Bring me my Bow of burning gold
This post is my response to the comments I received to the post, “Arrows of desire.” The title of this and “Arrows of desire” come from William Blake’s poem “And did those feet in ancient time.” Now, to comment upon the comments.
The issue that I have with telling someone “just live in the NOW” is that I interpret it as telling someone to ignore their past with the other person or others in general, to ignore the position I come from. I don’t know how willing I am to just be in the present if it means ignoring where I come from. It’s the same issue I have with being told “Just don’t be so anxious, just put yourself out there and .” I don’t think it’s just that easy. That’s just how I take it.
This second time around at Harvard does feel better. I feel I’m actually getting something out of going to classes, I feel more collected and don’t feel that my life is a disorganized mess near implosion at all times. I focus on learning, the theories, etc., but when I find myself needing a break from reading or classes, when I just feel like having a bull session or just taking my mind off things, I find I don’t have much of anywhere to turn. It’s then that I notice what’s missing. Like you said, it’s the quality that matters; I don’t feel there is any there.
I feel (and there are a number who agree) that there isn’t the opportunity for great social interaction. Most of it seems to happen at parties, the last place where I want to meet people. I feel that amidst the unts unts unts unts and the chug! chug! chug! chug!, there’s the pressure to find someone for the night and promptly leave her and I don’t play that game. I prefer talking, hanging out and not feeling pressured.
And there is a mariachi group at school. I’m part of it.
I think it’s less culture shock for me now that just seeing how different my life is when compared to other student’s lives. There have been numerous conversations where people assume certain socioeconomic things about me. For example, I once was asked, “What are your parents in? Are your parents in business, law, etc.?” and I had to kindly mention that we are working class and mentioned my parents’ occupations. There are many more, but I won’t mention them here.
There are times when the differences come up (like when talking about summer, winter, or spring break travel) or how I dress. I’d like to dress like a lot other students to fit in, but I’m just not skinny enough, not White enough, not rich enough. Also, I know that even if I dress like that, I would feel like an impostor in their clothing. A lot of it is presentation and I would feel like a fake if I dressed like them. It’s just that I don’t want it. There are students who come from backgrounds like mine and want to dress in boat shoes, pastel colors, and whatever you imagine would come from Brooks Brothers to fit in. I don’t judge them for that anymore, it’s just too stressful. Everybody changes…
I like talking to other students from the Los Angeles area. Some of them are cool and down, others are happy living in their nice homes in the hills or behind gated entrances, living a life completely different from mine and I often get the feeling they just don’t care to understand how we may be from neighboring area codes but have drastically different lives. To them I say: Let Malibu burn!
I think the PhD student (my older brother told me who you’re talking about, do the initials H.A. mean anything?) had it right, I do think that feeling of “I belong here” is something that’s important at the higher education levels. I have a face and a voice and an opinion and you will acknowledge them and me, fuck you very much.
I mean mainstream in the sense that I want to find some way to connect to other students. The student body isn’t monolithically upper class, it’s a mix of most socioeconomic groups. Without finding a single way of connecting with people, I feel as if I’m out of the mainstream in all senses of the word. While the styles of dress, desires, and tastes may be skewed towards upper class tastes, I think that has more to do with us being college students at a place with a history of that lifestyle and less with a student body that desire it. I enjoyed your Marxist analysis! Jajaja.
“I can only say you need to let others get to know you.” Like I said earlier to loveandhatela, I feel it’s too easy to say something like that. I don’t feel there’s much of an opportunity for people to get to know each other at Harvard, for a number of reasons. While I agree that what you wrote is what everyone ultimately wants, I feel I’ve spent too much time or effort in pursuing it that I don’t care anymore. I have a few semesters left. I’ll just go complete them and graduate. I don’t know what to do or where to go with this… I don’t know how you found this blog (please let me know! I’m interested), but I welcome your comment.
This is my 250th post. Yippee.