over that, we can focus on the rest, particularly the ending. I really liked how her quote ended. “They are weak because they do not know who they are going to become.”

That weakness isn’t because they don’t know what or when or how or why they are going to become. But they don’t know who they are going to become. As I think about that phrase, I can’t help but hear Mufasa’s voice in my head saying “You have forgotten who you are, and so you have forgotten me…”
In my opinion (in my humble opinion. That expression always makes me chuckle, because usually when people use that, they aren’t actually being humble about it and I remember when I saw this list of ways to abbreviate in texts and there was IMHO and I personally thought they might want to rethink using that particular abbrevs cuz they were quite possibly sending the wrong message)… well, actually, on second thought, I don’t want to state my opinion because in this particular instance, I really only have my own experience as evidence.  So, I guess it would be like stating an opinion of my own life, which hardly seems necessary. What I really want to say is this: In my life, I have often let the “other questions” the whats, hows, whys, and whens be governing factors and driving principles, instead of letting the WHO become that focus. Maybe other people do that too. Maybe just me.

But I feel like this semester I am learning how to finally let the other questions go (as important as they can be at times and as much as they might influence the who), and I’m trying to focus more on that who. I don’t know what I want to be or when I’m going to be it, or even how I’m going to get there. But I do know who I want to be. And because I know that, it seems like less-of-a-big-deal that I don’t know all the answers to the other questions. Right? Of course, right! (Name that play!) Okay, well I might not know all of the details of exactly how to become that who and who that who really is… I might not know all the specifics. But I know the direction I want to go. And besides, I don’t think we are necessarily meant to have all the answers.
Just like Lewis Carroll wrote, “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” A puzzle worth completing, no? But we only complete it one piece at a time and we can’t cheat and look at the box (I am still a firm believer in the “no box looking” rule, but lately my mother has gotten all pansy in her puzzling skills and she totally looks at the box. What is up with that?!), though sometimes we start to see patterns and stuff that help us get the right pieces.

So just like the lady who is obsessed with little girls noted, power comes in remembering the who of our life. And just like I have declared in wayyyy toooo mannnnyyyy of my other posts, being an English major really is the best because we get to study what it means to be human. In an aesthetically pleasing way. At least most of the time;)