the next bus doesn’t
come for another half hour.
i’d be late to work
all i have to do
is strategize a pathway
and try not to die
i see the bus. it’s
coming around the corner.
it’s now or never
i shouldn’t have left the house
life: 1. me: 0.
I was going through old journals and I had a page from March last year with nothing written on it, save for the words “be ruthless.”
I perceived ruthlessness as going after what you want at any cost. Willing yourself to cut out distractions and hurdles keeping you from success; whether that success be getting into grad school or getting a grilled cheese.
I thought it sounded inspirational and cute so I made this graphic, spending close to 45 minutes on it. Not gonna lie, the majority of that time was spent choosing fonts. I finished it, saved it, and only then did I think to look up the word ruthless. “Ruthless. Adj. Having or showing no compassion for others. Cruel.”
YIKES. Okay, that wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I really should have Googled that beforehand.
I don’t think you have to be cruel to others to get to the top, but you may have to be inwardly ruthless from time to time.
This year brings with it a great deal of uncertainty for myself and many other recently- and soon-to-be-graduated seniors. The rest of our lives start right now. Be ruthless in your endeavors but be as compassionate as you possibly can. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I’m going to Jordan in 10 days. This is still such a wild concept. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and planning on and off since last June. Even as I sit here with my plane ticket in my hand, my Jordanian cellphone number memorised, and an equal mix of nervousness and excitement: it still doesn’t feel real.
Everything has essentially fallen into place. All that is left to do is pack. But I still feel so distanced from it all that I can’t bring myself to. Maybe it’s the lack of ultimate panic: I’ve never been the type to pack for anything longer than 24 hours out. In 9.5 days from now expect another post that will most likely be titled, “WHY DIDN’T I START PACKING EARLIER?” or “WILL I EVER LEARN?”
Overall, I’ve realised that I don’t like not knowing what to expect. The ability to be able to carefully prepare every single event and interaction has proven helpful to me for the past 21 years so this upcoming experience will take a lot of letting go and allowing whatever may happen to happen. Just like Charlotte mentioned, there are a lot of things about the next few months that I have no idea about. I’m a wealth of Jordanian/Amman-related trivia that probably won’t help me while I’m in-country but might prove useful if I ever happen to be on an episode of Jeopardy on juuuust the right night.
I’ve pestered everyone I know who has ever been to Jordan or spent a considerable amount of time in the Middle East and I always received the same warnings of “relax, you’ll be fine” and “my experience may not line up with yours.” Which I know to be true but have yet to internalise it. Relaxing is just the first step out my comfort zone that I’m going to have to take and definitely not my last.
Of course, all lives matter. However, given the continuing injustice and violence in our society that is disproportionately faced by people of color–specifically black people, BLACK LIVES MATTER is important.
Individual bigotry and structural racism have to end. We all have too much to lose and so much to gain. Do we want to challenge other evils such as poverty, sexism, war, and homophobia? Of course we do. But when one of us is chained, none of us are free.
As Yoko Ono said, “A dream we dream alone is only a dream, but the dream we dream together is a reality.” Don’t let basic human compassion and equality continue to be just a dream. Let’s reason and work together to be the change.