Donnerstag, 29. Januar 2015

the meaning of meanness

'keep it mean - keep them keen'. someone just recently said to me.
and although i hate to admit it, i actually think he is right.

why is it that we always want this one person to like us, that never will? why is it that we always want to be best at the thing that was never ours? i am a girl and i am not a bad looking one - and yet, i also remember these couple of times desperately wanting a guy that just wouldn't look my way. 
i could have everyone else. 
i could have the only one! (which i fortunately ended up with), and yet, here i was - wanting it. i would change everything - my look, my hair, my character, my behaviour, my habits, just to have him. try to be better, try to be good enough, being sure that i will finally get it. the thing i can never have. that is not made for me. why?

i feel that this is a part of my personality (or maybe, even just a girl's personality), to yearn for unreachable stuff. i don't mean a bag, or a shoe (alright, it might have been a shoe :)
being a scientist, at least for now, i am asking myself if academic science is exactly like this - does it keep us interested only because it is being a bitch? 
and so we try and try and try. all over again. we do not give up. we never quit. we never look the other way - only because there is a glimpse of a hope that journals, grants and fellowships once upon a time will finally look our way.
and walking upon these sticks and stones, we keep hearing this: you are a scientist, that means you are a fighter! i know you can do it! i know you are strong enough!
oh, how I hate these sentences. how much do i want to just be. not 'strong' or 'a fighter'. not even a weak little girl. how about the right to just be myself? sometimes strong, sometimes weak - sometimes refusing to give up, and sometimes not even being able to stand up from the ground.

i have also recently discovered a courage to give it up. it takes a lot more that to continue doing the thing you are used to do. it takes a lot more to stay the way you truly are. without trying to lose weight and to keep your long hair, just because the guy you want might like it this way. who the hell cares? he doesn't. 
and science doesn't, too. for sure.
i have met a person who just quit academia. and i have met many afterwards who also did. they did not die of shame and no one called them losers. quite the opposite, most of the people are jealous of their 'life after'. they will just never admit it, because they secretly hope to get their share faster because the air is getting thinner, the higher you go.
after all - you would be really glad if a girl this guy fancies, finally went away or got married, right? so now, it's only you and him, and you got a chance. 
so you think. 
but actually, you know what is the only thing that happens? he will find another girl he fancies. and it will not be you. again. 
this is not about how you look and not about how you can look. this is about what you are and what he is. different lives, different paths, different interests, different sexual preferences, different face and different chemistry. 
and so, shattered, you finally understand - you will not win this one. even if you always won before. no matter, how well you fight (and believe me, i know how to fight).
it's just that, sometimes, he is not that into you. 
and it's just that, sometimes, the thing that you have been doing your entire life, might not be yours to do. as simple as that.
after all, if you are having a hard time doing something, maybe, only maybe - you are just not good at it! as simple as that. and no shame in it at all. it only means that your abilities are better and best elsewhere. 
there are so many ways to fight. there are so many ways to do science. and i am not forgetting the overall unfairness of nowadays science that plays a fair share in demotivation of young scientists, but this is not a motivation speech!.. i am asking you and myself - don't you want to find out what you are really amazing at? go on and take the big leap! jump. run. play. look left instead of right.
our endless scientific education is fantastic for teaching us to cope with frustrations. it is tremendously helpful in showing us how to stay focused and ‘think with your gut’ (alias scientific intuition). 
but it does this one thing to us: after all these years staying concentrated on the sun, we forget the sky around it. not to mention the clouds. 
see, it so happens that when you drop something and move your gaze from the tunnel in front of you - you can finally look down and see the right path that has been underneath you all the time. 
you might continue into the tunnel, if this is the right thing for you. fair enough. but you will also have the choice to stop and turn around. maybe it will be the right path, maybe not - who knows? stay or not stay, this is for everyone alone to decide.
but this is the thing. when you finally give up on this guy and leave the party, he suddenly looks your way. and offers you a cup of coffee. for free.
because, you see, 'keep it mean - keep them keen' works both ways. 
the power is all yours.