I’m two different people in real life; the creepy stranger you only see in midnight showings of horror films or the hopeless romantic with an array of bad puns. It’s this epic fight inside an already cramped head on who I should be, which to the outside world looks like a warm smile. The freaky kind, think Joker with a crowbar.
First impressions are everything aren’t they?
Taking hold of my awkward situation, I thought that video games could alleviate my mumbling. By practicing communication skills in a fake world, one could find the courage to talk to people. I would chat it up with the fire team leader, become fast friends, beat the game, and become Johnson, destroyer of darkness (muahaha). It was going to be glorious and my name would reverberate down the hallways. And then my plan went downhill when I still couldn’t talk to people.
I am Johnson, and I am in the constant pursuit of sleep. This isn’t my first time writing a blog post, but this little message in a bottle is the first one sent out to literally hundreds out people I have never even seen before.
I started my blogging days back in September, it was our teacher’s idea to throw us all into these metaphorical seas infested with critics, weirdos, and potential fans all dressed up as sharks. “A great idea”, we shouted as we eagerly messaged each other on Facebook that night, “Brilliant”, we said as we opened up a new blog draft. And upon looking at the immense empty space that we had to fill in two hours before the submission closed, chaos ensued. New chats opened up everywhere on Facebook; all of which said the same thing, “inspire me dude”. Of course, if by inspiration they meant searching up pointless gifs on giphy, then I was their equally confused minstrels
The next day we sulked with our heads low, defeated. We became zombies for the day, only lifting our heads to give the occasional stink eye to the teacher. More homework? How nice. The situation quickly escalated when some of us opened up the dashboard to find one person viewed their posts. Those lucky few leaned back into their chairs, a little bit too satisfied with what they’ve brought into the world. While the rest of us stuck in the pit of writer’s block despaired over our apparent lack of artistic writing. Fun times
One month ago, we set out on a quest to paint a mural in the English office. The walls were barren; I thought they were a little sad. English teachers this cool* shouldn’t be living in this squalor. Plus, if that affects our grades then God help me I will paint the wall to death. Henry Thoreau once said
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
What he means is that the universe is subjected to our creativity, our wills. If you think that the world beats you down as a square peg into a circular hole—you’re wrong. The answer lies within ourselves. To change our own perspective about the world. It’s not literature that’s boring, it’s the words in between. We started this innovation project to change the world. Not just any one, but the ones our teachers present to us. Because if they are our guides into this unsteady world of man and his fallacies, why shouldn’t the journey be colorful?
Photo ©2008 by Matt Niemi (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
I started counting the minutes until the decisive battle. I steeled myself by holding my mechanical pencil more tightly than ever. Two minutes. The teacher had moved from the front of the room in front of dozens of students to his computer. Asking the first two teams to ready themselves. One minute. I looked over my shoulder to my debating partner, his eyes calm; mine were darting back and forth. 10 seconds.
B.R.A.W.L. had started and it was though the room was plunged into this unnerving silence.
As though this was the final battle in a video game.
There are eight days left between me and a new school year. Like each one for the past 10 years, it has always been a bitter sweet conclusion. On one hand, you finally get 3 months of rest. On the other, everything is essentially reshuffled as though high school was just a deck of cards. Just a simple stack of aces and jacks. But it’s not. We’d like to pretend it’s otherwise
I’m standing right now on the precipice of another new beginning. Metaphorically, it’s a long jump ahead of me. So, I need to look back. Right now. And determine whether or not I did enough this year.
There’s a little spark of inspiration that comes along in every conversation we have. It’s like a little light bulb that you look back at to understand what’s happening in the other person’s life. The flickering light within us might be empathy or a narcissist desire to just hear your own accomplishments. But personally, I think that every conversation isn’t just a one-on-one experience. The words we speak and the ones we hear are flying swords. All of which are flung back and forth between two friends in an attempt to hear each other out. And to find someone who understands in the confusion of reality.
Our society can be more easy, right? Please?