Three wonderful years
A while back, I got a paddle board and for my first trip with it I went out into the ocean. When I got out, it was beautiful. Calm serenity, looking out into the horizon and floating out, just touching the unknown. When I tried to get back to shore though, it was the first time in a very long time I felt fear. I should say, a specific type of fear; emotional fear I’ve felt. This fear was a twilight of primal/survival fear. I was out in the middle of an open ocean, not in prime physical shape, never had been out in the water with my board, trying to fight currents and waves to get back in. I was realizing I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was and for the first time in a very long time, I wasn’t sure if I was capable of saving myself. I was never in true danger as there were plenty of surfers around me. Pride wouldn’t let me ask for help though, so I pushed and paddled through as though no one was around. It took me a long time to get back on shore and I was a bit away from where my friend was waiting for me. I was completely drained and the following day my entire back was in pain from pulling all of those muscles that I had never used before.
It was exhilarating.
I was afraid, but I was pushed (in a small way of course) out of my comfort zone. We get complacent sometimes, but I think in those places of the unknown when you get to test your own boundaries you learn so much. That’s what I want from life. I want to learn, grow, bring some joy to others, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to contribute in a positive way to the world.
It’s been an odd time in my life. I have been trying to get into graduate school for two years now. During that time I have had a job that-though not ideal (which job is?)-it provided some security for me during this interim. I’ve had amazing coworkers, it provided a supportive environment for the pursuit of personal goals, and for some time I even learned a bit about business and the people within it, so I waited for things to come together; I kept staying. But life doesn’t work in the way we plan, so even though I wasn’t being used to my full capacity it was easy for me to become complacent with where I was.
But I wasn’t happy. Perhaps it’s an irrational part of me, as how often do you really get a job that’s as relaxed as mine was and has coworkers who are as smart, funny, supportive, and talented as they are? But somewhere in me I want to feel that fear; I want to be pushed ahead of my limits. I want to use and extend my potential.
And so, perhaps against good judgement, I decided to leave my good job at the end of this month. Perhaps I’ll wind up in a worse situation, but hopefully that will propel me even further. I’m not truly sure what’s in store for me; I’ve nothing waiting for me. But I’m done waiting for nothing.
And so, here I go to make some more mistakes.
I enjoy being alone. I love the virtues of being able to enjoy this remarkable existence as an individual.
Loneliness on the other hand is a deep and painful vortex that smothers the life out of an otherwise happy person.
I’m not scared to die alone, I’m scared I’ll live my life lonely.
I like being alone with my thoughts. I don’t like being with my own thoughts for very long.
I enjoy going to the movies alone. I don’t enjoy always going to the movies alone.
I enjoy relishing in a new restaurant alone. I don’t enjoy always eating alone.
I love that I now love, I don’t love that I love those who don’t love me back.
I enjoy traveling on my own. I don’t enjoy always experiencing a new place on my own.
I enjoy coming to a quiet home and being able to listen to silence. I don’t enjoy an empty house.
I enjoy curling up in bed. I don’t enjoy the pain I feel when I wake up and realize no one is there, no one ever has been there, and no one will probably be there.
I enjoy the night when the rest of the world seems to be asleep and I’m up to good trouble. I don’t enjoy waking up at 3am and feeling the crushing anxious realization that no one is here.
I enjoy waking up from a dream and being able to stretch out and enjoy the memory of it. I don’t enjoy waking up from a nightmare and having no one around to tell me it’ll be alright.
I enjoy looking at the night sky and wondering about how incredibly complex life is and how remarkably little I understand about the universe- feeling as though my place here right now is remarkable. I don’t enjoy feeling as though I don’t ever really belong anywhere or with anyone. Given the former, the latter feels all the more painful.
I love celebrating this remarkably unlikely life on my own. I don’t enjoy that I don’t have someone to celebrate life with me; sometimes it does seem like a chore.
I enjoy sharing my life through the internet, I don’t enjoy waiting to see if anyone else (if I’m being honest, waiting to see if particular someones) likes it.
I love being alone. I hate being lonely.
Life is really good, except in moments like this when it’s not.
i promise I’m fine, I just want to be honest about living life.
Every few months, I either see or am sent an article about the relationship between women and philosophy. I’m always happy to discuss almost anything- but I’m a little perplexed as to the mystery behind the question; “why aren’t women in philosophy?”.
I should say, I’m not an expert on femaleness. I barely understand my Natasha-ness. But here’s my two cents (I was waiting for a flight so excuse my irritability. Wrote this as a Facebook post but wanted to journal this thought):
It’s a little like a B rated fast food joint-with good food-wondering why it can’t get more female and minority customers…when the online reviews are bad, when the lines are stupidly long, when you’ve been told there’s a good chance you’ll be harassed both in line and if you meet the employees, when you meet good employees but they consistently tell you the wait isn’t worth it unless you really want it, when the cost is expensive, and when you (as a woman or monitory) are told when you get to the front the employees will probably ignore you (intentionally or not) and pick the male customers behind you. On top of that-just for good measure-when you do get your order there’s a good chance you’ll get food poisoning.
Given that there are other options, most rational people would chose another option…since there are better options. There are a few of us who just really, really like the food. And then there are the women and minorities who really, really, really like the food. And then a lucky few of us who know good people within the field who help us get through the shitty lines.
When your prospects for a decent job after six long years of intensive graduate studies is at best precarious unless you go to a top program, when quite a few talented students from middle class and lower income backgrounds are burdened with crippling student loan debt from undergraduate studies and can’t postpone payments for years (and then MAYBE have a job that can pay that plus living costs), when increasingly the masters route is given as the go to (when a masters in philosophy doesn’t have a lot of value above the undergraduate degree in and of itself AND you have to pay for it), when the mantra seems to be “don’t do it”, when the institution seems to trip over its feet when it’s presented with problems-mostly imo because quite a few of the people within academia have the life skills of a pre-teen (and a lot of the time act like it), and then after dealing with all of that you’re told your work won’t be respected or valued and there’s a good chance you’ll be harassed, just because you’re a minority and/or a woman-what intelligent person, especially from a middle to lower class background, would be rational to chose philosophy when almost anything else would on paper be a better risk for investment in terms time, intellect, economic prosperity, and frankly personal safety.
Philosophy is a privilege at its best, and at its worst like a bad retirement home.
But no, you’re right. I have no clue why philosophy can’t get more quality people. The mystery persists.
On the painting: I’m learning to watercolor. The painting included is a painting I worked on during a trip. Amateur, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.