Day Seventy-Six (Treasure Planet)

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I love this movie. I’m a gigantic Disney nerd and I have watched every single Animated Disney film. Two years ago I went through each and every one. And yet, this movie is still one of my all-time favorites. It holds up well as an adult, too. Maybe it’s the story itself I love. Maybe it’s Disney’s specific take on it. But I also recently watched Muppet Treasure Island and loved that as well, so I think it’s a mixture of both.

This movie is brilliant, though. The animation is top-notch. The soundtrack is gorgeous. The cast is stellar. The main focus is on a surrogate father-son relationship, rather than a romance. The main villain is a complex anti-villain. The secondary villain is the stuff of nightmares. A good guy actually dies early on. The whole movie is very different than what one would usually expect from Disney. I didn’t even know it was Disney until I was much older.

Personally, I grew up on this film. Jim is the dream Disney guy and he’s shipped with every young Disney female imaginable. I freaking love Silver. Whether in this movie, or the Tim Curry version in The Muppets. Good god, that laugh though. Totally ruins the mood. Either way, the guy mixes father figure, Disney Villain, and pirate. It’s like he was made for me. The settings are also great in this film. It’s so original. And the steampunk tone! This movie is far too underrated. I’ve seen it more times than I can count and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

 

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Day Seventy-Five (Dermatillomania)

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I am not going to go in-depth about this disorder, because I am honestly not the person to discuss it. I just discovered that it was a real thing today. I always just thought I was a little neurotic and a lot crazy. But it seems as though this need to pick at one’s skin is actually a thing that other people deal with too. Although in other cases it can include the face, legs, arms, and almost any body part. For me, it just includes my fingers and toes. According to the research into this disorder, the cause is mostly anxiety. It’s a nervous habit. Considering that I’m a gigantic ball of anxiety, this could easily be the case with me as well.

Dermatillomania is not something I talk or think about this much, because the habit has honestly just become second nature to me. I pick at my fingers. Sometimes they bleed. I put pressure on them or suck on them till they stop bleeding. Rinse. Repeat. It’s just an ordinary part of my life, like eating or breathing. My hands need to be moving at all times and this is something they like to do. Why? Hell if I know. I’m anxious about almost everything, so that could easily be the reason. Could be ADD. Could be OCD. Could be depression. Who really knows? I really don’t think about it much anymore. Who is it really harming?

Well, evidently the answer is me. At my job, we all need to clock in using a fingerprint. At first, this was only a mild issue for me. But, over the past few weeks, it’s gotten harder and harder for my fingerprint to scan. Now it never scans. Much to both my own and my managers chagrin. I have no idea why this is. But a part of me suspects the finger picking might have a part to play in this struggle. I’ve been picking at them since I was in 1st grade. To be honest, my fingers are probably fucked up beyond repair by this point. And now it’s causing me legitimate issues, other than the bleeding occasionally thing.

The idea of openly admitting this to anyone scares the crap out of me. I know, personally, that it is just a nervous tic that I’ve had my entire life. But trying to explain it to someone else? “Oh yeah, I just pick at my skin till it bleeds when I’m anxious. Which is to say all the time. It’s no big deal. But, uh, probably not a thing a lot of people do. Also, no, I do not need extensive therapy and no this is not self-harm. Thank you for your understanding”. I recognize that this is a weird gross habit. I really don’t fancy the world finding out about it. Even writing it in this blog entry feels like a confession, almost. This isn’t to say that I plan on stopping any time soon. I’ve kinda given up hope on that. But it means a lot just to be able to admit that it’s a real issue and that it’s not something to be ashamed of. But mostly I just want to fix this fingerprint problem without convincing my entire workplace that I’m a ticking time bomb.

Day Seventy-Four (Brainstorming)

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Today was supposed to be spent catching up on television shows and working my way through books. But everything got sidetracked when I spent my entire morning catching up on an old story I wrote in late High School. It’s honestly a very good story and I only stopped working on it due to a bad case of writer’s block. But rereading it made me want to continue the story, despite the struggle. I spent all of work today trying to think up how to work myself out of this plotline rut. Seriously. It’s a good thing I was doing mindless filing work, because I couldn’t even focus on my music. My brain was too busy running through ideas.

When I got home, my brother was visiting for the night and was currently talking to my parents. We caught up a bit and then I mentioned my story and how I was rereading it and some of the dialogue I could remember being tweaked by him. Well, in some cases tweaked. In other cases it was totally his dialogue. I knew reading it that it wasn’t anything I could have come up with at all. So I mentioned this to him and he got excited talking about the story. The rest of the night we spent discussing what I could do for the next part of the story. He loves screen-writing and I love writing fantasy novels. It felt amazing to be discussing writing again and the outline we came up with is really cool. I still have so much research to do, but I feel really excited about it. It’s been a long while since I’ve felt this way about anything.

Sometimes, as much as I am loath to admit it, the best way out of a rut is to brainstorm the situation with somebody else. Like in my current reality, my writing felt stuck. Directionless. Running into dead ends in every direction. I’ve never been great at thinking my way practically or logically through a situation. It is a goddamn fatal flaw, it’s so damaging to every aspect of my life. But by talking it out with another person, I was able to come up with a plan for the next few chapters of my story. Earlier today, I spent a couple of hours chatting with an old friend about life and I felt like myself again for the first time in awhile. Just talking things out made everything feel clearer. Just saying my deepest thoughts aloud really helped. I also debated about a television show I enjoy with a good friend and it was really interesting to get a different view on the characters and plots I know and love. Not everyone sees things the way I do.

Fact of the matter is, life is not meant to be something we go through alone. You can brainstorm all you like on your own, but sometimes it helps to get a new fresh perspective. To talk things through. To throw around different ideas. Sometimes your idea is good but incomplete, sometimes it’s utterly impossible. And sometimes it helps to hear someone else’s view of the situation. Someone close to you who you trust and who sees things in a similar, yet different, way. Today I discovered a lot about myself and got a lot farther into my story just through brainstorming with others. Maybe there’s something to collaboration and teamwork after all.

Day Seventy-Three (Wee Sing)

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I am a big fan of nostalgia and reliving childhood memories. For that reason alone, today I will talk about “Wee Sing”. It’s funny. Whenever I try to find videos of any of the Wee Sing films I did not grow up with, they are absolutely terrifying. They’re super creepy and unnerving. But when I watch the ones that I had to sit through in Elementary School Music Class, I’m too busy feeling nostalgic to let myself get freaked out. Grandpa’s Toys and Sillyville were my childhood, man.

I have to admit that these short stories are all a little weird though. Sillyville is about a coloring book coming to life. Every color has a different style and all of the colors are prejudiced against the other colors. They all keep to themselves and refuse to compromise and work with the others. Except for purple, who genuinely likes everyone. The two kids who get sucked into this adventure join with Sillywhim, their silly and fun guide through this world, to try and bring all of the colors together again. And enjoy some fun songs while they’re at it. The message isn’t exactly subtle. When all the colors eventually join together they bring the color back to Sillywhim’s outfit and it makes this colorful rainbow. Huh. Wonder what that could mean…

Grandpa’s Toys is my favorite story though. In this story, the main kids get shrunk down to the size of their old grandfather’s toys. They then hang out with the toys and sing a bunch of songs, while looking for the key that will open their grandfather’s toy box. Ponchinello will always hold a special place in my heart. As will all those songs. The message here is to stay “young at heart” and to always believe. Sure, I’m always down for that message. Just talking about this now makes me want to rewatch it again…I haven’t watched it since Elementary School, or Middle School at least.

My Freshman Year I attempted to show these videos to my roommate, who claimed to have never seen them growing up. She was not impressed. Her loss. Maybe it’s just something you need to grow up with to fully appreciate. I know I watched Sillyville in High School with my family and we all noticed that it wasn’t quite as polished as we’d remembered. But these videos really mean a lot to me, mostly due to nostalgia and the childhood innocence of it all. Don’t knock it till ya try it.

Day Seventy-Two (Busy)

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It’s funny that only a few days after writing an entry titled “Boredom”, I am now writing an entry titled “Busy”. You’d think that, my life being fairly uneventful and listless currently, I wouldn’t have much to say on the concept of business. Even so, my life currently feels like a delicate balancing act. Currently, I’m trying to balance my sanity, social life, two jobs, and a volunteering experience. All of a sudden my one job has shuffled me into the “experienced workers” group and is giving me more hours. I still have a responsibility to the volunteering experience both for moral and practical reasons. It looks great on my resume and I made a commitment. Integrity is one of my core values. Even so, I pretty much only make it up there once a week. I really should be going to the other job more as well, but that has also been demoted to once a week. My social life is practically nonexistent, but I try and make an effort to get out and see people maybe once a week. I’m also forcing myself to keep up on my book and my tv show, for my mental well-being. It may not seem like a lot, but sometimes it certainly feels a bit overwhelming.

When I was in college, “busy” was a regular word in my lexicon. Oh my god was I busy all the time. I had two jobs, an internship, five classes, and two clubs to balance. I was constantly trying to slice up my hours into a nice and easy schedule that balanced all of my different responsibilities. It didn’t help that I’d then waste a couple hours either reading, watching TV, or writing irrelevant lists. Or just wasting time on Tumblr. How I made it through four years of college is a miracle. The fact that I’m considering pursuing a Doctorate scares the everliving crap out of me. How will I find time to read all the books I want to read? Write all the stories? See my friends? Stay involved in theater? How can I do it all?

Despite the overwhelming stress and the constant fear that everything will eventually lose balance and come crashing down…being busy has it’s perks. Being busy keeps the other, not so good, thoughts from suffocating me. Being busy keeps me away from my own mind for a little bit. I get some experience, some money, some fresh air, and some socialization. It’s not all bad. It’s distracting, honestly. It’s like a video game. I’m just gaining experience points so I can eventually level up. I’ve taken on a little more than I can chew at the current moment, but it’s not like I can back out of any of my responsibilities. I’ve just got to keep juggling the responsibilities and making sure that every single responsibility gets my time and effort. Even if it’s a little stretched thin. I’ve done it before and I can do it again if I have to. Not like I have much of a choice.

Life is hard. Life is busy. Life is a lot. But it’s better to be a lot than to be nothing at all. Better to constantly be on the move than standing still. As long as you’re moving, you’re going somewhere. So what if I’m a little overwhelmed? I’m usually a little overwhelmed. Better than the boredom, yeah? So I’ll keep plodding along for now. It’s like the beginning of any novel or series. It starts out with the boring filler episodes, before things suddenly speed up and get exciting. But you’ll never get to the good parts if you don’t suffer through the slow ones first. “Just keep swimming” and all that 🙂

Day Seventy-One (Hidden Depths)

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Yet again, today I am going to talk about work. But it’s also something so much larger than that. Hidden depths. The vast majority of a person, a place, a world…it’s not right in front of your face. It’s hidden beneath the surface. I oftentimes lament that people “don’t understand me”, due to the fact that I keep my feelings well hidden and rarely speak my true beliefs aloud. But how often do I pay attention to other people’s hidden depths? How much do I honestly take a deeper look? Not often enough.

At work, there are three people I cannot stand. One person has gotten meaner with each progressive shift I’ve worked and I’ve gone from genuinely liking her to mild annoyance to flat-out dislike. The second person is loathed by the majority of the employees for his incompetence, reliance on scare tactics, and condescending personality. The third person is liked by most everyone and is usually pretty nice. But our personalities are widely different and so we are really terrible at communicating with each other. He stares at me like I have ten heads and I death glare him. So it goes.

When this guy is around I act stupider than normal and his response is usually a mixture of confusion and annoyance. Like “oh my god how are you real”. Which then gets my hackles raised, so I get grumpy and distant. Which then makes him back off and get even more confused. Which then makes me more annoyed. The cycle continues. Believe me, when it’s early in the morning and I’m making dumb mistakes and getting frustrated with myself, the last thing I want is to have someone nitpicking my every move.

By some stroke of misfortune, we worked together the past two shifts. And it actually…wasn’t bad? When one of my coworkers was getting picked on, he jumped in to make him feel better. He had my back whenever things got difficult and overwhelming. We even joked around with each other at one point. I’m still wary, but I’m starting to think that maybe I should reevaluate my initial misgivings. Could just be the insecurity talking. I think there’s more to it than what I thought.

Hidden depths are everywhere. How can I truly judge anyone without knowing how things look from their perspective? Without walking in their shoes? Without living their lives? If I want people to understand that there is more to me than what they see, I have to grant them the same courtesy. Although I will say. People are like pie. The third level is usually the same as the first. It’s usually “surface level observations” followed by “oooh, they’re actually very complex” followed by “well, in their deepest sense, they’re pretty much exactly what I thought”. But you never know. People will surprise you.

A thought that I’ve always found interesting is. Look at your life. All the things you’ve done. The places you’ve been. The people you’ve known. When you try to think about all of them, it’s a little overwhelming. There’s so much to sort through. Now look at the people around you. Each and every one of them has experienced a bunch of crazy shit too. Learned life lessons. Grown as a person. Seen things you couldn’t imagine. It’s insane, yeah? So how can you really know anything about a person? You talk to me and there are certain personality traits you can pick up. But what about all the hobbies, the interests, the classes, the friends, the crushes, the accomplishments, the failures? You don’t know any of that. And I don’t know that about you. There’s so fucking much beneath the surface.

Day Seventy (Honesty)

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I try to be a good person. I don’t always succeed, but I do my best to wake up every morning and do what is right. Otherwise the guilt will eat me alive. One of my core values is honesty. After reading Just Listen by Sarah Dessen in 8th Grade, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer lie. No white lies. No big lies. No harmless lies. Of course, I haven’t always kept that promise. I don’t think that would even be possible. But I’ve done my very best and now honesty has become a core part of my personality. Sometimes I hedge around the truth, but I very very rarely flat-out lie. When I do, I’m horribly unconvincing anyway.

Sometimes being a genuinely honest person all the time is a curse. I don’t know when to turn it off and I oftentimes unintentionally offend close friends and family members. I have to awkwardly skirt around some questions so as not to create conflict. And so much of this world deals in bullshit. Most people lie all the time. There is no way to get ahead without at least a little bullshitting. This brings me to today’s conflict. Job interviews.

Job Interviews require honesty. It’s probably not a great idea to lie on your resume or to make stuff up at your interview. It’ll only fuck you over in the end. Even so, interviews are just a game of saying the right things in the right way. Of having the right body language. It’s all a game of talking yourself up and tooting your own horn. Which, of course, I’m terrible at. I can’t pretend. I mean, unless it’s literally for a play. I’ve spent too many years training myself to be honest at all times to turn it off. I value honesty.

Even so, I will admit that I have a bad habit of lying by omission. I can have a burning rage flowing through me and I won’t say a word. I can be furious with someone and I’ll just swallow down the anger. I can be on the verge of tears and say that I’m “just fine”. I can have intense feelings for somebody and I would never even dream of breathing a word about it aloud. So while I technically am not a liar, I’m the world’s biggest sham. I just hide beneath my silence.

I think honesty is vital to communication. How are we supposed to understand one another if we’re putting up fake fronts? How are we supposed to forge genuine connections? So many problems could just be solved if we all just manned up and were honest and open with each other. But the world is built on lies. Maybe my life would be better if I had the ability to bullshit and fake it. But “fake” just isn’t in my skill sets. Honesty is crucial to me.

Day Sixty-Nine (Leadership)

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I have never seen myself as a leader. I’m a Hufflepuff, the sidekick, a viola. I don’t play the lead roles, I don’t save the day, and I don’t steal the spotlight. I don’t want to be in charge of anyone. I’m far more content staying in the background and following somebody else’s lead. Could I maybe do better than them? Depending on the person and the situation, it’s possible. But to put myself in that position of power is not my desire or goal at all. The idea honestly scares the crap out of me. Why would I want to be in charge of anyone?

When I think of a “leader”, my mind immediately goes to Martin Luther King Jr. Someone with such a strong vision, such passion, and such an inspiring soul. Someone who is almost more than a man. After him, I think of people like Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Susan B Anthony, and Malcolm X. I think of fictional characters like Katniss, Dumbledore, Atticus Finch, and John Keating. To think of myself at that level? It’s ludicrous. I’m no leader. I’m not a hero. And I’m definitely not an example anyone should ever follow. I consider “leader” to be a high mark to hit and the idea of being one intimidates the hell out of me. I’m a follower. I’m a silent observer. I’m not meant to be the guy in charge.

And yet. Modern day society seems obsessed with the idea of “leadership skills”. Being a leader is one of the greatest skills a person can have on their resume. I participated in a program in college that was called a “leadership initiative” and included dumb trust exercises, paperwork on beliefs, and team-building activities. I took a class my freshman year on “how to be a leader”. And personally? I think that both were absolute bullshit. Being a leader is not something you can learn in a seminar or in a class. In my opinion, it’s mostly a natural born trait. But it can be learned through experience. If you’re skilled enough in something, if you have enough of a passion for something, or if you have a natural charisma…being a leader just kinda happens. It takes effort, sure. But it’s something that you just do. You can’t become a leader by reading about it. You become one by being one.

Despite the fact that I have no yearning to be a leader to anyone, I have found myself in leadership positions many times before. My senior year of High School, I was the oldest kid in my section in the Orchestra. I may not have been the first stand, but I had the admiration and respect of the younger students. It was so weird. I was also the oldest kid in my theatre class and all the younger kids were a little intimidated of me. It was the strangest thing. I was friends with mostly younger kids in the school musical too, kids who were outcasts like me. In some way, my friends looked up to me (and I will definitely admit to looking up to them). That whole year was like a weird dream. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that somehow my age caused younger students to look at me like I knew what I was doing.

In college, I avoided taking on leadership positions. I know it looks good on a resume, but I really hate being in charge of anything. I don’t care for the responsibility. Even so, I became the Secretary of my school’s fencing team. Not a particularly hard position. But somehow it was still most definitely a leadership position. I had a vote in important decisions. I was responsible for keeping the board informed on what was going on and keeping the documentation organized. And when I became a senior, like in High School, I was suddenly someone that others occasionally followed. Who others looked to for advice. Like in High School, it was super weird.

Now, at work, I have spent the past two days helping to train new employees. For some inexplicable reason, both nights the new people attached themselves to me and not my more qualified co-workers. They looked to me for what to do. They asked me for help. They took their cues from me. I’m no leader. I have no idea why anyone ever thinks it’s a good idea to follow my lead. I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. If you model yourself after me, you’re heading down a slippery slope.

But perhaps leaders come from the people who really don’t want to be leaders. I don’t know. Maybe my awkwardness just makes me approachable. I know I personally find it easier to talk to higher ups who are awkward and down to earth. It’s the people with power who give off the impression that they’re making things up as they go and just trying not to fuck up that I find myself trusting more. At least they’re honest. But, for me personally? I don’t want power. I’ve never understood the appeal at all. I just want to make my friends and family happy and to find happiness myself. I want to sit in the background and soak it all in. To tell stories and amuse the people in the back. But being a leader? Despite being a crucial career skill, it’s really just not my thing.

Day Sixty-Eight (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

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For years, I resisted reading this series. Everybody told me that I would love it. It was just like Harry Potter, they said. I would get totally obsessed. So, of course, I refused to read the books. So many people talking about it put me off to the whole series. It was overrated, I claimed. I didn’t want to waste my time. Especially since my best book buddy told me that it was “relatively harmless”. Like, come on. I want a book with heartbreak, emotional rollercoasters, and unforgettable highs and lows. I don’t want a fun little romp with cool adventures. Lame. But, my freshman year of college, I was living with this book buddy and she peer pressured me into trying out the first book. And, on that fateful day, my life was forever changed.

“Relatively Harmless” my ass. I’m sure for most people this book is delightful. Silly. Fun. Goofy. A little drama here and there, but nothing too soul shattering. Well, for me, this book destroyed me. The Saga of Luke Castellan….sorry, I mean, Percy Jackson and The Olympians…was a five part tragedy. I’ll be honest. I can’t even remember most of the series. Unless it had to do with Luke, in which case I remember all of it very well. My backup favorite character was Hermes. Luke’s father. The main source of angst in these five books were focused on the relationship between these two. Just thinking about it now has me upset all over again…

I can’t really talk about this series without talking about Luke. Percy and his adventures were entertaining, but Luke’s story was what got me hooked. I’ve always had a soft spot for the mentor figures. In real life, too. Many of my childhood “crushes” were on camp counselors at my theatre camp. The seemingly perfect older students. When I started my first year of college, I was going on withdrawal from all the people I knew in High School. The moment Luke was introduced, at least five different crushes ran through my mind. When Annabeth showed signs of crushing on Luke, the nostalgia hit me hard. So I immediately took a liking to Luke. Then he turned out to be the evil villain. Weeeell less of an evil villain and more of a horribly misguided cynical tragic anti-hero. Who breaks the hearts of Annabeth, Thalia, and Hermes because of Hermes and his unresolved daddy issues and his unfulfilled need for validation and love. Which Hermes would have given, had it not been for the prophecy. All the while, Luke is slowly destroying himself. Until he goes way in over his head and ends up as a pawn to a much larger evil scheme. Then kills himself to save the world and earn redemption for his mistakes. Really “harmless” story, here. No hearts broken whatsoever.

When I first read this series, I was an emotional wreck. I still think back on it and all the Luke feels return. Last night I listened through the Percy Jackson musical soundtrack for the first time. I’ll have to listen through the soundtrack a few more times to really analyze the nuances. But, for now, the feelings are overwhelming again. Hermes is a legend in my heart, too. I had to roleplay Hermes for a school project in 7th Grade and he’s been my favorite Greek god ever since. I would defend him to my dying breath. So I was very hesitant to see Percy Jackson’s take on him. He could easily have been the dumb comic relief. But, surprisingly, he was just mild-mannered, sweet, and quietly cunning. And so, so, so sad. Great. More feelings are returning.

I did genuinely enjoy all of the characters though. The writing style really reels you in and I love all the snark. I love the creativity too and all the Greek mythology allusions. The modern take on the Greek tales are really cool! I couldn’t put the books down, even when Luke wasn’t around. The chapter titles were clever too. I’m a total Percy and Annabeth shipper. Obviously. I miss this series. I’ve been putting off reading the sequel series again, since I’m unsure if I can handle any more pain at this level again…

Day Sixty-Seven (Popularity)

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Popularity has never held much interest for me. I had enough of a struggle finding real friends, why would I need fake ones? I’ve always just wanted to be accepted for who I am. I never cared about having loads of people around me or reaching higher levels of influence. I’m a Hufflepuff, man. Not a Slytherin or Gryffindor. Plus, I’m painfully introverted. Why would I want to go to parties all the time? That sounds like hell. No, popularity was never going to be my thing. Talking to people in general was never my thing. There was no way I was climbing any ladders. And honestly? Never cared much for the whole process. I always genuinely enjoyed just befriending the “weird” kids, because they were always true to themselves and quirky independent lovable weirdos. I still stand by that. But then I started doing theater.

For some reason, while I never cared about popularity elsewhere, I was always obsessed with the theater hierarchies. Who were the “cool kids”, who were the “wannabes”, and who were the “outcasts”? It’s not like these social hierarchies were subtle. The same kids always got the leads and they tended to stick together. The dancers were really cliquey and had their own subset of drama. Us chorus kids were always the ones who no one really knew why we were there. Most of us managed to climb up the ranks eventually, but a lot of us didn’t. I made some headway, but not a lot. A few small parts in classes and in One Acts. A tiny role in the school musical one year. It wasn’t a lot, but it was something.

But the hours I devoted to obsessing over these cliques and popularity ladders was honestly ridiculous. I could still chart who was friends with who to this day. It was even worse with my theater camp. The same kids always got the leads and they were all best friends during the school year too. Everyone else had to scramble to get themselves noticed. Some did better than others. You pretty much got popularity points if you had a lead or you were a senior. That was it. Or you were friends with the “right” people. It was the same High School bullshit you see everywhere. And I cared waaaaay too much about this nonsense. Wondering why I didn’t fit in. Longing to be a part of the “cool kids” (who really weren’t all that cool in the grand scheme of things. They were still just theatre kids). Wondering why I wasn’t “good enough”.

But, when I got to college, things changed. All of those stupid social rules and templates were thrown out the window. Nobody cared about who you were in High School anymore. Whether you were popular or not. Whether you were in honors or academic classes. Whether you were interested in sports or music. What clothes you wore. Nah, all of those stupid judgments went away for the most part. Instead, friendships were based on personality traits, interests, and hobbies. Maybe a little by proximity too. There’s legit psychological evidence of this out there. It was a miracle to get out of that narrow-minded popularity bullshit. I became friends with people I never would have had the courage to speak to in High School. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve wished I met some of my High School classmates in college instead of High School.

So when I went back to my old summer camp in college, I thought that the whole popularity thing had just been my insecurity. These people weren’t really “impossible” to talk to. That’s crazy talk. I was just consumed with teenage angst and I made things more complicated than they really were. Thing was…I was totally right. Going back reminded me of all the nonsense. It was like nothing had changed at all. I had to rework my brain into navigating the High School bullshit. But I ducked my head down, got used to the rules, and found my place again. Made a few moves and crawled up the ladder a bit. Then, once I’d reached a place I was comfortable with and stopped caring about the nonsense, I bid the camp goodbye. Well, I also bombed an audition earlier that summer. But I prefer my version of the story.

Today was a shitty day. I was working with a High School girl who is total “popular girl” material. It’s exhausting having to put up with this needless drama again. It’s so much better working with adults who know how to interact and have learned a little bit about the world. To cool down after work, I met up with an old friend from my summer camp to see a play there. I saw many kids who I’ve known since I was literally 10 or 11. Who I’ve spent many summers with. Who claim that this place is a place where everyone is at home, accepted, and loved. Who then proceeded to ignore me the entire night. It was fine. The feeling was mutual. I understand now that this camp lives in an eternal state of High School politics with their own set of popularity rules. It still seems ridiculous to me that they hold true to those rules well past High School though. Maybe it’s just me.

As a 22 year old, I don’t believe that popularity is important. Having friends is good and having people who accept you is great. But popularity? I don’t need it. People who care about it are immature. People who follow these stupid rules need to grow up. But that’s none of my business. I wasted years trying to climb the ladder. And, admittedly, I still see cliques everywhere I go. I’m a Survivor fan. Like, the TV Show. It’s in my blood. Either way, popularity isn’t worth what you’d think. Learning to be friends with all sorts of people in College really opened my mind to a whole new way of living. It’s so much better than trying to gain popularity points or being friends with the “right” people. The people I remember from High School aren’t the cool kids that I pined after. Nah, it’s the ones who were standing in the trenches with me. At the end of the day, those are the people who really matter.