Friday, 13 June 2014

A Ghost With A Name - An Introspection On Six Years Of School

I didn't know anything about Canada when I first got here. As far as I knew, the only thing that was in North America was the U.S. I suppose when you're 12, you don't know much about many things. With my lack of knowledge, there was probably a large opening to change myself and become adjusted to a new way of thinking. I certainly did manage to have a new line of thinking, but changing myself would take six years, and by this point it would be too late to rewrite my middle/high school life. I certainly do feel bad for some of things I've done, but I don't know how far I'd go to say that I actually regret how the events unfurled. I've certainly made mistakes, but the whole point of the human experience is to learn from the error of your ways. That's a way that your character is both built and tested. This school year has certainly done a deal to shape my character for the future that is university. While it hasn't washed away my bias against school, it has at least made me understand the other factors that make it unpleasant. Mainly the institution and how adolescence is a generally unpleasant point in your life. At least when it comes to emotions.

Furthermore, this year has given me a great deal of clarity. It's not to say that I haven't done a deal of introspection myself. When you're alone, you eventually steer down that path, and being alone a lot makes those internal conversations a lot longer. Sometimes, they're far longer than they need to be. Sometimes, they just seem to cloud your mind and pollute it with ideas that shouldn't be there. Sometimes, it's simply filled with ignorance and delusions fueled by your ego. Introspection is nothing without the outside perspective. You have to look at the world around you, the years that you reflect upon and the way people change in those years to understand where you were in that time. With that, then you comprehend better your own situation.

For the first little while (that is to say my middle school years), I still carried with me the baggage of my old experiences in school. It was mostly filled with short, blind temper and a peculiar personality, both of which were exploited by those around me. The results were either a barrage of cackles or a visit to the head of middle school's office. It wasn't the sort of weird antics that could later move me into an ostracized group nor were my savage outbursts suitable for the status of a troublemaker. I had neither the interest nor the mentality for either in any case. Those early years had their pleasant periods, but generally it was the beginning of a bitter battle between me and an old enemy who's face had transformed into something much more contemporary and artificial. One of the things I slowly figured out was that while Canadians may have smiles on their faces, not all of them are the cause of a happy-go-lucky spirit. It became clear to me when I saw people in the hallways along with the teachers and other faculty. While it was easy for me to figure out the ulterior motive of those upholding the school, the ones walking the halls was more of an enigma. Still, I knew that I would combat against them on various occasions.

Transitioning from middle school to high school, I had let my precocity blossom, whilst at the same time letting it become tangled with my immaturity. I certainly wasn't aware of it because the former gave me the feeling that I was above it all, include those that I was shut out from. I had made the observation that the average teenager was nothing more than an animal, driven by their brutish actions. I found myself coming across some individuals who became interested in me as a friend, and I did good enough to act upon it. At the same time though, the previous tensions of the past years did well enough to distance me from those who would take the time to acknowledge me in a form that was fitting for me. That was at fault of my loneliness becoming so vitriolic that it would cause my mind to become adamant in separating from any crowd whatsoever. It explains why most of my earlier interactions were laughably awkward or frighteningly alienating. Still, from those interactions came forth a personality that was always there but never properly nurtured. The social side of me seemed to be fed better by online experiences rather than real life ones.

In the years that high school encapsulated, I found myself at odds with two personalities; one with a disregard for the social constructs of school and one wishing to be more included in said world. The war was now being fought in my head and needless to say that it was a mess all around. What were my perceptions of the people around me? What were their perceptions of me? What did I want in the end? None of the questions seemed concrete, and even today I can't say that they are still. Granted they've become more solidified since then, but time is often a factor that leaves matters to be subject to change. I had not done much outward challenging of the world around me, or at least it was never done to a recognizable level. At the most I could have been categorized as a loner with music in his ears, and there's no glory in being one in high school. I begun to challenge myself and chip away at the unwarranted cynicism that festered in my being. It led me to see what others were offering me. But in doing so, I was still vulnerable to pessimistic thoughts. By doing so, the following phrase became known to me: a ghost with a name.

Such a phrase was fitting to describe how I was. It was made clear to me by how I was approached at in the halls, how I was met with at some of the parties that I finally yearned for and how I interacted with people in the plays I worked. I was someone who you could recognize and make note of, but easily walk past. For a while I felt that the blame was upon others, but this wound was just another one that had to be self-inflicted. It had been too late to stitch it up, but that's not to say that there wasn't a great deal of attempts at doing so. Upon realizing that I was simply that, I felt more inclined to continue my resenting ways and to further place myself in my sulking state. Doing so neither resulted in time ticking faster for this madness to end nor did it result in impacting artwork that could explain my plight in a manner that would give it enough dignity so that it wouldn't be the complete joke that it was. Instead, I made the effort to act more sociable and to take certain risks that could pull me away from that depressing funk. It didn't completely work since by now certain ideas had become so engrained in my mind, but I was able to become more tolerant and perhaps accepting of the peers around me.

As this year came rolling by, having it end was at the forefront of my mind. I had no one to feel anything for, save for the teachers who I didn't think would be too sad to see me move on from their classrooms. Not so much that I had not made connections with them, but because they could see how I could develop myself with the university life. This year also seemed to be the one that I liked the most, since it was the one that I felt the most included in. I had gotten what I deserved, and I felt strong enough to confess to others about a variety of things. I became closer to some people, but I can't say in all honesty that I consider a great deal of them true friends. The thought of being a ghost with a name still holds water to it, even if it is minute. With this year though I had discovered a few important pieces of information that will do a lot to help me.

First, it made me realize that teenagers are not primal creatures, children are. They are in the sense that they live in the now, without much as a care on their mind and often acting irrationally. Parents and other adult figures are there to make sure that they don't get hurt by doing so and by doing so they start to bring to them a safer line of thinking. As you pass through puberty, your inner nature becomes stronger while the more "mature" mindset starts to seep in by itself rather than by some outside force. Both encounter each other and the clash of those mentalities forms the mind that you take for adulthood. It's not wrong for a teenager to do the things they do, being young is fine to be aloof and brash at times. It's a time to let your spirit experience some sense of freedom. While precocity has its advantages, it shouldn't impede you to do the things that your age is meant to do. It should simply add another perspective and make you more suitable for gaining knowledge, finding interests and adding to your passion.

Second, it proved my idea right that the way others act is just a part of a larger charade. It delights the contrarian in me to see their facade broken down, but seeing the remains elicits nothing but empathy. For the joy that this confirmation brings is minimal compared to how it relates to how I've felt. For some, they might continue to remain as counter-cultural as possible upon finding this, and I wouldn't blame them. When everyone seems to have a good time and you don't, you don't bother to think who else might not have a good time too. And with the way that people don't like to wear their emotions on their sleeves but rather cover them with a jacket, it's no wonder that you don't believe them. It's often rare to find those little things that everyone can relate to, and its even rarer to have that click in your mind when you think in a different way. Even though I can believe that it's possible, it becomes a lot harder for me to fully accept it.

Third, I saw more how people looked at me. I could still call myself a ghost with a name, but I could also see that I had some moderate popularity. At least for someone who could be classified more as a loner. I was able to hang out with other people and talk them in a more casual form. I allowed myself to share some thoughts which I didn't bother to share with anyone before because I saw no need for it. Perhaps in a way I succumbed to the idea of depending on the kindness of strangers, only in this case it would be strangers whose faces I've seen for six years. Then again I had nothing to lose, it was my last year. What would it matter if I said these things to people, it wouldn't have any grand impact. I knew that this chapter was going to close, but I knew that I could write the ending differently. By doing so, I think I made sure that I didn't have any true regrets. Those previous regrets were at the cause of not knowing any better. How could I fix them if I couldn't figure out what to do in the time? This time, I knew how it worked and I couldn't let the opportunity pass me.

Saying all of this doesn't really change how I feel about the end of the year. After being dealt such a terrible hand, it was hard for me to convert it into an absolute jackpot. I really am just glad that this is all over. I'm tired of having to deal with all those conflicting emotions and I'm fine with now having them clarified and enacting on them before it would be too late. I'll know who will be alongside me, who will be true to me by the test of time. I don't worry so much if I have a large group behind me or some single soul cheering me on. I just know that when it comes I'll make sure to return the sentiment. It would be foolish to ask for others their thoughts. Foolish and egotistical. But if I have to still remain as a ghost with a name, at least I can be happy knowing I have a name.

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