Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Role Play

A case study was done in the basement of the psychology department at Stanford University where 24 mentally stable participants pretend to be prisoners or guards in a mock prison setting.  The simulation was meant to last two weeks but was ended after 8 days due to concerns about the prisoners' psychological health who lost touch with reality.

This might be an extreme example, but if there is anything we are good at, it is playing roles.  Even when we know that the role is completely false, it is only a matter of time before it becomes our identity.

Your role in life is shaped by the people you grew up with, the stories you were read as a child, the dreams that inspire you, your peers who surround you, the mentors that guide you, those that try to derail you, the culture that shapes us, and hopefully, the God that created you.

I've spent a great deal of time and energy trying to fight this reality.  In my mind, there must be some way to rise above this scenario where everyone typecasts me into a character and expects a performance that follows their script.  I hope you have the complete awareness of self and external influences with the strength to view life from the clouds with your feet on the ground.  I certainly don't.

If I could be anywhere else or do anything else with my life than attend college in Western PA and run this race, I don't think I would.  I believe that we experience life in the way we perceive it be.  Our location and surroundings are secondary to internal perspective.  I can live life fully here, in Michigan, or across the ocean.

Even though life can easily become a game of make-believe, I am willing to live within that structure.  I could waste my time trying to be completely independent from my situations and circumstances.  I'd rather be aware of what is shaping the roles that I chase and make sure those sources line up with who God instructs me to be.

I'd rather know who I am becoming than fight an impossible battle.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Time to Begin, Isn't It?

No climax is reached in an instant.  This choice to start living again wasn't an arbitrary decision, although it felt like it at the time.

It was being questioned about my faith and the novel concept of reading a book for edification and the Friendly Freshman and a homework assignment about vocation, and walking in physical and verbal circles with a friend, and remembering that I do actually love people and want to spend time with them as a result.

It was the devotions at SGA and calling sin what it is and a new insight into the relating of our time here and finally getting tired of hiding in my sleep.

It was a decision to grow and a few too many times of getting taken away by a mysterious train and finally getting the control of the plane off of auto-pilot.  It was a screeching door alarm and exams getting moved and inconsistencies and someone always waking me up and realizing that none of that mattered at all. It was the decision to be happy when I truly was and the relief of not having to pretend to be happy to cover up the stress I wasn't experiencing.

It was the realization that not only can I change, that I should be changing and mere survival has never been my preferred mode of life. It was recognizing that I have failed the people that I love the most but they are still here with me regardless.  That I have so many improvements to make to be the person I could and should be by God's directive and standards.

It was running until I thought I was going to die and listening to the same three songs over and over again and finding a healthy apathy about the things that don't matter and an equally nutritional passion for the things that actually do.

It was changing the overwhelming need to be anywhere else to the desire to be here.  It was a failure of cognitive dissonance and no longer having the patience to wait for my thoughts to catch up with my behavior.
It is mind over matter and living again.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cheap Medicine

My professor today advised us to put our ideas up against the "laugh test".  If you tell someone your brain child and they make a mockery of it, than it probably isn't such a good idea.  I just looked at my friend and choked back a laugh of my own.

Laughter is a very common response nowadays  to our ideas.  I  definitely believe that some ideas should be released before they drag you down in impossible pursuits.  Yet if my friend and I had stopped when people laughed at us, we would have missed out on a lot of wonderful experiences.  Perhaps we would have a bit more sanity than we do now, but we would be having a lot less fun and a lot less laughter.  I usually laugh along with those who doubt us,  but I refuse to let laughter get in my way.  Giving someone a good time at my expense is fine, but letting them deprive me of being absurd is not.

I think a lot can be solved through laughter.  When you have a reached a point where you can laugh at yourself, you are never more than one act of mindless goofery away from a good time.  When you can zoom out enough that the overwhelming pixels merge together and become a coherent picture, you can laugh at the lack of perspective you once had and enjoy the birds' eye view.  Of course, there are issues that must be dealt with and can't be laughed away.

Still, I have determined to never let the laughter stop me, and instead never stop laughing at this marvelously quirky world we live in.