These past few weeks, I had been feeling a little restless and frustrated with Minnesota. It was finally getting to me. At the point when I had just begun to feel comfortable in my new surroundings, I had also turned the corner from the excitement and thrill of discovering a new place. It was like the point in a relationship after the initial buzz has died down a little. Then you start to notice all of the things that you actually hate about that person. He’s always late. She always smells like a French whore house. Those little things can really just pile up and piss you off.
That’s how I had started to feel about Minnesota. Well, not the entire state, but what I know of it. The little things started to really, really piss me off. I even drafted an entire blog post about it. As we are all well aware, I am a very emotional person, and my surroundings are quite a bit more important to me than they should be. Thus, my being pissed with my environment is very, very dangerous.
Last night I talked through it with some people who really get me, I had a wonderfully cathartic cry, and I washed my face and went to sleep.
I woke up this morning, and I decided to go for a run. For those of you who don’t know this, Minnesota is cold. Like, really fucking cold. The kind of cold that instantly freezes the inside of your nose when you step outside. The kind of cold that just hurts, and causes actual pain if you’re not dressed appropriately. (Guys wearing shorts and flip flops- you’re not impressing anyone. No one wants to see your blue toes.) Therefore, my spontaneous decision to go for a run (outside) was a little out of the ordinary.
I put on my Under Armour and gloves, grabbed my iPhone, and decided that today would be the day to wear by bitch socks. Not only are they adorably sassy, but they have some pretty awesome memories
attached to them. I laced up my Nike’s and set off on a journey across the Mississippi.
I got to the Sketchy Bridge, and I felt pretty warm. I stopped half way across the river just because the Mississippi looked so badass. It was so dark, but the snow around it was so bright. I don’t really know how to describe it – it was just beautiful. It was powerful. It was pretty cool…running across this huge mass of ice water, listening to the very best running song of all time
. I then ran through the West Bank, and ran back across the Covered Bridge (I still don’t know their names. I just refer to them as the Sketchy Bridge and the Covered Bridge.) and through campus, and thought to myself, Oh hey. That wasn’t so bad. Let’s do it again!
(The “us” being me and Sydney Carton
…we do a lot of things together. He just helps me evaluate myself and helps me keep my cool.) So, we did it again. The second time I was crossing the bridge, I stopped again. There was no one else on the bridge, and it made me feel so powerful. I then resumed my little run, repeated the same loop, and
defrosted on the yoga mat next to my bed.
I then showered for approximately seventy minutes, applied a Body Shop tea tree face mask, and moisturized the shit out of my skin because that run sucked every ounce of moisture from me. I then met up with two other students from my class to work on this week’s problem set. We did ours independently and compared results, and I had a completely different analysis from them. It scared the shit out of me, and I really doubted my ability to ever study linguistics because I came at it from a totally different direction, and these guys knew their stuff. The chick I was working with is really, really good at this, and she realized that the right solution was actually a combination of our analyses. I was like, Oh hey. I’m not dumb or useless. I’m actually a necessary element to this solution! High five, Sydney! I didn’t really know the girl I was working with very well until today, and she’s actually really interesting. She was all snappy and kind of frustrated with my immense lack of understanding in terms of her analysis, and she let it show. It made me so, so happy. Every time she let me see how she really felt about me (which is not 100% pleased), I kind of wanted to hug her. But I didn’t, because the Jackal would not have appreciated that.
After we successfully completed the analysis and I had finished my vanilla chai, I went to the piercing shop and got my lip pierced. Just kidding. But I did go to the piercing shop, because the second ear piercing that I got in September had been acting a little weird and I needed to get it checked out. The piercing guy asked me where I was from, and we started talking about his time in NY. He asked me what I thought of MN, and I told him that I liked it, and then he asked me which I preferred. He seemed like an alright dude, so I told him the truth – that I have no idea. I told him what I liked and disliked about each place, but that even if right now I am feeling a little bummed in terms of my relationship with Minnesota, I need to be here. He thought everything I said was pretty accurate, except for he was a native Minnesotan, and he doesn’t really fit the bill in terms of the (usually accurate) stereotypes. Piercing Guy then told me his story, and it was really cool. He told me that he felt the same way when he moved back to MN, and he couldn’t connect with a lot of his old friends because they were “bros” and he had deviated from the bro culture. He told me about a few places I should check out to find “more people like us.” I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, because I am not a man and I do not have neck tattoos, but it still felt good to hear some freaky dude refer to me and him as “us.”
The biggest issue with my relationship with Minnesota was that it just couldn’t really appreciate a lot of what makes up the best parts of me. I suck at so, so many things. I’m not that nice. I’m not that attractive. I’m not that smart. But there are a few parts of me that I know with certainty are awesome – the parts that make me happy with who I am. The people who stay in my life are the ones who can see that, and the ones in whom I see the parts that really shine. Minnesota and I were having a really hard time seeing one another that way.
One of those parts of me is my appreciation of things that are greater than myself. I can count on two hands the number of times in my life that I have literally been in awe, and could have just stared at something for hours. I can also count on two hands the number of times I have tasted something that I did not know could ever exist, as well as the number of times I have actually said to myself, “You will never, ever forget this moment.” I would try to explain some of these moments, and I would be brushed off as “Oh, well that’s just Marissa.” Minnesota would mistake my desire to express the magnitude of those moments and their importance to me as bragging or trying to seem superior, and it would not try to access or understand those parts of me. It couldn’t appreciate this part of me that makes who I am. Today on the bridge, I had one of those moments handed to me by Minnesota itself. A moment that I’ll be able to return to every time I get my lazy ass in gear and run across Sketchy Bridge in freezing temperatures.
Another part of me that I value is my ability to connect to people. Do you know how hard it is to connect to something that isn’t being honest with you? It’s really hard. I had been desperately searching for a person to be honest with me. “Minnesota nice” is alive and well, but I tend to forget that just because someone is being nice does not mean that they are also being honest. Minnesota does not like to offend me, and that’s fine. But when you cross the line from politeness to untruthfulness, it just makes me endlessly confused and frustrated. Today, Chick from Linguistics was brutally honest with me. When I wasn’t understanding something, she was frustrated, and she let it show. Not in a rude way, but in a way that revealed her complete transparency. It felt so, so good. To top it all off, even though she was tired of explaining the same thing to me over and over again, she kept doing it until I understood. She was transparent, but also determined to help me understand. She was both good, and honest.
Another part of me that Minnesota just really couldn’t grasp was my lack of interest in anything under the umbrella of “trivial” or “petty.” I don’t laugh at things that I don’t find funny. I don’t use sarcasm because it’s anger’s ugly cousin, and lying to me is no form of humor. It’s just deception. And I don’t find it funny. I spend way too much time thinking about what I want to happen to my body after I die, WWSD (What Would Sydney Do?), and how I can use whatever scraps of intellect that have been given to me to prevent bad things from happening to good people. Some would say I take life too seriously, but it’s just how I’m wired. I smile when I’m happy or when I’m trying to be, and I don’t feel the need to regularly validate my emotions by telling everyone on Facebook just how much I love one person. And I don’t know that much about him, but Piercing Guy seemed like he “takes life a little too seriously” as well. He could just be really weird and a good listener with a good story, but nevertheless, he seemed like he got it. Maybe he didn’t, but it seemed to me like he did. Maybe that’s what he meant by “people like us.” I don’t know.
It’s certainly no coincidence that the day after the Great Catharsis of Spring Semester 2013 was the day that I seem to have resolved my problems with Minnesota. I talked to a few people yesterday, a few of the ones who always know exactly what to say to push me over the edge and make me get over myself, and they all said that I had to stop looking at the bad. It’s such a cliché, but my life is 85% how I choose to look at things. If today had happened a few days ago, I guarantee that I would not have chosen to see the value in these experiences because I would have been drowning in my own pessimism and disappointment in Minnesota. Last night I made the decision to stop being a dick and to start being happy, so I saw all of the beauty of today. Today was beautiful.
Have a beautiful day.
(I just posted this, and stretched my arms back because I’ve been chillin in Starbucks for like 2.5 hours. I looked down, and far too many buttons on my favorite shirt had become undone to reveal the obnoxious pink bow on my bra. I have no idea how long my shirt has been like this. That’s the problem with hanging out with literary characters…they don’t tell you this shit.)