All of this academia has got me thinking…
It’s so hard for me to write something finished these days, to carry an idea to its natural conclusion. Everything I do seems forced and rife with tension, like I’m trying to squeeze art out of my nose.
Is true art forced? Or does it come naturally? I’m not just talking about visual art; I’m also talking about writing as an art form.
Really, though, I don’t feel like I have anything to write about. There are no pressing issues that I need to address at this time, perhaps because I’m trying to stop seeing things as so pressing.
I guess i can talk about the fact that I am becoming increasingly aware of and, at the same time, ashamed of my actions and thought patterns.
I started off the day nicely. When I sat down on the bus this afternoon, I caught myself thinking the same thing I always think whenever i sit down on a rather crowded bus: I hope an old person doesn’t come on and guilt-trip me into giving up my seat. This thought is always accompanied by a nightmarish mental image of a small, elderly black woman with grocery bags boarding the bus and hobbling down the aisle, finding no empty seats along the way, and finally she settling next to mine. She puts her bags down and stands in the aisle, inches away from my comfortably resting body, unsteadily gripping the metal pole.
In this mental image, I always give up my seat to her, even if that means bearing the unpleasant burden of standing in a crowded aisle of a lurching bus bouncing over potholes down the entire length of Hillside Avenue. Otherwise, I pretend to not notice her and continue reading my book, or looking out the window, or fiddling with my thumbs. I feel an agonizing sense of guilt for the rest of the trip.
I would rather deal with the former scenario.
So, today, I sat on the bus reading an assignment for my Journalism as Literature class. I noticed all of the seats surrounding me gradually becoming filled up, and I tensed up, knowing that an old person was bound to board any minute.
Sure enough, it happened, sort of. A woman boarded and, finding no seats available, stood in the aisle next to me. Staring out the driver’s window at the front of the bus, he gripped the greasy metal pole in front of my seat with one hand and held a black shopping bag in the other.
I looked up from my book several times, furtively, in order to deduce whether she was elderly enough to warrant giving up my seat. I eventually concluded that she was late-middle aged. Probably around fifty-two years old.
After turning the situation over in my mind for what seemed like an eternity, I decided that I didn’t need my seat more than anyone else on that bus. I was completely capable of standing until 179th Street, and we weren’t too far away anyway.
I put my book in my bookbag and stood up quickly, stepping back from the seat, not saying a word, silently rescinding my sitting space to this woman. Out of my peripheral vision I saw her glance curiously between me and the seat. And then she sat down.
Mission accomplished, I thought. If not for the sake of this woman’s legs, for the sake of my own sanity. I had spared myself one guilt trip for the day.
But, as luck would have it, the rest of the day provided me with ample opportunities to do and say things that I would later regret.
- Turning down an opportunity to meet with people involved in an online publication I would like to collaborate with.
- Stomping my foot angrily, which my professor saw, when I realized that I had left my water bottle in a lab that had been locked (something that was semi-easily remedied.)
- Visibly losing my cool when I missed the E train by mere seconds, and the next one took forever to arrive.
But, I forgive myself, or at least try to.
I am not a perfect being, nor am I striving to be perfect. While I may not acted the way I would have liked to in every situation, I shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that life is a big learning process. I should only concern myself with recognizing my mistakes when they arise, making sure that my intentions are always pure, and picking myself up when I get knocked down.
The rest, I think, will figure itself out naturally.
This post also appears on my other page, Anicca Blog.