Applying Myself…

June 18, 2009

Yes, I got those little notes on my report card when I was in gradeschool: “So-and-so is not applying herself. She’s a smart kid but itsn’t doing anything with it.” And here I am. Doing it again.


I got my ACT scores a couple of months ago. 35. Great, right? Not at all because now I’m getting the ever-irking question, “So where are you going to go to school?” I give them a blank stare and mumble something about keeping my options open. Noncommittal (see previous post). I go over my grades in my obligatory counselor’s meeting. The woman is an airhead. “Oh wow! You’re near the top of the class? So what are you looking at for schools? Any of the Ivies?” I grumble somthing and she’s obviously content with my babbling. “Oh wow! I didn’t know you were that smart!” Yep, I get that a lot. I don’t apply myself, so I must not be intelligent. I have fun, so I must not be studious.


But now’s when it’s actually starting to matter. Applications. Kill me now. I have a stack of folders sitting on the corner of my desk. Each is labeled with the name of a school, and the application requirements are written in hot pink Sharpie across the fronts of the folders. I’ve tossed a few magazines over the pile of folders so that I can’t see them from where I sit here typing. But I can still here Georgetown’s application calling to me. “FINISH ME, DAMMIT!” And I sit here and type and sip my Dr. Pepper and don’t fill out the application. I don’t apply. I don’t apply myself.


I think that the lack of motivation comes from my pessimism. A great quality, I know. My dream is to go to Columbia (the Ivy, not the art school). I haven’t the vaguest idea of what I would do once I get there, but all the same. I’m in love. The day I stepped onto the campus, I got that fluttery feeling in my stomach, and my heart began to pound. I was home, and I knew it.


There’s only one teensy, tiny problem: I have a teensy, tiny chance of getting in. I’m a suburbian from the Midwest who attends a small Catholic school that doesn’t stand up against the East Coast prep schools that other applicants are attending. And, even if Hell freezes over and I DO get in, how the heck am I gonna afford it?


And so I sit here and ignore my stack of applications. Because I don’t know what is going to happen, and that scares me. If I don’t apply, I can’t fail. And in my weird, backwards mind, if I can’t fail, I can’t be disappointed. Now how’s that for logic? I’ll be kicking myself over never having tried. But that’s what that stupid, noncommittal spot in the back of my mind is telling me.


What am I going to do with myself. As much as everyone wants me to, I can never be a doctor. I can’t. I would have to care and commit and try and APPLY MYSELF. So now what? Law school? Maybe. I can’t just sit around on my ass and write all day!


On Committment

June 17, 2009

Well, this is lame.


And unoriginal. Sorry.


I had a bit of a crisis today; I realized I have committment issues. In nearly every movie I see, it’s the guy that has trouble committing. Well, I do as well…and not just on the relationship side either. It’s everything. It’s not being able to stick to promises I make. It’s not being able to keep my New Year’s resolution. It’s not being able to have one true “best friend.” It’s not wanting to get involved with a guy. It’s not being able to finish anything I’ve started. Hell, it’s not posting to this blog frequently! I’m one big noncommittal mess!


Well, I guess it didn’t all start this way. My fear of committment started around age twelve. I found out then that anything you give yourself to utterly, body and soul, a blood oath, handcuffing yourself to something and swallowing the key, jumping off a cliff–okay, maybe not quite that dramatic–will crumble beneath you, leaving you with nothing. Around age twelve, two major things happened: my circle of friends widened and my range of activities widened. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, Now WHY is this a bad thing? Well, here’s how it happened. My circle of friends widened because my best friend decided that it was time to broaden our horizons, to expand our sisterly friendship into a more…social…group. We added a few more giggling 6th graders to the mix. And what did we get? A very irritated and confused me. Sure, I remained as loyal as a puppy to that friend. I never talked behind her back. I was always there for her latest crisis. I cheered her up when she was down. But things weren’t the same. I never had any one-on-one time with her. I didn’t know her anymore. I trailed along behind her, still like that little lost puppy until finally, our bond was broken. She was gone. Not a goodbye, not a warning. Bam. It hit me like a bus. I was traumatized and alone. One day we were best friends, the next we weren’t. I scarcely spoke to her. We weren’t much more than acquaintances. When we were together, conversations were no more than forced pleasantries and small talk. And now I refuse to become committed. Whenever I get too close to one person, I get an itch, an itch right at the back of my brain that tickles and torments until I cut myself away from the person I’ve begun to cling to. And so, I go in cycles, awful, dizzying, noncommital cycles. And I’ve just about had it.


The other event that gave me my preteen committment crisis was an early retirement of sorts. I had been a gymnast for 9 years, a significant chunk of my short life. I grew up in the gym. My coach was my father; my teammates were my sisters. And I was as at home on that balance beam as I was on my living room sofa. And then The Incident happened. I whipped my body quickly, confidently around the bar, pointing my toes, tightening every muscle. Perfect, I thought to myself, those judges won’t know what hit them! And then It happened. I whipped my body around the bar especially quickly, especially gracefully, especially confidently, preparing to dismount–then froze. My grips clenched the bar; I had a new sensation in the back of my mind–an itch. What are you DOING? it screamed at me. You IDIOT. You are letting go of this sturdy bar and flinging yourself into the air, flipping upside down, and landing on  that pathetic little mat? It’s practically a CARPET, for crying out loud! Just stay here. It’s safe. And I stayed, whipping around the bar, faster and faster until I couldn’t make out my coach’s panicked face. I broke my swing. I gently dropped myself from the bar, took off my grips, and walked away. After that, the voice was a constant presence. Don’t do your flyaway. Don’t do your flip-flop. Don’t do your standing back tuck. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. And I didn’t.


I quit gymnastics the next month, walking out the doors on a constant, 20-hours-a-week committment and into the world of safety, of no-strings-attached. And here I stay.


And it slaps me in the face once again. I look at my friend; she’s planning on participating in an event in which she’ll write a 50,000 word novel in one month. A month. That’s writing every day, nearly 2,000 words a day. At the moment, my word count for this post hovers at about 750 words. And I’m getting tired already, ready to close this internet window and just scrap the post I’ve been writing for the last half hour. And she’s committed. And I wish I was, too.


And then there’s the biggest part of committment: my love life. Now, I must say that lack of committment makes this rather difficult. Sure, freedom is fun at times, but knowing that I have the ability to commit would be a nice change. One of my guy friends has been hinting that he’d like to be more; and deep down, I think I feel the same way. But I’ll never admit it. I’ll never tell, not because I’m scared or nervous or embarassed, but because I don’t want to commit. Being in a relationship, even just the thought of being in a relationship makes me shiver, makes my skin crawl, gives me that itch at the back of my brain. And the voice says, He’ll hurt you, for sure. But what if something better comes along? Don’t you want to be able to have a bit more freedom, not be tied to one person? And who says that he’ll be committed, even if you are? And I call the whole thing off in my mind. He goes in for the kiss, and I turn my face; he brings up our relationship, and I change the subject. And I’m still not happy. And now I have the butterflies in my stomach whenever I see him, but I also have the unbearable itch at the back of my brain.


And I’m scared.


Committment is  scary little thing.