Happy Father’s Day

I wish all the dads out in the world a super happy father’s day. Thanks for being great and raising most of us to be decent human beings. That takes a lot, and I think I speak for many in saying that not being a degenerate is pretty nice.

My dad is pretty awesome. And really strange. Mostly strange. Like so weird, my goodness.

My dad used to walk into my room all the time and start speaking gibberish. I’d ask what he said, and he’d just yell, “THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING!’ And walk out, leaving me completely lost. Back in high school, which I talk about as if I didn’t graduate a mere three years ago. But back in high school, I told my dad that I registered for Geometry class for my Sophmore yeaer. He got excited, because he’s a math geek. He spent the whole summer randomly telling me, “Side angle side! Angle side angle.” Never gave me an explanation. He only said I would understand eventually. So then class happened. And we get to the proofs and the theorems and the shapes I never cared about. My teacher sure enough said side-angle-side and angle-side-angle, and I exploded in laughter. I couldn’t stop, and it was completely unprovoked from everyone else’s perspective. I was sent out of class to get some water and compose myself because I just could not get it together. Such a mess.

Despite my dad’s weird antics, he’s given me some good advice throughout the years. It was always something simple to the point of being near offensive, but also something you didn’t truly understand until you saw an example. Or a couple examples, because I was hardheaded sometimes. My personal favorites had to be when my dad told me to shut up and listen.

Like any guy, I’m sure my dad hoped he ended up with a son to teach sports and stuff, or at least a daughter with an interest. But I’m awesome in other ways so he deals. It didn’t stop him from at least trying to make me athletic, though. My dad tried teaching me basketball, tennis, racquetball, volleyball, and soccer. I wish now that I had tried a bit harder in playing, because I probably could have been a decent athlete in at least one of those sports. But what I did take away from it was how to shut up and listen. Whenever my dad was teaching me a sport, and telling me to stop doing whatever I was doing wrong, I would try to explain why I made the mistake. After a couple times of making excuses, he called me over and said, “I do not care. You screwed up. It doesn’t matter how you screwed up. Just do it right.” He went on to explain that a lot of people get in their own way by not knowing when to shut up, and listen. If someone is trying to coach you, just listen. Nobody cares to hear you talk about messing up and how. They know you messed up. They’re trying to help you fix it. So stop. Period. He strongly advised I learn that lesson as early as possible.

It made me mad at first, because I didn’t much appreciate being told that, but I started to see. Now I can’t stop seeing. Instances where people just won’t stop talking, and they end up causing more trouble or just making the same mistakes. As if they literally talked themselves into perpetual failure. They never learned to shut up and listen. They were never informed of how little they truly know. I never realized how important being good at taking directions was until I saw so many who were poor at taking direction, and saw where it lead. And I think what some people might perceive that as not thinking for oneself, and being a blind follower of authority. But I never specified where I was “taking” the directions. You can take directions from an underqualified moronic authority, and put them right on the curb, just to continue doing what you know works. If the job is getting done, and getting done well, then you aren’t going to be bothered. It’s only until you open your mouth or try to pick a fight that you get unwanted attention, and increased stipulations.

It’s always the most basic concepts that we all fail at the most. I was lucky to have a father that had a very low BS tolerance, and taught me basic self improvement skills and how to make people not hate you. As well has an appreciation for jazz, some mean swing dance moves, and a love for math and science, and education in general, which has since decreased drastically, but still counts for something. So here’s to my dad. And dad’s all around the globe, with all of their life lessons and quirky personalities.

Making Friends

Fun fact about me: I can’t say I’ve lived in one location for an extended length of time since I was eight years old. Extended period being in my case, no longer than three years. Military brat? Hah! As if I’m going to have a simple explanation for my life happenings. No, that would make too much sense. My mom was a traveling nurse, actually, and I spent some time living with my dad too. You would think someone who moved so often would be a pro at making friends and building relationships. And you’d be wrong!   I’m incredibly shy and live about 75 percent of my life inside my head. The thought of small talk makes me anxious, and upon talking to new people that I find interesting, I suddenly feel like everything I do is abnormal.

How fast am I blinking? Do people breathe like this normally? WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH MY HANDS? THEY’RE JUST…THERE! ARE THEY ALWAYS LIKE THAT? I’m sitting back down.

Do you know what I did when I first transfered to my college? I’d get self conscious sometimes about walking around campus alone, so when someone would come up behind me, I’d start matching their stride so it looked like I was walking with them. Is that as creepy as I’m sure it sounded? I probably should have never admitted that. Well it didn’t last very long so relax! One day I was walking to the student center and this group of I think four guys came up next to me. I matched their speed and walked along with them. But then, from my left I hear, “What what? Yeah! What what,” being mumbled from one guy. Then another one started flicking their hands and flailing to the..just…sorry beatboxing of the other kid. To this day I have no clue what was happening around me. It was only hilarious after a day or two. In the moment I slowed down, let them pass, and just went to a different building, all the while thinking to myself, oh God, what is my life? So that’s how awkward I am when left to my own devices..

Most of my friends had to approach me, and friendship blossomed from there. Well, maybe not right from there. Apparently I’ve made some pretty terrible first impressions over the years. And then they had to weed through several layers of strange to finally see, hey there’s a caring, funny, nice most of the time person at the core of this weirdo. I think I’ll keep her around. The friends that have shared those stories with me of when we first met have ended up some of my closest, so it’s really thanks to the patience of some very special people that I’m not a total recluse.

Of course, I can’t rely on the kindness of strangers all of the time. I have to take initiative and make my own friends at some point. There are a few lovely people I have had the pleasure of knowing that are just beautiful social butterflies, and are really good at talking to people. So much so that, they’ve unknowingly left an impression on me, and I’ve taken what I’ve observed from them and applied to my many moves.

It’s of course obvious to be nice to people. But one of my friends from Florida gave nice a whole new meaning. She moved to Tampa in the middle of sophmore year or so. I took it upon myself to always introduce myself to new students, because if anyone knew how that felt, it was surely me. I knew a decent amount of people in my class, and had a large group of friends but I had been there for two years. This girl practically ran the school in a matter of months, on kindness alone! She is the sweetest person I’ve probably ever met, and everyone just wanted to know her. It was pretty awesome.

Now there’s no way I can exude so much pure joy at every waking moment like she can, she is truly a one in a million kind of lovely. I have that dark edge that often accompanies artistry that I can’t shake. I’m not yet at brooding but I am pretty moody and a bit too transparent. But what I did learn from her that I could do was to get involved in our school. Any club you could think of, she was a member or an officer. She dragged me to a lot of meetings but I couldn’t keep up, nor did I see the difference it made at the time.

When I moved to California during my junior year, I was inspired by my friend to join some clubs. I joined a bunch and even started my own knitting and crocheting club. I made a lot of friends, and I have some amazing, close friends that I would have never met had I not gotten involved in school activities. Like Agent M! I taught her how to knit back in high school. And we became besties thanks to that crazy club. And I made some great friends by going to football games at school too, something I never had any interest in doing until my friend from Tampa asked me to go with her. So yeah, I thank her for getting me to realize those things and making me a more social person by just being too amazing to ignore. I mean, only a vegetable would be impervious to her light. I’m obsessed with this Daily Odd Compliment tumblr, and I found this one fitting..

You inspire me. And strangers, probably. Also, friends and stalkers. You are the inspiration to many.  -daily odd complement

I have another friend whom I’ve learned from. I can’t tell you how we met, because I don’t remember. It was my second semester in college though…or maybe it was my first semester? Third? I don’t even know when. See, he just starts talking as if he’s always known you. It rubs some people the wrong way, but I love talking to strangers, and I don’t understand how to make small talk, so it was a perfect tactic for me! Also, he gives really good hugs, so we got along great. I swear that kid is a social ninja. He infiltrates your social life, and seamlessly assimilates until you can’t remember a time when he wasn’t there.

Something I don’t always realize is that my thoughts aren’t anything novel. Most everyone gets nervous talking to new people. What do I say? What do they like? But really, what does it matter? My friend taught me that it doesn’t. I don’t think I even knew his name for a week or two after “meeting” him. We’d just start talking when we saw each other. And he became friends with everyone around me in the same manner, and we never remembered different.

It’s a rather unconventional approach to friendship, and not everyone responds enthusiastically. But it’s fun. And the relationships that do grow out of those random interactions become the most interesting. Because if someone is willing to just start speaking and joking with you as if you’ve been doing so for years, they’re probably the type of person who’s adventurous and a little crazy. Which just means super happy fun time had by all involved. And many of those times have been had since then. It’s tough to find an Odd Compliment just odd enough to fit this friend, but I think this one should suffice.. Like if you were to sum up all of the conversations had with him and my other friends, it’d probably amount to this.

"Imaginary Life"

Well I’ve moved yet again since then, and I’m excited to see what kind of friendships I build here in Philadelphia. My first year at school was pretty busy, but next semester should be more chill, and I intend on joining some clubs, and actually attending meetings for the clubs I’ve already signed up for. There’s even a knitting club here that I’m excited to meet with. And summer break is one ten page paper away, so I’ll be out and about just making inside jokes with random people in the coffee shops I frequent and at all the concerts and festivals I plan on attending. This should be fun. Any stories particularly noteworthy, I’ll maybe share. Yeah..cool things.