Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Wallflower and December Parties Galore

It started in November with a Thanksgiving dinner

then December arrived.....

Beer pong night
Hanukkah lighting of candles
Tree House Christmas party for the campus
Chinese friends' Christmas hot pot with two cakes
Swedish Advent Coffee
English Department's Christmas Banquet
English Department's Holiday Performance
Christmas Eve dinner
Christmas Day brunch
Boxing Day party

Of the 11 invitations, I only went to 6 of them.

In perks of being a wallflower, chbosky wrote, "Sometimes people use thoughts to not participate in life."

I participate in life. I just don't participate in every single thing. I am a home body, enjoy being close to home and want to turn in early. I don't like walking empty streets at night or taking a taxi back to campus. In Africa I never went dancing because of the problem of how to get back home safely. So yeah I guess my thoughts and fears of being out late keep me from participating, but also my body keeps me from participating in a night life. During social events especially ones held at night, my energy drops drastically. If you want to get up at 5 am and go for a run or lift weights, I am wide awake, but if you want to party and laugh the night away I am not the gal for that.

I participate in things that I like to do in life.

I like dressing up in costumes and even if I don't know how to put on makeup, I will attempt to do it. The time I tried to draw vines all over my face using black eyeliner or the time I tried to paint big eyelashes like in Clockwork Orange or do the makeup of Dr. Frank-N-Furter or glue on a fake beard always looked super amateurish and not very cool but hey I like dressing up.

I like coloring with oil pastels and will do 20 paintings of the same scene never getting better coz umm... my art has never been through an art class and is a bit like that of a 4 year old child. You should see how I colored my Christmas stocking or how I cut out gingerbread cookies freehand when I didn't have a cookie cutter. At least, I have supportive friends who don't judge.

I like to dance and have no idea how I look.

I like to learn about different cultures and interact with the local community. I rarely decline offers even if I know it might be boring. It is the way to start integrating into the local community and to make new friends.

I participate in things I like to do in life.

After reading, Salinger's Catcher in the Rye in high school, I vowed never to be phony, never to have phony conversations that fill time and space, never to kiss up to the big wigs. I think this is why in America, I have a hard time making small talk and have a hard time creating a professional network. This is why parties full of strangers is not for me. Most of the time in order to get to know a stranger at a party, small talk has to be made. One can't just dive right into intimate topics.

This strong dislike for small talk only exists when I am in America. For some reason, in an international community, I almost never have problems with the idea of just chatting the time away about nothing important. It is a way to practice my language skills and plus living in other countries, I am a visitor who feels I should "in Rome do as the Romans do." In China and West Africa, small talk and sitting for hours talking about the weather are important aspects in being part of a community. In America, I am an American and can make my own rules on how to be an American. Internationally I feel the push to conform and respect the norms, traditions, and culture of the place I am visiting.

I do think a lot, but I don't think that I am like chbosky's wallflower who thinks too much failing to participate in life. There are times when thinking gets the best of me and my anxiety rises, but in order to cope with that I just ask myself the question, "What is the worse that can happen?"

I answer, take a deep breath and get through whatever it is that is causing my anxiety.

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