The Great Wall may be one of the most overlooked wonders of the world. Standing on the wall- tucked away high in the mountains- the last time I felt this way I was peering down at the Grand Canyon. What surprises me most about the Wall is how falls on the peaks of mountain ranges. How hard it must have been to construct a wall extending hundreds of miles supported only by the steep slope of a mountain…
Moments that leave me in awe- they are the worth living for…As long as I remain perceptive of all the different forms of beauty and what comprises them.
I have never felt more joy than in this moment, when I feel my viewpoint is no longer focused on myself but on others. If I am thinking of myself, I am contemplating how I can better myself so that I might be able to give more to others. I have never cared more about other people- not truly- until these last few weeks.Until now, I don’t think I knew how to.
This may bring shame to the perspective I used to have. I feel exposed and slightly embarrassed. But that’s the truth; I never knew how to invest myself in another person without expecting self-centered pleasure in return- without being in want of attention or affection. I never thought I’d perform a task for any other reason. I’m ashamed to say this. However, I finally feel ready to admit it to myself and to others. I hated myself for functioning in this way. Sometimes I still do.
I’m glad I’ve found a part of me that I can admire again. I’m relieved to discover a part of of me I never knew had potential- the part of me that can love others selflessly and honestly.
Teaching is something my 15-year-old self would have never considered as part as her future. My heart would pump out of my chest, my face would turn red, and I would sweat profusely every time I had to speak in front of others. If someone even looked at me for more than a second, my embarrassment was apparent to everyone. It is weird to think that that person was me…I no longer identify with any of those feelings. And yet, when I was feeling them, I thought I would be bullied by fits of embarrassment forever. A few years ago, I stopped feeling this way for the most part. After teaching for just three weeks, I don’t ever feel this way.
I thrive in silliness, in drawing attention to myself- so that other people might feel liberated enough to do the same. So that other people might stop looking at themselves, and begin observing the situation from above. . . so that others might begin to love themselves as I have begun to love myself.
I’m speaking in front of crowds of people. I’m acting, teaching, making a fool of myself for everyone to see. I’m being pushed to all my uncomfortable limits… and I’m loving every bit of it.
I only experience true joy when I am challenging myself, surprising myself, and becoming proud of myself. I only experience true joy when I see my joy spread to other people, when I know they have received some benefit from my efforts.
Why is this? I think it’s because I love life more when I give to other peiple, even if it’s hard at times. I think I receive more when I give more. Not in a victimized way, not anymore. I’m giving because deep down I actually want to- not because the act is expected from me. I’m exhausted and I’m happy. It’s all worth it.
Maybe some days my effort feels wasted or ignored or ineffective. But those days when I put everything I have out on the table, the days when I hold no part of me back, reaching as far as I can reach, I lean back and admire what I have done, and what others have done because I extended all of myself.
I think my mind is supposed to be shared. My ideas, my love- what use are they if I keep them hidden from veiw? They have the potential to be a drop of red dye in a glass of water- dye that instantly spreads and is absorbed by the surrounding matter. That matter is the mind of each one of my students. And that dye is every thought I’ve ever had, capable of innundating the minds of others, and capable of so much more than I can predict.
I’m currently on the train, headed towards Atlanta. In New York, I met up with a Couchsurfer from Dubai. His name was Ahmed. He moved to Manhattan two days prior to get his masters in Business.
The first day we met, we walked throughout Central Park. After an hour or so of walking, we sat down on the cold concrete steps in front of a fountain surrounded by ice sculptures. I began explaining to him why I wanted to visit Tucson- for the Rock and Gem Show. I told him a street fair came to Eugene last year and I bought an amethyst for the hell of it. I had an inspiring conversation with the owner of the gem booth. The owner had informed me of the Rock and Gem Show; he swore I should attend before I die. I told the owner, “I’ll see you there!” in the same way I tell my sister, in Italy, that I’ll see her tomorrow. Just a silly promise, an empty promise. But I have the choice to act on it, and that’s what I’m doing.
From the top of the Rockefeller Center
Mid sentence, Ahmed interrupted me. “I”m sorry,” he said, “I can’t help myself,” and suddenly brought his face towards mine to kiss me deeply. This stranger… on couchsurfing…who I just met an hour ago. I thought our conversation was going well but that was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even get the vibe that he liked me. Life is unpredictable. I broke away and offered a confused smile.”Wow,” I said.
I get mixed feelings about Ahmed because he has a default form of expression. It doesn’t fluctuate much. It’s hard to know what he’s thinking when there is a lack of emotion behind his words. I don’t know how much I like him because I don’t know how much I understand him. But apparently he’s my boyfriend right now- ha! When I went with my last host to see Isabella’s comedy show, she spoke about how important it is to choose the correct tone and emotion behind what we say.
“Where are you?” and “WHERE ARE YOU?!” make me feel two entirely different ways.
JP Morgan Museum
I may have an inclination that we’re not compatible with each other- but it is really nice to, for once, attempt to maintain a relationship. And when the other person has such strong, intense feeling for me… Why enter into a relationships I’m unsure about? Why not? I guess I don’t know why not yet.
People are so much more than their body language suggests. He barely looked me in the eyes. It’s a shame…because his eyes were so beautiful. I try not to come across as intimidating but I can only do my best. “Bye Rachelle,” he whispered, as we went our separate ways. It’s ironic that he was darting eye-contact so frequently– and yet was attentive enough to remember my name.
On the way to L.A (last night) I sat next to an older man. My guess is late 50’s. Black. Wearing a top hat. Fixes airplanes. Several years in the Navy. His life was engaging, and his personality was gentle and humorous. Laugh was incredible. I loved that he laughed so hard at his own jokes. Like he waited to see if I thought it was funny and then full-fledgedly joined in, his deep tone echoing throughout the train.
He listens better than anyone I’ve ever met. So attentive to each word I spoke– as if he entered my thoughts and felt them before he heard them. He talked a lot about himself, but when the conversation turned back to me, he was like a switch: Now, now it’s about you, and I am listening, and I want to know what you have to say. I want to be there with you. That’s what I heard while I was talking.
His wife died. He re-married. Was on the train headed to meet his 2nd wife, who was in the hospital dying as well. This man made my heart light up and my smile brighten. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his laugh, for a reason I can’t explain. He spoke a lot about how his wife uses all his money for “art.” I could sense he resented her for this. He is a good guy and was being taken advantage of. I understood. And it’s a tough job–masking bitterness. I struggle as well.