I think it all started when I began watching Dora the Explorer as a child, that incessant urge to grab a backpack and slink down a rabbit hole somewhere. It was never about escaping anything, and it still isn't, but there has always been this dire need for me to go somewhere. I want to travel over oceans only using kayak ores and vines (the plant species; not the social media masterpieces). I want to camp out across the street at movie premieres, eat baked potato soup at a different Panera than I normally do, learn how to say "you're rad" in French, go to a taping of Ellen and lay in my bed for three hours after I wake up, watching Netflix and eating pie. It isn't only really important to mentally transport yourself, but really entertaining.
I feel like a lot of people rely on the transformation of their emotions, rather than the transit of them. There is so much pressure on individuals to believe certain ways, to morph their mindsets into positive rungs on the ladder that will only take you up. That's pretty inefficient, in my opinion. Why go up when you could go all around? Why stop at one direction?
Why even start boy band references?
It infatuates and compels me to understand that there is a Milky Way of potential in every movement urged by our small, biased brains. It has become so relevant that teenagers are stuck in this vortex of stillness; a gust of routine and reasoning that is scheduled into their daily lives by adults and administers. We don't necessarily have the option to choose our every moment, but I did learn recently that we, as people, make thousands of decisions every week. Whether it is between studying an extra 10 minutes or how many episodes of Gossip Girl you should watch in one sitting, it's all on you.
The people in charge usually make decision-making seem like such a pressing matter, a deadline in our going-to-print lives that isn't even usually determined by our own capabilities. I don't think it's supposed to be as daunting as we think it is. It usually isn't a choice to feel how you feel, more specifically, to feel how you are. There isn't a list of options on your bathroom mirror every morning, ready and waiting to dismiss all the negative ideas in your head or the parenthetical bags under your eyes. You can make amendments to the situation: lightly conceal the obnoxious reality of the circumstances, put on some hardcore Bon Jovi, do the things you love to do, hold the hands you most especially want to fill or go to sleep on clouds of pillows for the rest of the day. I just don't think you should do what you don't actually want to do.
I really am a firm believer in reasonably doing what you believe in. For instance, I wasn't feeling too well the Sunday of the Grammys: lots of moping around, procrastinating and sassing entertainment news coverage of the Red Carpet. But then, it all just puzzle-pieced itself together. Taylor Swift performed "All Too Well," and Lorde won everything. It gave me that warm, fuzzy caterpillar feeling in my chest to see a 17-year-old girl hold those gold and glamorous awards in her so-called "convulsing arms."
She was specifically an inspiration that night. Everyone on my Twitter feed was criticizing her dance moves, like she was supposed to censor her arms so people felt less awkward, less keen to the uncomfortable. And it hit me then. I want to be more uncomfortable.
I want to do the things I don't want to do.
I was taking a test in one of my classes in school recently, and I just dropped my pencil, held my breath and stopped everything else in the world. I knew the answers, and I wasn't stuck on anything in particular. In fact, I couldn't stop moving. My head was imploding upon the double-spaced fonts and numerical bubble-filled answers. They were charcoal instead of clear, smeared instead of smiled. And in that moment, I realized I don't want to do this. I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS. I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS. As passionate as an Oprah Winfrey Show audience member going to Australia, I didn't want to erase the incorrect answers, reread the short responses or generally think about anything I was being quizzed over. I wanted to get up, walk out the door and eat a bag of chips like my life depended on my happiness instead of how many credit hours I had.
The thing is, I couldn't do that. Nobody could. It has become apparent to me in the last two years of high school that you can't just ignore the things you don't want to do. I've been raised by a majority of adults who have instilled a sense of tolerance in me, an idea that you just have to deal with what you're dealt and hope the chips fall in a neat stack. But, as I've gotten older, pushed more envelopes, and tolerated too much to sit still for the rest of my life, I have learned that it isn't tolerance that sinks its teeth into the solution of every problem, but the act of trespassing.
Travel with your life events, positive or negative. Interact with them. Interview them, go on a nice road trip together, inhabit them, fix them, form them, take them to a taping of Ellen and hopefully like them enough to be friends.
Let's start now. Let's go on an adventure.