Jun 5, 2010

(Deep) Thoughts in Dandelions

(This is Marissa. I will figure out a really cool way to signify this someday, but for now this will have to do.)

It is summer, which means staying up late, waking up late, wearing baggy shirts and cut off jeans, cleaning a lot, studying a little and thinking deep thoughts.

Yep, that’s right. Deep thoughts. Teenagers are capable of them too, you know.Today I had an epiphany. It came while I was walking Mocha, 

which is when I generally have conversations with people who only exist in my head, talk to myself in Chinese and tell my dog that she is a pain when she tugs me back to explore the wonderful world of dandelion scents. So in the middle of a dandelion patch, my deep, brilliant epiphany came. Of course, the nature of epiphanies, in my experiance at least, is that when you try and explain them everyone either says, "well, of course," or they have no idea what you're talking about. But I'll give it a shot...

I’ve totally set myself up here, haven’t I? I just told you that this post is going to be deep? I take it back. Take a damp rag and wipe away all expectations away from your brain. I had a thought. Just a thought. A regular, plausibly shallow thought, because I am a teenager and that’s what I do. Just be happy I’m thinking, OK?

Here is my epiphany—thought!—most adjectives are by their nature comparative. Relative. See? If I am tall, then it is because other people are short. If I’m smart, it means other people are less smart. Which means that we are defining ourselves by what we’re not.

So what?

One of my gifts is seeing the good in other people. The down side of this marvelous skill of recognizing talents, good intentions, etc. is that it doesn’t work on me. I have a very difficult time seeing the silver lining in myself. You know that line from Ever After? “First I’m arrogant, and now I have no pride. However do I manage?” That’s me. I’m proud, but I’m never really sure what I’m proud of. I have a hard time making a list of good things about me. And yes, I’ve tried.

Moving on.

Because I see so much good in other people and so little in me, it is sometimes very depressing to compare myself to others. I’m not as generous as her, I’m not as creative as him, I don’t skip that well and I’m definitely not that pretty. My GPA is 3.9 something something, not >4.0 like all of my friends. But hey, that’s OK, right?

Not really, no.

So I’ve been working on not comparing myself to other people. How tough can that be, right? In a certain way, it doesn’t even make sense. No one else is me, they don’t come from where I come from, they don’t have the same experiences or relationships that define me. And, if you’re religious, they don’t have my same spirit. To compare myself to them, to compare them to me is ridiculous, because no matter what the comparison, it’s apples and oranges.

So I’ve been working on this, but I haven’t done so well. I’m just used to thinking in terms of comparison. So what occurred to me today just after I almost got ran over by a car (I did look both ways, Mom) was that even language is working against me in this.

Adjectives make me want to compare myself to others. They are designed so that the only way I can describe something is through comparison. She’s fast because someone else is slow. She and her speed cannot stand on their own.

And in comparison someone inevitably loses. Someone is less.

Language is comparative. Which makes it very hard for me not to be. But, hey, I’ll do it. I can conquer language, right? It’s been around  for what? A measly couple thousands years?  

You and me, language. This is my glove on drawbridge. May the best entity win.


  1. To use an adjective: You are profound.


    Your (Marissa's) totally unbiased Mother

  2. Sorry,

    I am going to have to learn how to make an entry without being labeled as two teenagers.

    Again Love,

    Your (Marissa's) totally unbiased Mother