Saturday, February 14, 2004

They came like swallows

Last weekend, for some reason, I won second place in the Willeke Design Prize. Only two people win awards in
this competition every year, and to some degree it's a big deal. At least it will look good on my graduate school
applications, particularly for those schools which are close with Michigan. Though I was convinced I was not
going to win, I decided to go to the reception on Saturday morning anyway and hear who would. Meul came
with me (God bless you Meul). They announced my name and as the blood rushed out of my head I could nothing
but stand there frozen unsure what to do. The expression on my face was comparable to that which I would
have if overhearing utterly tragic news (along the lines of a friend being raped, atomic weapon deployed, a
parent or sibling dying, etc). On a tangent, I think my room is invested because there is a strange rustling in the
closet as I type this. In short, I was terrified, shearly and completely terrified. I could feel the eyes staring at me
and the smiles of people of whose names I am clueless. Without thinking, I started clapping. My retrospective
excuse was that it was in hope that I would be ambiguous. It probably didn't work; I recall my body being held
in a position akin to being stopped suddenly in mid-stride during a slow stroll. I was awkward, gangly, gumpy,
insecure. Horrified, I walked up to Meul and whispered, can we get out of hear now? We left before hearing the
first place winner, and we ditched the reception.

I have recognized this year how timid I am. It's always been obvious that I'm shy (and those of you that are
dropping your jaws saying 'what!! what the hell he's shy!?' I say that I am dammit), but the problem that I have
seen in this recently through things like winning the Willeke Prize is that it can be extremely selfish. I left the
reception because I'm not good with honor--it makes me deeply uncomfortable and I became instantly inward
as though an industrial strength vaccuum sucked in my personality and trapped it in my body. But at the same time,
I did not show humility. It was not a lack of humility related to pride, but one related to vulnerability. It takes
humility to be vulnerable because it takes trust to be vulnerable. Though I had a responsiblity as one who is
honored, as a colleague, as a student, and as a member of the community to stick around and meet those who
feel that congratulations are due, and who awarded me the prize, to meet alumni who are interested in things
like this and accept the honor with grace, I turned my back to that responsibility and in my own anguish went
out the back door.

I now see where my timidness has effected other people. I am often terrified of presumption, and inherently
assume that social consequences will follow from overcoming shyness and communicating with people. Often,
I am unconfident in my ability to articulate and express my experience and thus don't even try. My fear in this
comes from things in my past, much of it from a bad relationship, and as a result there's no quick solution.
Nonetheless, despite its sources it has hurt people in the past, and I have missed great opporunities. And this
is curious...because someone in the past showed herself to be apathetic when I stepped out I began avoiding
stepping out and became apathetic myself. This is trite...I shouldn't be sharing this on my fuckin' blog...this
isn't a catharsis afterall. Do I make sense?

Chanson du jour: Indigo Girls, Hey Jesus

Friday, February 13, 2004

Rock Climbing

A few weeks ago (...right...) a bunch of us from URC went rock climbing. I now have my coveted
'top roping' card. I, dear sir, am a top roper. This means, oh humble reader, that I
have the ability to save your life, and that makes me a life-saver. And being a life-saver makes
me a death-defeater. And being a death-defeater makes me inherently supernatural, for how
else are we to defeat death? And being supernatural makes me an angel or spirit or other sort
of spiritual entity that happens to wield to some capacity the power of God. So, remember that
next time you see me and all others with Planet Rock 'Top Roping' cards and be attentive--for we,
afterall, are angels.

Chanson du installation: Big Ditch Road, Waiting for the Fall