The Yellow Pages

Life's questions completely unexplained


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Call Me Crazy

(Excerpt from my first blog at Brown HerCampus.com called “Call Me Crazy”)

Girls are bizarre. We make absolutely no sense. One moment we’re dancing in front of the mirror to some nameless Taylor Swift song and the next we’re face down on the floor contemplating the meaning of life. Girls are strange, unpredictable, volatile—but not crazy.

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The best way to disarm a girl is to call her crazy. Call her fat, call her ugly, call her a bitch and she will bounce back. Call her crazy and she will hit that brick wall. Hard. Guys call girls crazy, girls call girls crazy. Call a girl crazy and she’s forced to reevaluate her state of mind, question her actions, and defend the person she thinks herself to be. There are many things you could call a girl to hurt her, but crazy trumps them all. It makes everything she feels invalid, everything she says wrong, and everything she does certifiable. 

To make things even worse, the word hysteria actually comes from the Greek word for uterus. Literally, hysteria means uterus. What if the…. (continue reading)


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“Tell Me, What is it you Plan to Do?”

Theme: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

A few months ago someone asked me what I plan to do with my life. Trying to be mysterious, I told him that I plan to “live”. It could’ve been my need to be philosophic and ambiguous, but I was pretty convinced this was my answer.

A few weeks later the same person asked me this question again. This time I gave him an hour’s worth of my dreams, passions, inspirations, and plans for my vast and unknown future. When I ran out of breath and words, he asked me: “Why didn’t you just say this at first?”.
tumblr_mzb94rt6c41siyi21o1_500Though I was taken aback, he made a very good point: why didn’t I just say this at first? Did I use the ambiguous answer of “live” to avoid talking about the future? Was I scared of making plans? Of having those plans fail?

What am I scared of?

Last night, I had a bit of a “beginning of the semester crisis”. I realized that the classes I was taking and the major I was pursuing, weren’t really what I wanted. I ended the night lying flat on the table in the middle of the lounge while my friends watched “the Parent Trap” and I felt trapped.

As college students, it’s easy to feel like we stand on the edge of a cliff with the sole task of finding our way down. One misstep and we will tumble over the edge, leaving any hope of success among the falling rocks. We lean over the edge, wishing we could glimpse the bottom or that someone would lend us a parachute.

tumblr_mz51ga3VdC1rzqyago1_500I recently came across the last line of the Mary Oliver poem, “The Summer Day”:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This line resonates not because of the question it asks but the statement it makes: My one wild and precious life.

Yes, we do stand on the cliff’s edge, but it’s not the fear of falling that keeps us there—it’s our vicious will to live. We get one, and only one, life and it is our choice how wild and precious we make it. The classes we take, the majors we choose, the jobs we get, the people we meet, the decisions we make all become part that parachute we previously asked for.

We will remain on that cliff’s edge with our dreams, passions, inspirations, and plans strapped to our back until we decide to take that step forward into our vast and unknown future. There is no need to feel like somehow we aren’t living ‘right’ or we are doing something ‘wrong’ if we stay on the edge. And though it’s cheesy, psuedo-philosophic, and completely ambiguous—if you asked me what it is I plan to do with my life, I will still always answer live.

j

Unanswerable question: what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

tumblr_mztmdktZRC1s9sn4ao1_500-2(^Searched ‘hipster gifs’ and this is what I get)


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My Full Catastrophe Of College

Theme: Life to its Fullest

The first time I did laundry in college, I dried my dirty clothes before I washed them. The whole floor stunk of a locker room during pre-season, bringing my friend-making process to a halt. Earlier, I’d bragged about my laundry-doing prowess and even set up a “laundry date” to help a guy out. However, this illusion crashed down with the baking of my socks and underwear and thus began my full catastrophe of college.

Spiritual teacher Jon Kabit-Zinn speaks of the Full Catastrophe of Living: the human ability to transform the most difficult moments of life into the most spectacular. Living one’s full catastrophe is acknowledging the limitless potential in every single moment.

College always seemed like a dream—something to be thought up but never lived. It was that pretty picture on the horizon but not the ground under my feet. However, on August 31st I peaked my head out from behind this illusion and college hit me smack in the face. Bruised and star-struck, I stepped on stage—ready for my full catastrophe.

And it came like this:

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There were times when the things I had to do outnumbered the hours I had to do them; when my home was the library and my only friend Plato (see top left). There were rainy days and snowy days and days I wanted to go home. Times when I wondered what would happen if I just didn’t go that exam or just didn’t write that paper. Nights when I went to the dining hall alone, performing that uncomfortable quick-eye scan for a place to sit. And that time I laid down on the Main Green at midnight and questioned human existence, to which my friend answered—it was time for me to go to bed.

And yet, between the rain, awkward meals, and philosophic questions—college also came like this:

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This is my ‘yay college’ face I donned for the times I couldn’t get enough of life. From wearing a classy bear suit to slip and sliding on the Main Green to ‘party-shopping’ all the sports houses in one night—life was incredible. These moments infiltrated the rainy days and library nights and turned them into a one-person dance party with “I Love College” blasting in the background.

And yet again, between the embarrassing costumes and ecstatic selfies—college always came like this:

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These moments morphed the highs and the lows into a breathtaking sunset and a clear autumn day. They transform all those things I ‘have to do’ into one simple task: stopping and taking a breath. These are the moments I can’t help but wonder whether I’m still in that dream and I’ll wake soon in my bed at home prepped to take the SATs. These moments remind me of the full catastrophe that is Life.

College is a microcosm of life. It magnifies the highs and intensifies the lows, a constant reminder of the potency of the human experience. It’s the most dramatic change of my life, a dream turned reality. The most important thing I learned in college was that college was  actually real.

Perhaps college didn’t come to me but instead I came to it. It may have been that pretty picture on the horizon but it’s now the ground beneath my feet. I walked through its gates, arm raised, scared and excited, yet completely prepared, for the full catastrophe beyond.

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Unanswerable question: How is life, and not just college, a full catastrophe? 

look familiar?