16 January 2006

Without passion, man is a mere possibility.

You have the ability to accomplish great things.

You are a dreamer and your thinking is inspirational.

—fortune cookie fortunes I keep at my desk here at work.


I think it's very common for people to believe that potential for happiness is handicapped by intelligence and threatened pending how much awareness one has of the world around them. See a crazy giggly girl, perhaps she's skipping, or she's talking a mile a minute in bubbles and excitement, and surely your first impression is not that she's a genius, or even that she cares about intellectualism. A girl like that is silly; a person can only be happy in that light-hearted and carefree way if she's a walking example of ignorance, that is: Ignorance is bliss.

Not only do I disagree (duh) with that assumption, but taking under consideration the degree with which a person's moods affect those around them, I feel like the majority of smart people in the world are shirking their responsibility to the rest of us to figure out the things that can make them happy, seeking them out, and making it at least a somewhat significant focus to live their lives in a way that at the very least does not get in the way of other people's happiness, but if they're really lucky, finding joy in a way that brings it to the people around them as well. The world could be such a better place if more people didn't let their lives bedraggle them so fucking much.

Of course I know it's easier said than done. I had such an intense overabundance of fun and LIFE in my European exodus last spring that I had more of a haze of depression over the last year than I've ever experienced. My life, which up until then I had been thoroughly enjoying nesting into, suddenly was suffocating me, making it so apparent how few of the major decisions in my life existed in which I had really been an active participant. The only one was at 18, the last day of the deadline for my decision about going to MIT or Georgia Tech, when I literally had both envelopes in my hands and kept trying as hard as I could to muster the courage to say I was going to make the dramatic life decision of moving to another world far far away and asking my parents to help me make an extraordinarily unimaginable financial investment into something as fleeting as my silly stupid brain.

Elise once told me that I should be proud of the decision I did make; so few people are willing to put themselves out there completely for anything, or more precisely, for anyone. For what they judge to be "love." And just because it didn't end up lasting doesn't mean it was the wrong decision.

I told so few people about the primary reason I chose to go to Tech: to be with the love of my life! because I knew they would think I was a stupid irrational teenager.

I think I knew I was being a stupid irrational teenager. And still thought it was the right decision.

And I'm not going to say that I regret it. My life here in Atlanta has been so good for me in so many ways, and it's unreal for me to imagine how differently my life could have played out, and how many different directions my personhood could have turned.

When I visited MIT I was a bit worried that I would end up killing myself if I came to live there, there was so much intensity and blinding, terrifying intelligence in everyone around me.

I consider myself pretty lucky that I was able to recover the part of me that DID kill itself while I was at Tech: my capacity for any kind of real and abiding happiness.

I'm such a different girl now, yet still so fucking similar.


• × • × • × •


16 January 2006


Reading Martin Luther King, Jr. tonight makes me realize that my little rant on happiness may lead people to think I'm advocating mindless happiness, and the repression of any thoughts on what's going on around you.

While I will admit that I've succumbed to the use of denial in order to find happiness, the more I have to do it, the more shaky and superficial that happiness becomes. Sometimes I lean a little bit on the crutch of very materialistic and superficial happiness in order to prevent myself from having to scream and cry at the people around me, and I don't think that's necessarily evil.


It's important to break out of it and find the beauty even in the difficult struggles that still must be fought.

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

He was a man capable of both intense intelligence and humble and honest faith; he was also capable of possessing a very clear rage at the state of things without abandoning hope.


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