Thoughtful Revolution



November, November

If you only read this blog for the dispassionate criticism, read no further. This will be as self-centered and solipsistic as a single blog entry can get.

Things I did over the month of November:

– See a couple of good plays.
– Ace two math tests.
– Ace a Spanish test.
– Eat.
– Sleep.
– Go running.
Find a couple of great blogs.
– Read the newspaper daily, and kvetch about it immediately after.
– See “An Education” twice, and dislike it each time.
– Get a 190/195 on the Sporcle “Countries of the World” quiz.
– Make myself at least sporadically happy.

Things I did not do in the month of November:
– Complete a NaNovel.
– Finish reading Timothy Ferris’s The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report.
– Write poetry.
– Keep my blog consistently updated.
– Get an internship.
– Lose 15 pounds.
– Find sufficient social outlets.
– Wean myself off Facebook.
– Understand anarchism/its appeal.
– Do anything for the world.
– Attend a protest.
– Create things independently.
– Learn something new.
– Have a single worthwhile insight.
– Turn my life around to a significant degree.

The facts speak for themselves.

Over the last three years, I’ve never — never — felt so dissatisfied with a single month. So I’m no longer spending my mornings in tears. Screw that. I should be. My motivation level has dipped below zero: I may be happy, but I’m inert. I spend too much of my time reading online feminist publications, which would be fine if I was actually learning anything about feminism or current events; instead, I’m learning to be constantly jealous of more insightful, eloquent and powerful people than myself, or at the very least reinforcing that tendency. I am tired and bloated and sick of lying curled up on my couch, but I have nowhere to go, and nothing to do. I’d always thought it was ageist when people claimed that self-education would inevitably look like this. I may have to reevaluate my opinion.

If I were in school right now, I’d be getting less sleep. I’d be overworked and deluged in simplistic propaganda. I would be too exhausted to exercise, and inclined to eat even less healthfully than I do now. I’d be trapped between the cogs of the college admissions machine. Goddammit,Grace Llewellyn, I understand this. But I’d also have friends, and boundaries, and a constant flow of information. I’d have a school musical in the afternoons, and a Women’s Advocacy Club, and a literary magazine with more than 20 entries in each field. I’d have music classes that cost neither money nor extracurricular time. I’d be able to wear my one formal gown to my own senior prom; I wouldn’t have to watch it swinging delicately in my closet, a relic of the prom that a few senior friends dragged me to, at a school I had never attended. I was a sophomore at the time. I hated prom.

I was accepted into college early. I could have started this fall — I could be halfway into my freshman year by now. I could have just finished reading Plato’s Republic, and be working through Euclid. But I got nervous about leaving my life behind, got cold feet about starting in college when I had just turned 16, and I deferred for a year. I’d welcome some reminders as to why.

I’d also welcome some input, tongue-in-cheek or genuine, as to how I can make self-education vaguely worthwhile for the next approximately-a-semester. Suggest concrete steps only, please. And don’t tell me to go back to school; that’s no longer an option at this point.

Look, I don’t want to romanticize school. I know that it has some significant problems, problems which will be the subject of another post in the near future. But I’m fed up with the Grace Llewellyns and the figures in my life who tell me that whatever happens to me as an unschooler, it’s better than the “school machine.” It may have been better at the beginning. It may have the potential to be better again, if I can snag a job, find a secure circle of friends, sort myself out psychologically, and/or eat more veggies. But right now, it’s not better, and maybe I’m sick and fucking tired of slapping a smile on my face because my smile is a testimonial for the broad, faceless, monolithic “unorthodox schooling movement.” Maybe I’m a little bit sick of “movements,” and hoping to see a little bit more in the way of “people.”

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  1. * Lily says:

    Sarah,
    the world is your oyster! pick a project, any project, and commit to it. make yourself do it. It can be sewing a dress, writing a play, finding an internship, watching all the movies on the AFI top 100 list, even some sort of self-imposed research paper (to me that sounds horrible, but who knows maybe some people are into that sort of thing.) I know you’ve heard vague-ness like this dozens of times, but you have a ton of free time, you say, so use it to do something freaking awesome. Also, when it comes to finding an internship, you should try Class Acts, an organization that finds artists to do teaching programs at elementary schools, or Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (they’re really chill and have a pretty informal internship program, also the guy who supervises interns there is really attractive). I’m currently at AFI Silver working in the development department, and this summer I interned with the Washington National Opera’s costume shop, which is in Takoma Park. I would highly recommend either of those places either, they’re both awesome, but I don’t know if they’re taking interns right now. The key to getting an internship is not giving up. even if they never call you back, keep calling and calling and emailing and showing up in person until they finally give you a job. Sam, the intern coordinator at AFI said that’s his “first test” when he looks at hiring interns– if they persevere and bother him all the time, he knows they really want to work there. Another project you could get involved with if you’re looking for one, is a girl at Blair named Molly Ellison is starting a student film festival to be held at AFI this spring. She’s super super nice and I’m sure she would welcome all the help she can get. Well, I’m not SURE, because I’m not involved, but that would be my guess. Anyways, don’t know if any of this was helpful but I hope it was. You’re fantastic, talented, and a freakin’ genius, I am sure you will figure something out 🙂
    — Lily

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 5 months ago
    • * thoughtfulrevolution says:

      Dude, thanks for writing this!

      As it happens, I’ve preemptively taken some of your advice; I’m watching the AFI top 100, sewing a blouse, seeking a job, and writing innumerable papers 🙂 I’m holding out for employment at Spring Mill Bakery, but if I don’t get that (and I probably won’t) I’ll totes call up AFI/Nat’l Opera/Amnesty International/etc. And I’m thinking of trying the ACLU again — they may have gotten a more qualified college-aged intern, but I’m sure they can always use some more help around the office…

      In completely unrelated news, we need to hang out sometime. Why? Because you’re seriously cool.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Lily says:

    Sarah,
    that is so great! I have never been to Spring Mill Bakery, but I am sure it holds many a delicious item. and YESYESYES to the hanging out because YOU TOO ARE COOL TO THE NTH DEGREE.
    p.s. every time your blog asks me for a website I feel very unprofessional and not cool because I do not have one. THAT IS ALL.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 5 months ago


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