She entered my life only 10 weeks ago. Only a blink compared to the rest of my life! She is considerate, intelligent, and truly an individual. She is full of thought - she never stops thinking at all. And her life has been difficult. Far more difficult than mine. We have grown closer over the past 10 weeks until a recent barrier grew between us. ‘I prayed for us to happen,’ she said to me 8 weeks ago. That nearly knocked me over. Though I have not prayed for more than 12 years, I know of the passion in prayer. ‘I have decided to become a better Christian - I have felt God and I will follow his teachings. I pushed him away, but he wouldn’t let me go!’ She said this 7 weeks ago, after a pinnacle of her inner battle to find meaning in the world. I see prayer as hope with a beat that she directs towards an external force, God. That external force, for me, is internal. If I am asked the questions, ‘What moves you?’, I answer ‘I do.’ If she is asked the same question, she says ‘God does.’ ‘Who created you?’ Me: I do, every moment of every day. Her: God created me in his image. ‘Where do you go after you die?’ Me: I don’t know. Her: Heaven. ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Me: To live a life of happiness and passion that lifts up those around me. Her: To help others before myself, as Jesus did. Religion makes me uncomfortable. I can’t manage to understand her motives. At first, she feared only that I would break off our relationship. Now, she fears that I will go to hell for not believing that God exists. She worries every moment she is with me about the state of my eternal soul. Yet, my eternal soul is fine here and now! I would rather focus on our lives here and now - where we have been and where we are going and how we will create beauty and joy in this world for ourselves and the people around us. How to make the work that we do the most fulfilling, impassioned work. My concern is for this life. Let us make of this earth a kind of heaven. I wish she would not worry about my eternal soul. I would rather she worry about her health and her happiness here and now. A lifetime of sorrow and pain is not worth it. I don’t want to lose her.
I certainly know why I look down.
tendencies, and rain
that clings to my shoulders.
Also, the last remnant
of shyness, especially
after some piercing,
pure eye contact paired
with a smile. Gaze averted,
but my quiet smile hidden,
I walk on.
But, why do you look down?
Eyes have been called:
"the window to a soul"
But, whose soul?
Does the eye contact you
expose the sanctity of your thoughts?
Or, am I offering my own thoughts to you in that moment?
I said it before - I look down. But not when I pass you.
contact River Whyless about a potential TEDx performance at UNC Asheville in February… Any thoughts?
You have to treat time like a phenomenal, ancient pocket watch. It’s always been and will always be the same watch. If it wasn’t, we would know! However, it needs to be wound back up again. And so, the night before graduation, I rewind time. It feels like new, and it certainly is. The way time is rewound is different every single year. But the watch stays the same.
Something I’ve noticed more and more frequently: my peers and professors speak like a formal essay. By this, I mean they first give me the abstract synopsis/conclusion of what they are about to talk about. From there, they begin to tell me how they came to the conclusion through a specific, typically interesting story. Why not lead with the story and then give the conclusion? I have a much greater reason to listen to you if you give me some suspense! Speak like a good book: lay the ground work of a practical real-world example of a concept which you haven’t yet shared! From there, give me a story that I’ll be captivated by. Finally, tell me what’s significant about the story; see if we come to the same conclusions. See if our opinions differ. Good conversation comes from these complementary and contradictory opinions emerging from the same contexts!
I shouldn’t be frustrated by this, but my finals and other last minute semester-ending details are trying to eat away at my soul. More or less.
Without Facebook begins.
The twitching of hands has slowed. I don’t physically type out “www.facebook.com” into my browser when I’m being unproductive. I think myself typing it, and then get mad at myself. Withdrawal symptoms are going away slowly… agonizingly slowly.
While looking through the course catalog for registration, I’ve noticed some slightly terrifying issues:
- Far fewer honors courses. FAR fewer. Only 3 special topics courses this semester? What’s up?!?
- Classes are barely spread out at all. I’d love to see a distribution on this, but nearly everything I’ve seen offered is Monday Wednesday Friday in the earlier part of the day. Specifically for me, I have 4 classes I need to take that are all offered MWF from 12:45 til 1:35.
- Fewer electives in any given major. Everything offered is the requirements, with only 1-2 courses outside of the major requirements offered.
What is the disease?
Typical answer: underfunding.
Summer approaches, but until then…
I’ve been elected one of the Senior Senators at UNC Asheville (neat!).
Also, I’ve been nominated for a student leadership award (double neat!).
America is a brilliant, strange country. One of the few countries that started out with the intent to be a democracy, America has a very short, quite bloody history: The puritan-lead violence against the indigenous peoples, the French Indian war, (not-so) revolutionary war lead by the colonial aristocracy, the war of 1812 (which was a bit more revolutionary), the civil war, WWI and WWII, and then the more modern imperialistic wars we have fought, which don’t need mentioning for this post.
So, throughout all of these wars, we have fought out way to being the “strongest” country in the world. Our Puritan-based work ethic, incredible belief in our righteousness, and our welcoming of brilliant minds to work, typically at developing better weapons, are a few of the many causes at the root of our success.
But how about our founding ideals? Democracy, the power of the individual to govern themselves, is at the root. But, we were structured as a country to be a representative democracy. Not only that, but a representative democracy with a fancy bill of rights! Freedom of speech is at the root of this document, and at the root of our mystique. However, our voices only matter in one place - at the polls. Otherwise, we certainly can make a lot of noise. It is quite futile, though. Mostly, we just talk at each other. Does this incredible belief in free speech as a catalyst empower us to impress our opinions on our peers without discretion or pause?
How presumptuous of us.