Assignment: The Noise in My Life

Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
If you went to PKI yesterday and sat on the bench facing Dodgums and leaned forward on your knees and stared in a general direction to your right, you would have had a glimpse of my mind.

People will walk towards you and past you and disappear from your peripheral vision, and people will enter your peripheral vision and gradually wander into a way that will allow you to observe them more easily. You will be conscious of the heat of the sun on your left shoulder, and by contrast, the coldness of your right shoulder under the shadow of the tree behind you. The sky is beautiful; it couldn’t get any bluer, and it makes everything look that much more jolly. You are surrounded by noise. There is the gentle and not annoying buzz of people talking growing louder and softer around you by turns as they walk along. This is easy to tune out; you barely notice it. Sara Bareilles’ Fairy Tale is playing, but you have to strain your ears to hear it; the people manning the game stands all have their own personal amps, competing to be heard over the music and each other, repeating the same old corny stuff and having little luck (frankly, you’ve no sympathy), and they’re driving you nuts. Fortunately,  you’re slowly able to tune out all of that. You continue to stare in a general direction to your right, but there’s a big red sign that reads “Attitudes,” and your eyes keep coming back to it, again, and again, and again. It won’t leave you alone. 

For this assignment, I decided to modify one of the exercises in the Curiositá chapter, entitled the Stream of Consciousness Exercise. This exercise requires me to allow my mind to simply wander where it will, and I felt that this would reveal to me what takes up a great deal of my thoughts when I am not forcing myself to focus on any particular subject.

I have completed and reviewed the exercise, searching for any negative thoughts that naturally enter my mind. I believe these negative thoughts could adequately be described as “noise” that smothers me.

I discovered that my mind is, at present, very much focused on having been left behind, particularly by Michelle, Nate, Gabe, Paolo, and Matt. I have been living this past month very conscious of being alone. My mind has also been on my Brothers and Sisters in Louisville, how much I miss them and want to see them again.

I have been full of contradictions. I already know that sudden topic changes are typical of me, but I see in my exercise that I have constantly been contradicting myself in terms of what I want in certain areas in life. I do not think that this says that I feel lost, so much as I know what is right and what is wrong, and I do not know why I would want anything but what is right. The exercise reveals that I entertain thoughts of being illogical only to reprimand myself soon after for having wanted to be anything but completely logical.

There seems to be an incredible amount of anger in me. This did not appear until about 3/4ths of the way down the exercise, and I believe that what this shows is that I have managed to dull and control the anger, but if I let my mind wander for 10 minutes, I will get there eventually. In other words, the fact that it did not come up right away shows that it is not in the forefront of my mind, and only resurfaces if I sit still and idle long enough; yet, when it does, it comes in torrents that do not go quietly. My anger seems to be due to a buildup of events beginning in… 2007, I believe.

Music-wise, I seem to be preoccupied particularly with Motion City Soundtrack, Death Cab for Cutie, Josh Groban, and Taylor Swift. I was quoting all of them, apparently because I felt that certain lyrics applied to my life.

Oh, and I seem to be very confused about something that I thought I had cleared up over a year and a half ago. Second thoughts about certain things…

Overall, it seems that the “noise” that is smothering me at present can be summed up in two words: The Past. Furthermore, I do not appear to be dwelling on the past in a manner that is meant to help me learn from my mistakes; rather, I appear to be getting quite bogged down in it. This is clearly not conducive to my intellectual growth. By focusing on the past, I am limiting myself to what I have done and assume that what I will do is identical to what I am doing right now which is being affected by what I have done, and so we come full circle and remain in the past and do not move forward. Yes, I’ve absorbed and retained information from my various classes these past two weeks, but you could say that in these two weeks, I have not moved forward as a person. School has provided what I have described to friends as an adequate distraction; I notice I have not used the word bridge or something synonymous to it that would suggest moving in a forward direction.

It’s like at PKI. People coming and going, some I see and some I don’t, some I notice more than others and some I don’t. Half of me is hot and half of me is cold, yet no part of me is simply neutral. The music of life and the people manning the games I have to play demand my attention from time to time. But if I’m left to myself and I tune it all out, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, my mind will wander, staring in a general direction, but always coming back to the same thing, like that red sign.

And then my two little brothers come to jolt me out of my reverie, and I get up and pay them the attention they’re due; they’re part of the music and the games, yet of a different category. I’ll label it Reality until I think of something more appropriate.

I believe that it is the Reality category that keeps me going. School is part of the music and games; I can only give them so much attention. Or maybe school just hasn’t been a part of my life long enough to enter the Reality category. My Reality are the people and the things I come home to every day, that stick with me through thick and thin, both in what they know and what they have no part in. Mum and Dad can’t come to school with me, but I tell them all about my classes and homework and ask for their advice and help. The kids don’t know what Ate Aisa’s doing at school, but they can make me laugh when I come home. I can’t bring my friends to school with me, but I know Stevie and Todd and Kim and Mariel are always there to send hugs via gChat when I simply say, “homework.” The best support in life are those people who don’t need to know all the details; they’re just they’re no matter what.

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