Oh, That’s Not Normal? I Guess I’ll Go… Question My Actions Now…

What is “normal” anyway? That’s a pretty subjective term, anyway. Reminds me of that joke about society urging people to be themselves, and then when they become brave enough to do so, are judged for it… because it’s not “normal”. You’re probably wondering what I’m talking (writing) about, what evoked this train of thought. Well…

I was at work, and had taken a break to talk to a co-worker (GASP! Shocking I know…) and as is per usual in human conversation, I was asked about my plans for that day after work.

Ever since I came home from Italy, I’ve been making the effort to be a better daughter/sister/friend/worker/etc. (if you recall my Selfishness post) by my standards. Part of this involves hanging out with my dear younger brother. Now, we’ve gotten closer over the years as he’s gotten older and so we would hang out (watch movies, take walks, play cards, etc.) pretty regularly. But after I began college, I wasn’t around as much to do that. And when I was home, I was often too busy to spend much time with him–especially recently as I finished finals and have begun to move closer and closer to graduation and all that entails. So basically for me being a full-time student and devoted sister-friend doesn’t always work out. But with moving home and having time off of school, I planned for things to change.

Even with my jobs, I do have a bit of free time some days. And on those more open days, I leave my free time free for my dearest, now 15-year-old (yikes) brother, for whatever he wants to do (if he wants to do anything in particular, sometimes he doesn’t, but it’s nice to have that option ūüôā ). Anyways, the particular day I was asked about my after-work plans was an open-Max-hang-out day. I related a condensed version of the above while another co-worker entered the conversation and listened. When it became clear I was finished talking I was met with a comment along the lines of “Not many 15-year-olds want to hang out with their college-age sisters.”

Now, the comment wasn’t unkind; in fact, if what communication expertise I’ve gathered from my studies were any indication, I’d say the remark was made with admiration. Like what I’m doing is just so worthwhile… yet, different.

Different_Ash

Fantastic Mr. Fox… Anyone?

I don’t remember how I responded. But I remember my internal reaction–a jumble of thoughts flew through my head at once:¬†Why not? Why wouldn’t a younger kid want to hang out with their older sibling? Is that not something siblings do? Not at this age? Should my younger brother not want to hang out with me? Is this not considered normal?¬†This was one of those instances where I was so used to a certain aspect of my life, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of another reality.

What if? What if my brother weren’t who I know him to be? What if we didn’t have the bond we do? Didn’t spend time together like we do? Anything aside from what I have now didn’t occur to me, and that was so grounding, gratifying. What if I didn’t have what I have now? Had something else? I don’t know how things would be different, but I know there would be pros and cons to the situation just as there are in my current sibling bond. I think you know where I’m going with this, and I think you know it’s going to be terribly clich√© but c’mon, I can’t not; even with all the rough patches–including a rather field-y patch at that–I wouldn’t change a thing. Because, let’s be honest, my brother nor I nor all the other individuals close in his life would not be the same if he were different.

‚ÄúThe crisis might be what sticks in my mind, but the in-between moments are the ones I would not have missed for the world.‚ÄĚ –Jodi Picoult,¬†House Rules

So yes, admiring co-worker, maybe 15-year-olds don’t typically hang out with college-age siblings. Maybe it’s not normal. But mine does. And it’s my normal. And we have a pretty smashing time. You know, most of the time…

Love your siblings. And your parents–particularly your father today, as society demands. But if you remember my Mother’s Day comment, don’t show appreciation for loved ones just on their acclaimed holiday, but everyday–explicitly and implicitly… in your own way. Happy Father’s Day (if applicable). ūüôā

Also, is anyone impressed by abilities to cram the weirdest, opposing references into my posts? I think it’s my new talent…

I’m Going on an Adventure… AGAIN!

Considering my most recent post (Let’s Talk About (Write About?) Selfishness), this probably won’t make sense, what with my argument about not doing things to challenge myself socially, but I still stand by what I said. We’ll just say this is one of my first steps toward implementing that challenge… though I committed to this adventure¬†a few months ago and just immortalized the challenge yesterday… Anyway. Adventure! Again.

A little over a month ago, I went on a seemingly miniature adventure by comparison, in which I stayed overnight at an abandoned resort with fellow students from my school brought together by a passion to advocate for inclusion of diversity on campus. I was very anxious in the days, hours leading up to that adventure. And proceeded to be pleasantly surprised after the true adventure had begun. But despite this scary-turned-unforgettable experience being what it was, I’m still experiencing mass amounts of worry prior to my next big adventure even though it too is bound to be unforgettable. So what is this adventure at which I keep hinting? Well, I’m going to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALY

*insert envious gasps and celebratory music here*

I’m going to Italy for three(ish) weeks on a class trip that aims to simultaneously envelop us dear college students into the standard tourist-y routines typical of foreign visitors yet integrate us into the everyday routines and habits of the locals. Very contradictory, I know. But considering this is my second time overseas and the first time was with a very large group filled with only tourist activities, I’m actually really¬†excited for the latter goal of this adventure: the integrating into native lifestyles bit. Well excited, relatively speaking…

This promises to be a unique opportunity not everyone gets offered… well at least those who don’t attend my school (it’s very common to spend time abroad at my university. I’m actually considered unusual for my lack of abroad experience.). It’s exotic, it’s timely, inexpensive (relatively speaking, from what I’m told). Which is sort of why I convinced myself to go. And while I was excited back when I committed so many months ago, now that the beginning of this adventure draws nearer and that more people know about it and the pressure to feel excited is heightened, I’m feeling somewhat less excited and more anxious.

Anxious about what’s going to happen while I’m Italy. What’s going to happen to the people I care about back home while I’m away. Whether I’m going to genuinely like and maybe even befriend the other people on this trip. Basically, all the big scary unknowns everyone’s so fond of fearing. I realize a lot of this worry stems from things I can’t control. And if I can’t control them, why worry? Well, doesn’t that just sound so easy? Yeah, on paper (computer screen?) maybe. In reality it’s not that simple. That’s just not how I’m wired; worrying is what I do.

I’ve been working myself up about this trip (clearly) and will continue to do so, even after the plane takes off, after we’ve arrived in Italy and settled into our convent-turned-bed-and-breakfast (so cool, right?!), after a few days of being enveloped and integrated into the Italian culture. But then, once the novelty wears off, the worry/anxiety will dissipate into their usual everyday doses, and I will begin to enjoy myself. Maybe even as much as everyone assumes. And I know I will–to some degree, if my track record is any indication. Everything usually works out just fine. I just have to be Quinn and dedicate ridiculous amounts of energy worrying until that sense of enjoyment arrives. Sigh, I’m so weird…

So yes: adventure. Woot woot! But fear not dear readers, for you will not be without my disorganized ramblings of a blog while I’m gone. This is an academic trip, as in while I’m in Italy I’m to be completing coursework, requiring use of my laptop/Internet. So… blogging! Funny enough, I’m actually required to keep a blog for my class to recount my experiences, so I may simply dual-post on my class’ site and here (though I think those posts will be significantly more academic than my informal ramblings. Hope that’s okay…). I can’t promise consistency nor my usual disorganization, but there will be a post at some point in the next few weeks while I’m away. At least one. Hopefully more. We’ll see… ūüôā

Ciao, for now! I guess. That rhymed! Yikes…

Oh! And depending on where you’re from/when you’re reading this: Happy Mother’s Day! Should circumstances allow, do something for your mom. Talk to her. Spend time with her. Let her know you love her in some way. If it were up to me, I’d say we shouldn’t need a holiday as an excuse to do these things; we should be loving and celebrating the people we love regardless of the day. But if you need the excuse of an officialized holiday to call up your estranged mother to chat, then so be it. Hey, you’re making an effort. Go you! ūüôā Okay that’s all.

Let’s Talk About (Write About?) Selfishness

Specifically my selfishness. How’s that for irony? As much as I’d like this to be some phenomenal self-help piece applicable to all readers, I know that’s just not possible. So like most posts, I’m selfishly using my own experiences to maybe, kind of, on the off-chance, indirectly help one or two people in addition to myself. Yep.

Lately I feel I’ve been selfish (hence the theme of the post). Beyond regular human capacity. And I don’t mean selfish in terms¬†of greediness or only looking to benefit myself, but rather placing my needs above the needs of others so as to ensure my personal well-being/stability. While of course, caring for yourself and ascertaining your own needs are met is vital to, well, living, I think there’s a limit to just how extensively those needs should be met. And I think I’ve exceeded my limit…

In former posts I’ve mentioned my introverted tendencies/social anxiety/simultaneous people-admiration yet fear of socialization; I’m pretty open about these aspects of my personality. But that wasn’t always the case.

Acknowledging my social anxiety in particular¬†is an act relatively new to me. I just started coming to terms with it and talking about it a few months ago. And ever since, I haven’t been able to stop. This is great! I’ve become more self-aware, self-accepting. I’ve made great progress from where I was prior to talking. But now I feel I almost use this facet of my personality as an excuse. To do things. Not do things. To justify my periodical antisocialness. While yes, social anxiety can be and at times is in fact a valid reason for certain situations, I think I may be… taking advantage of this part of me.¬†I think, ever since I’ve begun to talk about my social anxiety and come to grips with it, I’ve gotten so comfortable with this part of my life, I treat it like I treat all constants in my life–like a… security blanket. Like I’m just a little too comfortable with this part of my identity.

Because I’m so comfortable and so easily able to justify my behaviors or decisions by my anxiety, I easily refuse to take advantage of opportunities (big and small) that hold the potential to sprout my growth socially. Because saying no and staying with what you know is so much easier than the alternative. Than trying something new. Or even not so new.

Ever since coming home for the summer, I’m finding it harder and harder to be the person everyone is expecting–the person I want to be. I want to be a daughter, sister, friend, student, employee, writer, explorer, investigator (and probably more but this list seems long enough). But I’m also introverted and socially anxious. And those bouts of reality combined with my aspirations don’t always¬†work. It’s not impossible, no, but it is… a challenge. Or so I seem to think.

It¬†is¬†a challenge to be all this, all I want to be, but I think with my comfort in excuses, I’m exacerbating this challenge into something bigger. So as to simply not do all I want to do and to give up. Well, my version of giving up, which isn’t very similar to most peoples’ interpretation of the idea, but… And (in a very roundabout way) I think that’s selfish. I’m using facets of my personality and meeting the needs of those aspects to not do things. And that’s¬†not¬†okay.

Take_Care_Selfish

Oh good… Silver lining

I need to find a balance, a way to somehow be all that I want to be yet still care for the parts of me that need extra TLC (i.e. time alone/away from people). I just can’t get too CAREried away in the process of caring for my needs. Ha… that wasn’t funny. Sorry.

This potential balance achievement is going to be a journey–not so easily completed. Maybe not ever completed. Maybe full balance isn’t possible, but rather a trial of give-and-take that varies each day. I guess there’s one way to find out.

Alright dear reader(s) who were totally helped by my rambling bout to self-discovery: remember, take care of yourself. Meet your needs. But… don’t forget about those needs you share with others. Those need tended to too. Ha! To too. Yikes, I need a good laugh… And less ellipses.

I realize this is not my usual posting time. Don’t worry, we’ll return to regularly scheduled programming; I already had a post in mind for that but I was feeling really passionately about this topic, ergo the gift of extraneous blogging. You’re welcome! ūüôā

Why is Peopling So Difficult?

Also, why are so many of my posts titled with a question…usually beginning with “why”? I¬†guess even as an English major, having concrete answers for the seemingly inexplicable provides solace…¬†at least some of the time.

As human beings we crave social interaction (which I affectionately refer to as “peopling” when in verb form)–to some extent. The drive to be social brings us together, it evokes a commonality among¬†humans. But that extent, the degree to which we crave and seek out social endeavors divides us. We have different preferences, different means, different limits to how we choose to fulfill our socialization need. And in recent weeks, I’ve begun¬†to notice how easily my need is met by such minuscule human interaction.

I am an introvert. This is nothing new, and I fully accept and embrace this¬†about myself. Introversion is awesome! And rather refreshing in such a social society. But my level of introversion seems to be rising more and more lately. I’ve been told I’m personable, easy to talk with, and generally appear as an outgoing individual. Here would be important to note that in these instances when I’m commended for my above-and-beyond social performance, I’ve only had to be social¬†for a short while. Also important to note in these instances are the additional factors come in to play: a) I’m in a good mood and/or feeling socially at ease, b) the other person/people is/are intriguing/pleasant and we thus are able to connect, c) I enjoy the surrounding environment/situation eliciting¬†the social interaction, and/or d) all of the above. But all of those factors, even combined, can only amount to Pleasant, Social Quinn for so long. Or apparently not so long.

Jane_Eyre_CAPTION

Jane Eyre understands. Select the image to learn more about the inner-workings of an introvert.

I’ve come to find through my college and work experiences¬†my absolute maximum capacity for social pleasantry is about a day… if I have to be around people the entire time… and can still find a few minutes to escape for introversion solace. So technically not even a full day, really… Yikes.

Don’t get me wrong: there is an abyss of resources out there (i.e. the internet) advocating for introverts (their well-being, habits, problems in extroverted societies, coping mechanisms, self-love, etc.), and that is AWESOME! But those resources only get you so far especially when you’re going about your introverted existence. It’s one thing to read and talk about, but another to actually do (as is the case with pretty much anything). Especially when other people are involved. It’s like that society-wide instruction that encourages everyone to embrace their true selves. Yet when they comply, they get scorned for trying to be too much like their true selves, too individual and not enough¬†like the “true self” society already has outlined for its occupants.

Society

Introverts have gained a massive following in the past decade as more and more people are coming to grips with this facet of identity. But that doesn’t mean everyone is entirely on board with the concept. I don’t mean they aren’t willing to accept, they just don’t appear to fully… understand what being an introvert entails. If they did, they wouldn’t continue to push introverts out of their comfort zone, asking them¬†to spend so much time peopling even after trying to set the record straight on the concept of an introvert.¬†Or maybe they still would. Pushing us introverts out of our¬†comfort zone and all that.

While¬†I’m perfectly content with my introversion, I work to embrace it, why push me to my limit? I suspect to expand my horizons, maybe even extend my limit. But asking me to repress my introversion for a little while longer kind of challenges my efforts to embrace it, like even my extroversion, as sporadic as it is, still isn’t enough. And I find this rather frustrating. Kind of like I find people frustrating sometimes. Thus, lash out via the written word to the internet…

…I don’t think I really conveyed anything coherent in this post other than my struggle with extensive socializing and apparent disdain for people (even though I’m interested in studying them???), but consider it an elaboration on the title question, “Why is Peopling So Difficult?” Maybe you have an answer or insight you’d like to share. In which case, by all means share–I (and fellow introverts alike) would love to hear.

I hope your week has just the right amount of peopling in it. Until next time… ūüôā

It’s Happening

That moment supposedly every college kid endures while in school, in which they question their career ambitions, the meaning of life, whether 2 and 2 really equates to 4, etc. Call it what you will–a breakdown, an identity crisis, a mid-life crisis (a few decades early)–but after remaining confident in the belief I¬†was set to breeze through college knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I have begun to experience my breakdown/identity crisis/mid-life crisis. A few years too late.

I’m going to pause right here to integrate some perspective before continuing. I realize this is going to seem over-dramatic, unimportant in the grand scheme of things–considering all that’s going in the world right now (though when is there not something going on?)–but as made clear in a former post (Connotations of The FUTURE), uncertainty begs discomfort. And I don’t like discomfort. It makes me uncomfortable.

That wasn’t funny.

I have a lot of feelings on this right now and I feel the need to work out my seemingly unimportant crisis so that I may become less uncertain and thus less uncomfortable and if that means writing it out on my public blog for all to see, then so be it. Oh my word I’m rather defensive today, I am so sorry… uh… back to the post!

Feelings

Always.

So. I’m going through a minor crisis of the identity sort (if you hadn’t gathered) right now. Have been for awhile, but it hadn’t really come to head until a couple weeks ago while I was writing an article for work.

My school prides itself on sending students off campus to get “real life” and “outworldly” experiences (which actually is pretty ironic–that’s like saying, “Our academic institution offers students top-notch experiences…By sending them as far away from campus as possible.” Rather, my university¬†connects its students with these opportunities. But anyway.), and the central focus of my story was on a fellow student participating in one of these “real life” experiences. My university is partnered with a non-profit organization and program that integrates students into city-living in the hustle and bustle of Chicago, as this a place known for its diverse¬†communities and need for assistance. The idea is a student aspiring to work with this sort of group lives in the same type of environment as said group. Thus, the student gains perspective, an improved insight into what their “clients” experience on the daily. As a sucker for both non-profits and the observation of daily lives (that aren’t like mine), I became pretty smitten with the idea of taking on an experience like this. What better way to learn to serve people than to live their life? In the non-creepy sort…

I’m going to backtrack for a moment (ah, digression): depending on how familiar you are with my blog, you may or may not know of my English/communication studies double major status and my aspiration to write. I want to be a writer–perhaps in journalism though not so sure about the traditional newspaper sort. And what I’ve been told about aspiring writers in college is to plow forward and study English or communication or journalism (something writing-based), but pair it with a subject about which you’re passionate, about which you’d like to write upon achieving your professional writer status. So, say, if you wanted to write and specialize and in money-related topics you could major in English and finance. Or something.

Coming into college, I learned about this study-writing-and-subject-of-interest rule early on. But I didn’t know what the subject of interest was for me. I have a lot of opinions on various things in life, but not enough passion to dedicate my writing career to a particular field. So instead I paired English with communication. Essentially¬†two¬†writing majors. So I guess I’m the most bestest all-knowing writer of all time! (You caught that, right?) And simply don’t have an area of focus.

Which brings me back to the city-living partnership with my university. Up until that point, I’ve noted my passion for helping others and likeness for non-profits, but didn’t know how to merge that with journalism-esque writing. This experience seemed like a good place to start and gave a name to the subject with which I’d like to pair my writing skills: sociology. I’d like to write about people and they way they work, they way they live. Actually, I’d love to do it… I think. So where’s the crisis?

Remember near the beginning of this post I talked about experiencing my crisis a few years too late. Yeah… timing is not my friend here. I’m a year away from graduating (and on time, I might add, so maybe timing can be a friend), and switching up my area of focus now would, essentially, “throw a wrench” in that plan. I’m not such a tightly-wound ISFJ that I’m opposed to altering my college/career plans (I have too many P’s in my life anymore to be such a big planner), but I am a year away from finishing a degree for which I’ve worked really hard. I mean that. Full semesters. Multiple internships. Volunteer/leadership/”outworldly” experiences (though not in Chicago). It would seem so… undermining to the work I’ve put in for the past few years. Like it didn’t really matter, that these experiences that I¬†have undergone (even if not Chicago–sorry, like I said: smitten with the idea), that have shaped the person I am today, both good and bad, don’t matter. And they¬†do. I am certainly not unhappy with where I am headed career-wise. I’m not displeased with my decisions. Yet I still wish I had uncovered my interests sooner. I know I have had plenty sociology-esque, groundbreaking experiences (though on a smaller scale) without active pursuance of a sociology degree, but I’m going to wonder what could have been had I traveled down that path.

Alright, so maybe I’m not really having a crisis. Maybe this writing process really did help me sort out my “lot of feelings.” I am, however, a little disgruntled now. I know, grand scheme of things, don’t linger on what ifs–I got it. Just let me have my feelings.

UPDATE: I Went on an Adventure!

And I’m back now. And clearly fairly okay if I’m writing this…

I wish I had some sort of surprise ending for you with how everything turned out, but with as many stories that exist, there are just as many endings, and of those, rather well-known endings, so the ability to actually surprise you with my follow-up is pretty non-existent. Unless you don’t possess the talent of easily predicting things much like myself, in which case, prepare to be surprised…or “surprised” (if you already know where this is going).

In my last post, I expressed my mass anxiety in anticipation of the aforementioned adventure (a retreat on diversity and leadership) as well as my lack of confidence in believing I was an ideal candidate for such an opportunity. I experienced these feelings while writing the post and the in the days that followed all leading up to the retreat. And then those feelings became¬†heightened at the beginning of the trip and began to feel fairly justified during the first few hours. I knew next to nobody. I didn’t feel like the right type of person for this sort of experience. I didn’t know what to expect. Ultimately, I felt way out of my element, and thus feared the next couple of days would be absolutely miserable for my mental health.

And then something changed…

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when my anxiety melted away, when my nervousness was replaced by near giddiness, but early sometime after our workshop began would be a fair assumption. During this time, focus shifted onto the central issues of the retreat–the primary reasons my fellow students and I were in attendance; our objective is to promote both a diverse and an all-welcoming and inclusive environment for students on campus. Priorities transitioned to others and ¬†their needs, and because of that, I wasn’t so worried about myself and sense of comfort or lack thereof. Everyone at this retreat was brought together by a common interest–one about which we are¬†all¬†passionate. From that, connections were formed and vast progress in planning for the future dynamic of our campus was made. *happy sigh*¬†It really was just a great time. ūüôā

The only complaints I have are the lack of recharge time for my introverted self (seriously, I was around people for 36 hours straight with no privacy–how I’m still pleasant and functioning I don’t know) and with that, lack of sleep. College students, when banded together, do not seem to like to sleep…

Overall, my adventure did not begin with excitement like that of Bilbo Baggins, but I can say it ended with utter happiness similar to Annie’s and Hallie’s when they found out they were twins. (I know the reference seems kind of random; I was aiming for an adventure/camp vibe here. It works, right?) Very much a success!

The_Parent_Trap

Aww! Does that just emanate connections and inclusiveness or what?

…But I shall still no-doubt be overcome with unreasonable amounts of dread and anxiety come my next big adventure! Oh, anxiety, whatever would I do without you?

I’m Going on an Adventure! …Oh, THERE You Are, Anxiety!

Although, by the time you read this, I will be near the end of this particular adventure… Ah, the beauty of scheduling posts… Okay, so.

I’m going an adventure.

 

 

 

And I’m dreading it.

 

 

 

Kind of.

Adventure

Not this kind of adventure. Though, with a little imagination…

If you recall my post on “Connotations of the FUTURE,” I tend to feel really excited about stuff (like this “adventure”)¬†in the beginning. But then as that event draws nearer, reality begins to set in and I realize: Oh no–a new (social) experience.

No me gustarlo.

What is this super exciting/dreadful adventure, you ask? Well, it’s not a new job or new class or anything as simple as I mentioned in the above post. It’s actually a legitimate new experience; something I’ve¬†never¬†done before: I’m going on a “retreat” for diversity and leadership (I say “retreat” because I always thought retreats were supposed to be outdoorsy and camp-y or something to that extent, but when I asked, I was informed I would “be spending very little time outside,” so…). Isn’t that pretty cool? Yeah, I thought so. And so did my friend who referred me to this workshop, which is why I felt compelled to apply in the first place. I mean, if someone else believes in me, why shouldn’t I?

So I was excited and applied and was accepted (obviously–otherwise I wouldn’t even be talking about this), and it was only then I came to the realizations:

  1. I’m not diverse
  2. I’m not a leader

How exactly am I supposed to do well at this “retreat” thing if I don’t meet the only two guidelines it seems to have? Now, I could unleash my English major arguments on you and say:¬†everyone’s diverse beneath the surface¬†or¬†there are all sorts of leaders, thus, anyone’s capable of taking on such a role, and okay, yeah that’s technically true. But what I’ve gathered from this particular experience and its criterion (without actually having had the experience), the more commonly known connotations of diversity and leadership are what we’re working with. (Oh. Ending on a preposition… Don’t you love my terrible grammar habits in this paragraph just after I noted my English major status? Perks of being an English major: 1. After berating everyone for not following grammatical rules properly, you inadvertently break ¬†them in your everyday speech/writing ūüôā ) So anyways, this is going to be¬†quite the experience. And when I say quite, I’m using the British connotation.

British_Quite (2)

Don’t you feel so educated now?

I know, I know. In the grand scheme of things this will likely all be fine and there will have been nothing to worry about (er, nothing about which to worry). That’s the story of my life. But knowing this is typically how things happen–that things usually work out in teh end, relatively speaking–does not¬†ease ease my anxiety. And if you think this should, you clearly don’t know how anxiety works, no offense (though sometimes I don’t even know how anxiety works…). So even though I’m pretty much destined to have a relatively decent time or to¬†at least learn a lot about others and myself, I still have waste an unnecessary amount of energy worrying until I actually begin this adventure. Lucky for you guys (or maybe not…?), I’ll be sure to write a short update once I return, so you’ll only have to endure this dreary, Debbie-downer post a short while. ūüôā

Alrighty, let’s do this.

How Do You Convince Others to Comply When You’re Not an Aggressive Person?

I don’t usually ask for much (I think), but when I do, it’s because I¬†really need help. I’m actually a rather independent person; I prefer my own help unless I ask for that of others. Ironically enough, I have no problem swooping in and helping other people whether they ask for my assistance or not. I know, I make so much sense… My point is I don’t usually ask much of others. However, in the worlds of writing and journalism, you actually need quite a bit from people, despite the view writing is an independent process.

In one of my current work positions, I write feature stories on various individuals involved with my university. Subsequently, to learn more about whatever it is person¬†X¬†has been doing, I need to ask them questions, usually allotting an interview of some kind–preferably in person, though not required. That’s not too much to ask, right? Just some spare time and extensive thought to go into putting together eloquent answers to simple questions… Totally reasonable. Or apparently very¬†unreasonable, as more often than not, I’m constantly pestering person¬†X¬†(or as we call in journalism,¬†nudging), reminding them of my request so I can move forward with my assignment. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Regardless, this has happened enough times that I’ve begun to wonder,¬†Am I not aggressive¬†in my demands? Am I even aggressive¬†at all?

Most who know me personally would likely say no to the latter; I’m not aggressive. If anything I’m passive aggressive. I filter my anger so it’s communicated nicely–enough that I probably don’t seem angry at all–or I simply don’t express aggression and keep it secured within. (Fun fact: In the aforementioned writing position, when I’m working with someone who does not respond to my initial interview request, I sign my follow-up emails to them with,¬†Thank you for your cooperation. It’s how I get my point across while still sounding professional. I’m actually being rather sarcastic with the line, but since it’s text, it can be left up to interpretation. I know, I’m so deviant. Anyway.) All in all, I admit I am definitely a more compliant individual. I don’t like conflict so typically I go with the flow (to a certain extent), do what others ask of me, and attempt to be kind to others. None of that really screams AGGRESSION. But just because I’m not assertive in the behavior I exhibit toward others doesn’t mean I am not worthy of compliance, right?

The kind should receive cooperation–at least some of the time. The problem is (I suspect) they simply appear “too nice” and, with this sort, others know the nice won’t ever appear assertive in their demands so they presume they can get away with not meeting the demand. Unless doing so benefits them in some way. Although with my writing position that doesn’t really made sense; if others were to comply with my requests, they would get a story written about them out of doing so–who doesn’t want that? Apparently a lot of people… I don’t particularly like this theory in that it portrays people in a selfish light, but as many scholars argue and life experiences prove, it is not an entirely inconceivable possibility.

Inconceivable

Always use any excuse to include a “The Princess Bride” reference

Yikes, insulting people to encourage compliance. I’m¬†definitely¬†going to get more cooperation now, right? That’s probably the most assertive I can be in writing. In any regard I’ll probably continue to use the following approach:

  1. State my request while highlighting the benefits the requestee would receive upon doing as I ask (in other words, what I’ve been doing all along)
  2. Hope for the best

What is YOUR advice encouraging cooperation (preferably without being rude or manipulative)?

Sorry for the obscene number of rhetorical questions and parenthetical asides in this post. My English professor would be so disappointed…

Connotations of…THE FUTURE

DUN DUN DUUUUUNN!!! *Insert spacey-sounding music here*

I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately. I don’t really know why. Seems more appropriate for when I’m closer to graduating college or taking some major life step (which I’m not right now–still got a year left, at least). Maybe it’s because there have been a lot of birthdays in my family recently and everyone is becoming older and one year closer to life’s end and when that happens I’ll be older and in a different place in life and–isn’t the way my mind works just grand? That’s rhetorical. Anyway, future.

When other people around my age hear the term future, that spacey music I mentioned plays, or they envision something to the extent of this meme:

Crush_Future

What do you plan to do with your FUTURE?

The future is viewed as this terrifying, unknown time in life–because it’s unknown, uncertain. But, if you ask me (which you didn’t), I say it doesn’t have to be. Now, if you’re following along, something may not sit right here; I have social anxiety–often caused by uncertainty–so I be equally if not more terrified of that “swirling vortex of terror” that is the future, right? Not exactly. Well, kind of.

Don’t get me wrong, uncertain future can seem scary, but what I consider scary regarding the future, likely differs from that of the majority.¬†The future situations that exacerbate my social anxiety are, for one,¬†social, and more of the near-future variety. Say I’ve signed up for a new set of classes for the following semester at school or have just accepted a new job position, I’m¬†likely really stoked about those experiences! I’m going to be learning new things, solidifying my career path, etc.–how is that¬†not¬†exciting? Here, it’s important to keep in mind these situations involve actions that do not have immediate repercussions. Choosing classes for a following term occurs months before those classes actually begin at my school.¬†Thus, excitement ensues. Until time brings me closer and closer to those new situations and then–

 

WHAM!

 

What do you know? My new classes/job/other new experience begins tomorrow (or very, very, VERY soon)! This is where the spacey music and Crush meme come into play for me. This is when I begin to experience what the others in my age group have been feeling all along.

My peers are terrified of being thrown into the “real world” after graduation, not knowing which career they’ll fall into, where they’ll be living, how to pay taxes, etc. WAY before it actually happens. I mean, yeah that’s pretty terrifying… I guess… But that seems so way in the distant future to my socially anxious self that these sorts of things aren’t worth worrying¬†about yet, as I spend so much of my time worrying about the more immediate situations–especially if they’re social.

What may seem like an extensive digression¬†was¬†actually an extensive digression, but I did have some advice embedded in there. With my example about choosing classes or beginning a job, I was very excited about both opportunities; I saw the positives in those opportunities. Sure I may not 100% know what I want to do (does anyone? like really, completely know?) and it very well may not be whatever this job entails, but through this experience, I’ll be able to narrow down my interests and figure out what I¬†do want to do with my life. Or taxes. I still don’t know how to do them (at least not by myself) and probably won’t for another couple years, but eventually I will grasp the general concept–enough that I¬†will be able to do this adult-y thing independently. For the most part. And that’s pretty cool, right?

I think the biggest hurdles people face when thinking about the future are its uncertainty and, with that, the potential to fail. Yes, the future is uncertain and yes, that can be terrifying. Uncertainty is the worst. But just because something is uncertain, doesn’t mean failure is the only possible outcome. Unless you’re into the whole self-fulfilling prophecy theory… It¬†all comes down to mindset. If you choose to view the future as a “swirling vortex of terror,” you’re going to be overwhelmed with worry. That’s no fun–trust me. But you can choose to look at the future with eager eyes, envisioning all the happy possibilities in your wake. Or maybe, you can compromise, pulling from both mindsets. That’s likely the most realistic (though not as uplifting),so I’ll leave you with this:

Quinn_Crush_Meme

What do you plan to do with your FUTURE (again)?

I made a meme! I know, so exciting! Break has given me too much spare time…