This piece of writing was done halfway through the spring semester of 2015. I had been feeling upset and in a funk for a while and I sought to understand what was making me so confused and frustrated. I wrote this piece as an analysis of my recent experiences and sentiments towards information I had recently been exposed to. I want to stay true to the feelings that I had at that moment, so I did not change the present tense in which it was narrated in. For the most part, I tried to keep the people who I mention anonymous.
I don’t want to write right now. I am overwhelmed by work and I feel in some ways that this journal is a waste of time. But, I suppose it’s a necessity. For a while now, I have felt good and have felt happy to get up in the morning and begin my day. At certain moments throughout the day though, I have felt discouraged and burdened. There is something that is present within me that is acting in a parasitic manner. I will be really excited for something at one point and at another point, I will feel sad and will have a desire to run from this campus and from all the people that I treasure here. Through the help and sacrifice of some of my friends, I have been able to realize what that shrouded assassin might be. Let me begin.
I recently made one of the biggest decisions in my life this past semester. I decided to switch my education major to a sociology major. This decision was such an important one for many reasons. I had planned on doing education and becoming a teacher from the end of my senior year of high school all the way up to a month ago. A sociology degree is not necessarily the most pragmatic degree to have and my decision to study it instead of education has completely disregarded my plans for the future and put me in a position where I might be less likely to obtain a job once I graduate. Moreover, my college finances are significantly impacted. This decision I have made carries great weight to it.
I should start off by saying that sociology has captivated me. Actually, sociology has consumed me. Everything I am is slowly permeating into the world of sociology. It might sound like a beautiful idea in how I am embracing it, but I have also found it to be dangerous to participating in this process of permeation. A friend of mine asked me last night if I’ve ever been too close to somebody. I couldn’t say that I have been, but I feel as I am too close to this subject currently. When I enter into the class Power, Prestige and Poverty, I completely open myself up and allow the information to enter on a scale of great power and majesty. I allow this to happen because of my trusting judgement towards the professor of the class. She is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met and at times, I just wish I had her brain and I wish I knew everything she knows. My friend responded to that point by saying that it’s not only not okay to do that, but it’s also impossible. I have very different experiences than my professor and I shouldn’t be seeking to absorb the idea of her into my identity. I can learn from her, but I cannot become her. Sociology grasps at my insides.
A reason to why I study sociology is because I seek to sympathize with the pain that is being felt by those who are being oppressed by greater societal structures. I hate to see certain groups of people experience the pain that they are experiencing and I would be very grateful learning more about their experience and how I can help to improve it. (Please be reminded that this was written a while ago in which my awareness to these social issues was extremely limited and restricted. My awareness is still very confined today, but it has made some progress. Thus, a statement by saying “how I can help to improve it” still does carry weight in my beliefs, but it’s also idealistic. Semantically, a statement such as that can be considered selfish political bullshit because it lacks depth in awareness. It’s simply a statement written by a white, straight, cis gender male who comes from an upper-middle class background who says this kind of stuff to appear compassionate. That’s at least how that sentence can be interpreted.)
I must also admit that there is a selfish motivation in that I am seeking to adopt these theories as part of my identity. I haven’t found my identity yet and I don’t know if I will. But, in some ways, I am seeking to absorb these ideas as an item with the power to form my identity. This is why I am very intentional about hanging out with certain individuals at the school. They are loving, comical and exceptional human beings all around. I also have to recognize that I am very conscious in my efforts of trying to spend time with them and enter into conversation with them. There is, admittedly, that element in which I want to be welcomed into this certain group. The selfish reason is because I wanted to identify with a certain group of people. But, please don’t misinterpret this because there is a greater motivation in which I appreciate their company in general and I seek to learn from them. I just must be honest that my motivations are not completely selfless. But, I would also argue that we humans never do actions purely based off of selfless motivations.
There is a reason of why I feel that my relationship with sociology is “too close.” Sociology is currently my savior, but it is also my bane. It is so strange that it has had the impact on me that it has considering that I have only audited one sociology course. I haven’t even began my life in sociology officially! To continue forward, I must say that it is affecting my relationships with my fellow human beings. I don’t appreciate the “liberal” label although I do have to acknowledge that many of these new ideas I have embraced have been in contention with ideas that are identified as “conservative.” I have begun to think of the conservative argument has too narrow minded, too oppressive, too ignorant and too selfish. I begin to reject it because I have felt that I’ve heard it enough times that I don’t need to hear it anymore. Sounds pretty hypocritical on my behalf. Well, it gets worse. I have not only begun to hate the conservative viewpoint, but I have also begun to hate the conservative person(s). I have consciously lumped certain individuals or even friends of mine into all one category of people that I not only disagree with, but am growing in distaste towards.
I have lately been feeling a dissonance between a certain friend of mine and myself in our relationship. It’s not because of anything she has done, but what I have done. Generally put, I have begun to lose myself in relation to other people. In a discussion with my friend Michael this morning, I realized that these ideas of sociology and injustice have captivated my thoughts to such an extent that I am digging deeper into myself and my mental state that I am neglecting those surrounding me. I am in some ways digging until I end up reaching “Limbo,” which is the state of mind, dream and subconscious portrayed in Inception. On Friday night, the friend I mentioned before went to the beach with me. In our discussion, I had so much difficulty articulating myself and what I believe. I kept grunting and apologizing. This type of conversation never occurs between this person and me. No matter what the subject is, she and I have always been able to have really fluid discussions. The entirety of our friendship has always acted in fluidity. I am not saying our relationship is perfect (because that doesn’t exist). What I am saying is that it seems that the words that are said and the actions performed on our behalf’s have always come at the right time at the right place. Friday in no way felt like this. A reason of this was because I was worried about coming off as an asshole. This person is not very critical of others. This person just is. She loves with a simplicity and humility to all human beings as well as other fellow species. When I was attempting to be critical of the greater power structure of my college, I was scared that I came off as inconsiderate and callused. From what I previously described in this paragraph, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am acting inconsiderate and callused towards others. I am so consumed with these ideas that I am allowing it to be an obstruction in the conversations that take place between this person and I.
I talked to my roommate and he was extremely helpful to helping me understand what is going on. He said that my descriptions of what is occurring is not as dramatic as I describe it as and that I am not acting out of rage and mindlessness in the manner that I am worried that I am. He said that simply, I am learning a new language. I am currently having difficulty understanding this new language and how to speak it and utilize it. I speak a little Arabic, a little Mandarin and a fair amount of history. But, those languages do not define who I am. Neither does my faith or my passion for adventure or reading, etc. They each are pieces of the composition of myself, but one is not greater than the other. Right now, I am having trouble articulating this language to others and am having difficulty in the process of handling it. This can be seen in my anger and hate for those I do not agree with. That’s another thing. I am speaking out against injustice and oppression, but in my mind, I am oppressing others. The challenge I am posed with now is how I pursue sociology and these theories that I find so much beauty and power within, but not let it devour me the way Venom does to Peter Parker. I want to continue to learn sociology and be an advocate for those who are not given equality, mutuality and respect in our country, but I also don’t want to complain or be hateful.