Cursed With a Conscience

marvels and musings of a normal girl in a wacky world.

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I hate limbo….

I always sucked at that stupid limbo game we used to play as kids. My back was stiff as a board, my legs long and inflexible, and my perception of distance just a bit off kilter. As a child attempting this silly sport at recess or the roller rink, I would always taste my imminent victory just before the top of my back would inevitably graze the dreaded bar, wobbling it just enough to announce my  failure to the smug, ammature acrobats on the other side. Indeed, the kind of limbo game we played in middle school listening to the Macarena and eating cheese pizza I have never mastered. In fact, this game made me want to yank the bar off the stand and ream the flexible gumbo kids over the head with it. However, there is another kind of limbo I have since learned of, that I seem to have found an affinity for. This kind of limbo can be defined as:

1. an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.

2. a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.

This state of limbo is where I find myself today. Neither here nor there; one foot in the present and one looking for the next place to find traction.  One eye fixed on seeing what is right in front of me, and one eye focused on the distant horizon, where my future goals wait for me to seek. Right now I am nobody, and nowhere. I feel unwilling to keep my feet firmly planted in the soil beneath me, because I know I will have to uproot them again in the next phase of my life, directing them down a new path. I have not adopted new goals and lifestyle choices in the place I exist now, because I feel that my next chapter will need to be written on a clean slate. My new life will have to arise from the ashes of my old.

I’ve become comfortable with the notion that this is all temporary. School, part-time jobs, partying: all of the components of my ritualistic life. This is all something that I’m doing now before life really begins down the road. Once I have reached that junction, I will be set. Until then, I’ll cruise with my seat back listening to my favorite playlist on repeat, taking no detours, seeing no sights, and never stopping to enjoy the fresh air. I will keep my car directed straight ahead on cruise control until I reach that iconic destination labeled: “ the real world”.

So that’s where I am today- Northbound on the five, heading away from my old life in the Southern extremity but nowhere near my destination on the Northern tip. I’m in Barstow, Bakersfield, tangled in the grape vine. I’m in limbo, no longer where I once was and not sure where I’m going. Or even where I want to go. Or do I want to go? Afterall, I’m comfortable.

Comfort is another term that has taken on a new meaning for me. If you had asked me a year ago if comfort is a good thing, I would have looked at you like you’re a blithering idiot. Duh it’s a good thing!! How could comfort ever be bad? Well strangely enough, today I find myself in a state of comfort, and yet it isn’t satisfying in the way that I expected. Sure, I’m not fighting for survival, sweating for success, counting cents, seconds, or days to meet deadlines (though I probably should be). Instead, I’m counting sheep. I’m listless, lethargic, uninspired.  Everything is the same each day; which is comfortable but not fulfilling. I almost wish for a cold bucket of ice water to be dumped on my head- it wouldn’t be pleasant, but at least it’d jar my senses, wake me out of my slumber, or at least force me to move to a dryer spot that might offer just a slight change in perspective. I almost wish for some drastic, unforeseen tidal wave to roll over my life, washing out the stale, extraneous rubble, leaving behind only what is essential for rebuilding. Then, I wish to be the architect, engineer, and decorator of my new life. Have a hand in every board and nail that is placed upon new structure. Be able to look proudly at the masterpiece I have erected, satisfied that I took the time and energy to build it on my own, and it wasn’t easy. Comfortable not because I’m in limbo, but because I came out of it.

It’s interesting how the childhood limbo game requires flexibility, focus and strategy to master. I think that must be a metaphor for life. Leaving this state of inactivity, transition, and imprisonment I find myself in today will take all three of those traits. Moving forward, I hope to claim the limbo victory that my childhood self never could. Fortunately this time around I won’t need to bend any unwilling limbs or humiliate myself in front of crowds of jeering children.


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What makes facebook so glorious?

Because poor Facebook remains an underused and media- abused social network website, I feel the need to advocate on it’s behalf by reminding users of the positive impact it has played upon the intellect and overall humanity of the common user. To support my assertion, I will compose a list of the glorious features that make facebook the praiseworthy cyber phenomenon we know it as today.

1. The first feature on my list is the “like” button. In the days of old, social network users were encumbered with the task of composing full-length comments in response to things they found amusing, inspirational or worthy of some sort of acknowledgment. In these antiquated times, users were forced to provide explanation and elaboration when claiming to “like” something, entailing that they take 10, sometimes 20, crucial seconds out of their day to do so. Seconds that could have been far better spent perusing online bumper stickers with hilarious kittens or scouring random photo albums of distant acquaintances. But these days are over. Today, with our “liking” capabilities, users can stumble upon something vaguely interesting and with one click of a cursor, provide their kudos. This way, the writer or poster of said material can feel infinitely appreciated, and satisfied to know that their “friends” did not have to waste seconds (or in extreme cases, minutes) of their lives conveying respect for what the poster has taken the time time and energy to share with the world.

2.The next standout feature of facebook is “friend suggestions”. It can be so tiresome finding people you know and care to follow via the “friend search” index or seeing names pop up in tagged photos that you actually come across based on  common friends or interests. Far better is  facebook recommending to us people we should befriend, based of course upon its profound knowledge of our compatibility trends and social preferences. With this option, we users can empty our minds of all of our silly biases and preconceived notions of who we do and do not like and care to know, and allow facebook to decide for us. Trust me users, we are in good hands.

3. The number three spot is awarded to probably the most winning feature of the list:  the facebook “check- in” craze. With this convenient feat, users can keep others in their network constantly updated on their whereabouts and who they are with. For example, if an individual is at the PB Subway with Danielle eating a meatball marinara sub, this information will appear on the newsfeed of hundreds, maybe thousands of facebook users. This copious pool of lucky onlookers can then avert their attention from whatever inconsequential task they were previously engaged with, such as bio homework or job research, and wish that they, too, were in the company of Danielle eating a delicious footlong sub. Indeed, with this brilliant design, no longer will any facebook user remain in question of another’s whereabouts. Thousands of close, trustworthy friends whose company you desire to hold at all times will be able to find you at the click of a mouse- and their friends, too! What luck.

And lastly, I’m not quite sure what to call this one, but I assure that most of you will recognize this incredible perk I describe. Facebook, wonderful facebook, ensures that in the event you meet somebody in your everyday life that you wish to avoid at all costs, instead of giving them a 7 -digit number when they dreadfully ask to keep in contact, you can instead direct them to your facebook page where they can view pictures of you partying half naked, follow your whereabouts via the esteemed check-in feature, and assail you with endless messages and notifications on a convenient and frequent basis. Thank goodness we have this alternative to the threatening option of giving away our cell phone number. We all know that providing one fraudulent digit to foil the connection, or ignoring the distressing first text to give them the hint, is far more burdensome than banishing them into your facebook network where they are doomed to serve their stalker sentence knowing everything about you at all times.

If these stupendous features do not convince you of Facebook’s reputability , remember this: If you don’t have a facebook account, not only will you not make new friends, but you will probably lose the ones you had. It goes without saying that remaining excluded from facebook invites and ignorant of your friends constantly-updated whereabouts, you may as well live on an island. And what’s an island vacation if you cant post about it on facebook?

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“Oh yeah? What do you want to do with that- Teach?”

This question is the bane of my existence. Every time I hear the dreaded words, I visibly cringe. My palms start to sweat, I begin to squirm, and whatever exuberant charm and confidence I had once displayed deflates like helium from a punctured balloon. I am usually assaulted with this abhorrent question in a bar setting, after go-to topics of where i’m from ( a town they have never heard of) and what brought me to San Diego( school, like everyone else) are completely exhausted. Then, like clockwork, the inevitable query is  uttered. As I choke down the excruciating last sips of my free drink that I paid dearly for in dim conversation, I am presented with the question that I hate above all else. “Oh, you’re an English major? That’s so cool! What exactly are you gonna do with that?” I can practically hear the cheesy broken -record screech as the conversation grinds to a halt.

Thus, I feel that it is high time this issue was formally addressed, before any more intolerable bar banter becomes even further botched: If a girl ( or anyone- but probably a girl) confides in you that they are, alas, an English major, never EVER ask them what they want to do with that. The reason, which I feel is obvious, is this: We have no goddamn clue what we “want to do with that”. It is common knowledge that a major centered on reading classic literature and composing analytical responses to such literature is good-but really only good for one thing. That is to cultivate a lofty appreciation for verbose, convoluted writing, and an elitist mindset that prizes this exercise over all “practical” human occupation, such as stockbroking, accounting, commercial real estate, political lobbying, sales, and any other career whose worth is acknowledged by society and practice rewarded with any monetary profit. It is true: being an English major, one inherently does not know where and how in God’s name they can apply their skills in the workforce. Although we are skilled writers (hopefully), we tend to excel in writing prose that never reaches a human retina aside from that of another English major’s. Instead of parroting social media jargon that can ensnare the 99% of society that doesn’t give a rats ass about lofty vocabulary and a “scholarly” aura, we English major’s strive with each word to muddle our message with cryptic language, metaphors, and ambiguous undertones. Instead of speaking with our text, we focus compulsively on weaving a subtext that speaks our meaning truer. Where in the job market is there room for people like this? The eccentric poets, the intelligent but intolerable literature snobs, the brilliant, but unsociable introverts. What practical careers can these people occupy?

You might be thinking that this would have been a spectacular question to ask myself prior to choosing a major in English. And to that I would respond- “Shut the f*- ooook, yeah your right.” Granted, these “big” questions were ones I should have considered prior to choosing my major. However, I was formerly misled into thinking that reading and writing were marketable skills, and an analytical mind was one that could find an outlet in any field you can name. However, after four years of observing trades, competencies, and otherwise relevant world knowledge  never bestowed upon me in an English classroom, I am beginning to feel that I missed the boat just a bit. Sure, I can read and speak well, and recommend a compelling classic novel to analyze in book club discussion; however, I couldn’t articulate the first thing about politics, finances, the “housing bubble”, pop culture, what constitutes good music, or how to successfully market products, ideas or anything of social value.   I could tell you how the geography of (random novel) dictates its themes and characters, what symbolism is present in the novel, and how the American dream is depicted therein. However, this American dream remains inaccessible to English students such as myself, who are barred from financial success and enterprise because of our quirky and unorthodox interests. Yes, I’m beginning to feel that I should have declared a minor in “practical knowledge” to compensate for my “major” mistake in pursuing English.

Although, rest assured there is one option for English majors. The reason I can say this confidently is because it has been reaffirmed in every “what do you want to do with that” conversation I have ever took part in. The awkward-question assailant from the bar scene earlier will inevitably interject the one thing they know for sure about these aliens known as “english majors”, which is that they are usually the suckers that staff our public schools. I cannot say that this assumption is entirely wrong, but to me it punctuates the cruel reality that there is only one “practical” career move for an English major- go teach somewhere. And by “somewhere”, for most that will mean a low-SES school district where education is scarcely valued, and even less necessary for the attainment of menial jobs that low-income area needs its job-seekers to fill.

If this rant sounds pessimistic, that is not my intention. I suppose I am just discouraged about the commercial rat race of the job market, wherein somebody who does not enjoy pitching sales, innovating technology, expanding the World Wide Web, predicting economic downturns, or any number of robotic, corporate professions, does not stand a chance. With that said, if anybody has any more creative answers than “teach” to the dreaded, “what do you want to do with that” query, let me know! In the meantime, I will be huddled over my literature books, writing feverish responses to abstract, analytical essay questions in proper MLA format.


Woes of an (almost)graduate: A Cautionary Tale

Ok graduating seniors, listen up: you might want to pay attention to this tragic tale I am about to regale you with, regarding my “final” semester of college that was to have taken place last May. The Great Graduation Catastrophe of 2012, is it’s name; which actually is not a suitable name, considering the fact that NOT graduating was the real tragedy of my tale.  Anyway, for those who have not caught up with me since you saw me in my glorious cap and gown last May, or still see my glorious graduation pics on facebook ( which I have indignantly refused to take down), do not be fooled: I did not actually graduate. “Oh, she meant to walk early and finish her obscure, upperdivision major elective units in the Fall”, some of you might be guessing. “She wanted to walk early to seem cooler than her friends, or probably had a really, really good job lined up which required her to leave San Diego before the December ceremony date.” I desperately wish that I could say either of those things were true, but I won’t try and save face on this one. What really happened is something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, much less my friends who are probably the only people reading this blog. What happened is that applying for graduation and being approved, included in the pamphlets, given a cap and gown, receiving top honors, and having my name called out in the actual ceremony, is NOT an indication of actual eligibility to graduate, or a valid graduation. In fact, all of these events that seemingly implicate a valid graduation can take place without your legitimate meeting of graduation criteria.  This reality check was one cruelly served to me three weeks after my graduation ceremony, from my previously elusive “graduation adviser”, who poked her head out of the ground (or her ass) just long enough to deliver the good news before she dropped back down to that very, very hot place she ascended from, known as Hell. Yes, that’s right. The peach had the decency to send me an impersonal email with the subject heading ” GRADUATION CANCELLED”, followed by a detached, formal email relaying the message that I had not completed such and such units, and hence my graduation status was cancelled. For those of you who think ” The Hulk” is a massive, green monster in the pages of a comic book,  you are wrong. She is actually the metamorphosis of a girl who is told her four collegiate years of hard work and recognition are for nothing, and the finish line has, in fact, been pushed ten miles ( and three grand) farther from her reach. Needless to say, I had quite an intemperate reaction to this news. After storming onto campus and being informed by the sleepy office secretaries that I could not be in touch with anybody useful until the offices were again re-opened the following week, I became bitterly aware that my “graduation adviser’s” incompetence was met and matched by the entire rest of the SDSU administration’s apathy. Nobody lifted a thumb, or so much as hinted at a shred of remorse or responsibility for my cause. It was my responsibility to correctly read my degree evaluation, and if I had concerns about meeting the expectations I should have sought out my graduation adviser sooner. Really, SDSU? Do you HONESTLY think that if I had the slightest suspicion my graduation eligibilty was in question, that I would be so negligent as to not seek help from my adviser? Before I dissolve into a lengthy, volatile rant about this, I will suffice to say that GETTING APPROVED TO GRADUATE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE ELIGIBLE OR WILL RECEIVE YOUR DIPLOMA. Furthermore, NOBODY WILL SAY ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY UNLESS YOU GO SEE YOUR ADVISER. So friends, I impart to all of you who are who eagerly preparing to apply for graduation this Fall my horrid tale so that you do not make the same mistake I did. MAKE DAMN SURE that you are good to go before you put on that hideous gown and infuriating, floppy hat. Go talk to an adviser even if you are 99% positive you’re on the right track. Or else, you could become the pitiable girl with the fake graduation pictures on facebook, whose distant relatives probably still think she is graduated because she’s too ashamed to deflect their congratulatory praise and money at family reunions. Just kidding about that part, but seriously: heed my warning kiddos. With that said, at least i’m not in the real world yet, Suckas!

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Is quitting ever the smart thing to do?

So, I have never been a quitter- at anything. In fact, I will usually push for something with so much intensity that it’s borderline self-destructive. Or in the case of silly things like board games and obscure sports, absolutely ridiculous. Nevertheless, in school, jobs, friendships, sports and pretty much anything else I do, I strive to do it the best I can (besides cleaning- but I don’t do that at all, so it doesn’t count).  The philosophy I have lived my life by is this: One should not feel regret from failure, but from giving up, or allowing perseverance to wither in the face of trial or challenge. But more recently, i’ve begun to re-evaluate this philosophy a bit. Several situations I have recently encountered seem to present the quandary: can pushing for something for too long become a case of “beating a dead horse”, as the saying goes? Or in another example, is it ever the wiser idea to “quit the party while it’s still good”? In other words, are there times when the wise thing to do is to quit something if it is most likely fruitless to continue?  After all, once you have moved on from that hopeless situation, you can spend your time and energy on endeavors that are likely to provide more gain and reward. Continuing to force something that isn’t there may, I am beginning to believe, be a waste of time; and not only because it is not paying off in the way that you had hoped, but it’s preventing you from applying yourself to pursuits that realistically will. I still feel that how you approach and handle a situation is a better determinant of how you should feel about your efforts than the manifest outcome (which might be failure, even following a great try). But, maybe part of success comes not from working hard, but working smart. If you are pounding away with all of your might to fit a circle into a square, at that point it stops being admirable and noble, and starts being stupid, destructive, and demoralizing. Right now, i’m trying case by case to distinguish between the things I should never let slip away, and the things that will hold me back if I hold on for too long. Furthermore, I am beginning to realize the benefit of tossing something before it starts to spoil. One can prevent a bitter taste in one’s mouth by simply trusting that the food has expired, and throwing it away before the delicious memories are ruined with one last nauseating nibble.  For now, I feel the best way to make these choices is listening to my head and heart- if one or both of them feel that “quitting” is the best thing, I feel strongly enough about my judgment to listen. Who agrees?

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Hello World!

For those who are still unaware, my name is Emma Secker- welcome to my blog! This has been a project I have wanted to undertake for some time now, but never took the time to get it started. But at last, here I am! Today’s post will be a brief one, since I will need to be scooting off to work in a few minutes. However, look out for more blogs to come very soon- I won’t say exactly what you’re in store for, ’cause i’m not quite sure yet myself! Take care everybody, I will be  posting again shortly<3