28 October, 2008

The Brain Game ... or I go off the deep end in a matter of paragraphs

This weekend I went home for no reason at all except that I wanted to. As a bonus incentive, Cori was there and I don't get to see her (or Donovan) nearly as often as I would like. It was a good weekend. I even enjoyed the 13-hour drive, truth be told. It was nice to listen to music/NPR (my secret shame) and focus on one thing for so long. It was like meditating while operating heavy machinery, which I am sure all experts recommend. For the past five days I haven't thought about school, my plans for the future, the state of my personal finances or all the ways in which I fall short of my own expectations for myself. All I thought about during the drive was:

1. Is Sego OK? The answer was always yes. I am blessed to have such a chill dog. He travels beautifully.
2. Where did this song on my iPod come from? I like it/it sucks. I want to put it on a CD/delete it.
3. Do I have enough gasoline? The answer was also yes more often than not.
4. Am I hungry enough to actually stop and buy a meal? The answer was no every time except one.
5. How many miles to Boise/Ontario/Seattle/Provo/Babylon?

I should mention that as a result of my let's-not-think-about-anything weekend, I completely forgot about a midterm I was supposed to take today. Whoops.

Unimportant. What is really important is how wonderful my family is (Cori is included therein) and how happy it made me to be with them for a few days. My parents are getting along so well these days that sometimes I forget they're divorced. Don't ask me if that's good, bad, or weird, because I still haven't figured that out. My point is it was a weekend sans conflict, which is my favorite kind. David and Carlos are crazy old, and awesome. Donovan is freaking adorable. My grandma and I had several tea party jam sessions during which we talked about politics and reviewed family gossip. The members of my former ward not only remember me, but are glad to see me when I visit. We went out to dinner at a Mexican place near Southcenter and the waiter put a sombrero on my head and sang to me in Spanish. Good times, I tell you.

There are a lot of raw concepts and orphan sentences swimming around in my head, and I can't make sense or cohesive paragraphs out of any of them. Themes include ways in which Cori has changed since getting married and having a baby, and ways in which she hasn't changed at all; Scott's leaving for Kuwait and what lies in store for him there; my Aunt Debi and our conversation over tea about self-esteem and balancing career with family; David's college applications; my absentee ballot; sugary cereal and cartoons with Carlos; ordering the only vegetarian dish at a diner even though I knew it would be vile ....

Now I'm home and I should be studying, doing laundry, and drafting an email to my professor begging for mercy re: the midterm I missed today. But part of me just wants to stay in that limbo between home and here, doing the things I want to do with the people I love (who spread themselves across many continents, unfortunately) and conveniently disappearing from things I don't want a part in. Which I know is impossible.

A friend of mine wrote a note to her husband on facebook that made me think. It started with, "I know I could never beat you at the brain game..." One of those phrases that gets stuck in my head, like a bar from a song. The phrase, independent of its original context, got my mind heading in a strange direction. Two girls from my ward got married recently. Arranged marriages both. No, like, literally. To guys from India. An old friend of mine is getting married and has changed his glasses and the way he dresses, even his goals for the future, to appease his fiancee and future in-laws.

I've been thinking about that all weekend. When is it good to change for someone else? Is it ever? What does it mean to be self-actualized, and when does that concept drift into selfishness or eccentricity?

I picture the version of myself that is truest to who I really am, and I'll be honest, she's pretty odd. Then again, even the version of who I am right now is passionately against selling out in any form. If I do decide to stay this way, and be the kind of person who takes off for a weekend without telling anyone, like a cat, will that bode ill consequences for my future? Will no one want to hire or marry me? Should I care?

Now I'm just stalling. I'm going to bed.


Ashley said...

First, I'm glad you had a fun weekend home and got to see Cori to boot! Yeay!

I'm also glad your parents were getting along. Mine divorced before I was old enough to remember yet they took us out (together, the four of us) to dinner on the anniversary of their wedding several times during our childhood. I swear, grown-ups (which we will never actually be) make up their own rules. Just...go with it and enjoy.

The Brain Game is "Who's Got the Biggest Brain", and Grant got fairly addicted to it last spring.

I really, really, really, really hope your professor lets you retake that midterm you missed.

Elisa said...

Addendum: I explained my predicament to my prof, he let me take the test, and I got an A. Shew!

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