Friday, August 28, 2009

Leading in Resistance

"Enlightenment must come little by little
-- otherwise it would overwhelm."

-- Idries Shah

So the school year is beginning again, and I find myself trying to tie up loose ends. I'd been skimping on the vitamin c lately trying to make sure that i ate up all of my leftovers and I have to admit that I've been in rusty shape as a result. I kind of had to fight the food battle today as well, so I can't WAIT to clock out and go eat some fortified organic apple sauce so that I can start to feel better. I'm thinking of making the push to go vegan and went about constructing a vegan food bible for myself and as supplements to my campus organization's new bylaws. The residence coordinator gave me a hard time about canceling my meal plan. She's making me get a doctor's note, which is ridiculous. Aside from the argument that it is absolutely ludicrous that they are forcing people to stay on the institutional meal plan without any alternative options, I also find it aggravating that as I encroach the age of 28, I am having to basically ask for permission to be able to cook my own food and not be charged exorbitant amounts of money they charge for the limited options that they provide. In real world terms, they charge me more for some meals than they pay me for a day's labor. I pay the same amount as everyone else, but have half of the options available to eat, and the ones that are provided rarely have nutritional value because the legumes are canned. The best meals are sporadic, few and far between (when they have left overs from catering) and eaten within the first hour and a half of the dining hall being opened.... which can be frustrating when you get word that they're serving burritos (as a campus delicacy) and you get there to find the whole line has been shut down because they've run out of food and there's daylight still shining outside. I just steal the soy milk at that point so I can try and feel like I'm getting something out of it.

It would be different if there was a nutritionist on hand on the kitchen staff that could address these concerns or if there was a someone back there with extensive culinary training in vegan diets, but I couldn't be vegan there if I tried. ...and as much as they defended food service, that's easy to do when you don't eat there. they make a lot of good efforts, but they are just ill equipped to keep up the dietary needs nutritionally. a lot of them don't have to worry about the details because many of the nutrients they need are stored in the tissue of whatever animal they're eating, but what i had done was make my food choices based upon color and richness of color, and then to budgetary constraints and I've been paying for not monitoring my health as well. I think the nurse snapped at me as if she EXPECTED me to be militant about it. I explained to her very calmly and rationally what the problems were, how these are recurring issues and that I just couldn't take another year of canned beans and bleached rice. There's no nutritional value to that. And when they do well, the non vegetarians hoarde the line and we're out of food before 6pm on some nights. i can't compete with that. I told her in all fairness, I would rather be focusing on more important things than on being the "angry vegetarian" for another year, and even relayed the anecdote about how seriously and pragmatically i took my position as founder of the veggie board, which I'd contacted, etc. She wrote me a recommendation and encouraged me to continue my work, but honestly, I'm still feeling a bit resistant about having to be the one to fight this battle. Sometimes being the most educated can tie you up and pull you away from the things you'd rather be doing. So I'm switching the focus of the group this year to self initiated discovery now that I've conquered the hard part.

On the Mental Health front, I did come up with a list of essential nutrients that I'd need and how to cultivate a suitable vegan grocery list. But the stickler is that if I plan on being serious about this, it means I'm going to spend the better part of my weekends doing food prep and I have a feeling that I'm going to be put in a situation very soon where people are going to be expecting me to feed them. Like they did this summer... I don't mind every once in a while helping someone out or having a dinner party, but I simply can't afford to keep running my catering service. I'm not compensated for my food or labor and it really just drains me having people feel like I should have to cater to other people some days when all I want to do is sit, or better yet, just get some reading done. and So gripes the popular gurl.

Sorry, I didn't want to sound negative. I'm just anxious about school coming back into session. It isn't the classes but the people. I literally have people half a world a way wanting me to spy on their exes and pressuring me to meet new exchange students I've never even met. I didn't do that last year. I just started off hanging out with a few people with whom i had similar interests and then as the year progressed let those other people come to me. I've been literally hiding from everyone. I'm just trying to soak in the last few moments of peace and enjoyment and freedom from insecurity and drama for a while, and even still people approach me and want me to throw on the social hat. I wonder if I've really changed that much or if my concerns are somewhat justified. meh, I think having some good indie music to listen to has helped a lot. The videos are innovative and quixotic, so it's a nice escape instead of fretting over things that I have no control over.

From small beginnings come great things.

my favorite death cab song (except maybe passenger seat)...

I found this quote yesterday. I mention it only because in stream with that thought I thought to myself this morning that part of the reason that I was feeling anxious instead of just staying present is because i was resisting letting things flow into transition. I suppose that makes sense. I have had the BEST summer I've had in my lifetime. There has been minimal drama. No big tales to report. It's just been peaceful and productive, and I've been allowed to set my own pace. Now I've got administrators reminding me that I don't have that freedom any more and it makes me miss being an adult and being able to freely make my own choices. There's always some teacher to dodge or rule that I have to fight tooth and nail to bend because of the absurdity of it in the first place. I have a pretty great track record for strong finishes, but really there are some days when i want nothing more than to give up. But really what's been happening is I'll be listening to something like THIS and my foot will be tapping and I'll be fidgeting as I watch the clock to the point where I'm ready to dance my way out of the side door. At least when they have me photograph things, I can get out of the office for a while. I'm sure I just need to refocus my energy back to something externally creative. I just have been a little bit of a slump in the last couple of weeks with all of this anticipation. I'll get over though. I'm sure. I'd rather wrestle through it now that have it hold me back later. If ya know what I mean...

"The man who removes a mountain begins

by carrying away small stones."

-- William Faulkner

I think the important thing for me to remember for the upcoming year is that I am going to be more of a campus leader now simply because people expect it. I feel like I should just do something rebellious to kill that preconception of me, but honestly, I can relate to the sense of betrayal I often feel when someone who I had counted upon doesn't come through. As simple as it would be to absolve myself of responsibilty to other people, my responsibility to myself won't let me shoot down myself like that. The last thing I need to add to my arsenal of things to worry about is whether or not I'm doing something worthwhile with my life.

I think it's like in physics when a current operates against a resistance making it ineffective. If people are pushing me to be more in a leadership role, and I am resistant to that process, I'm not going to do anything but wear myself down trying to fight the process. But I don't want to be rushed into something I'm not ready for either, which was something that happened to me with SIFE Berea this summer. I think it's why approaching transition and transformation is important to integrate gradually or at least steadily at first. I was just going to operate under the whole denial model of mental economics, but it seems that when you're dealing with financial aid and campus administrators, and dreading falling behind in assignments for classes before the semester starts because I won't have any money to buy them until the day before id validation is due, reality sort've takes over and I find that I've thrown my pleasant attitude out with the bath water. I'm mindful of it, and even though I can't seem to silence my inner agitation, i'm very careful about how i'm dealing with these people.

but i can tell there's a wall of detachment there. that scary corporate wall that says, yes i'm more knowledgeable about this than you, i could also rip you a new one, but i'm really restraining myself to keep calm.... (you know, visibly agitated, but trying my damndest to remain somewhat pleasant, while i explain the situation). i don't like her, me as that person. i find her cold and draining, and she gets in the way of my being able to just relax and have a good time. this may explain my new addiction to indie. maybe if i can chill out a bit, i can escape into some indie aspects of my current reality and see more beauty in what i'm trying to do instead of making all of these issues into boogey men, eh? I suppose I will admit that based upon prior knowledge and experience, by the time I get out of here, everything will have been okay.

yeah, it's friday. that's a good day to focus on living. i should embrace the process. it's the only relationship i seem to make time for these days... (^_^)


BBC World Service | Home