So I just have this urge to write something for the world—more to the point, something for my friends and family—to see. I live so much of my life in this fake little world called School and Grad School Apps and Stress. Yet sometimes I yearn to escape from that prison and live!
Finally I got my project done (almost on time), and now the top imperative seems to be go on a date. Or, more specifically, get to know people; but, since I’m really quite bad at that, it tends to just get distilled down into this one concrete but usually unmeaningful step called a date.
Because, the truth is, there are lots of cool girls out there, lots of girls I would like to get to know better. Yet somewhere along the way I seem to have drawn in on myself, become antisocial and awkward. It goes like this: I meet a nice girl and think, I should ask her out. Pondering the implications of that, I conclude that I must have something to do on a date. You know, go to a movie, get a milkshake, carve a pumpkin, whatever. But whenever I think of those things, I instantly realize that I’ve done these things before, and that 90% of the time it turns out to be a poor way of getting to know somebody, usually involving conversations in which I have to keep my brain at full throttle trying (with limited success) to guarantee that there aren’t any awkward pauses, where both of us just sort of sits there and thinks about how we can’t think of anything to say. Then I come home feeling tired and wishing that I had some better way of doing things.
So what about the hypothetical 10% that I seem able to really get to know? Well, that statistic is, believe it or not, made up (like most statistics, right?), but in recent years the ratio seems to be much less favorable. Actually, I’ve been realizing recently that I’ve had a hard time really getting close to anybody lately. Maybe I’m just too tired, too set in my ways, with too many scars on an old, wounded heart that’s been around for a while. But it’s not just with respect to girls. Of course I have varying degrees of friendship with roommates, for example, and with others, but so much of me is hidden, even from my family and my closest friends. It’s not that I don’t want to share any of myself with people; it’s just that somehow I never feel safe enough, always afraid of something.
And so I write. Most of the time I just write because I don’t seem to have anyone to talk to, even though I know that there are lots of people who would talk to me any time, but I just never feel quite comfortable enough calling people up. But by just writing some of the most interesting parts of me are left forever imprisoned on paper.
I’m a smart guy. I’m a college graduate, I did great on the GRE, my academic and professional prospects are bright. And yet, in the things that matter most to me, I am a fool. I feel stymied, bogged down, trapped, stuck. My desires just don’t seem to translate into actions that are likely to bring those desired circumstances about. I love to dance, yet I never do so.
I would have warm and loving relationships filling my life. I would more often feel alive, like when I listen to a beautiful, mind-opening piece of music; or when I ride a bike super-fast down a hill, or do well in a frisbee game. I would more often be free from the onslaught of a relentless, inquisitive mind. I would… I would… I would…. And yet, I experience most of my life as staring at words on a page, thinking about economics or algorithms.
How does one recover from emotional cardiac arrest? CPR??