If you are still waiting for your lycoris letter, don’t fret. I told you it might take months (and it sure did), but that I would not forget you (and I sure haven’t). Today I am sitting down to write some more letters, and within the week I hope to send out a huge batch.
simply-potter: I would still like to receive my letter, but I have moved since submitting my question. Is there any way to submit a change of address...? Thanks!
Yes, you’re not the only one who has moved since asking for a letter. Please email me with your new address. =) —Darcy (wyverneye at gmail dot com)
PS: Thanks for your patience. We’re halfway done, so your letter will be written soon.
You asked why are flowers such a big deal (instead of, for example, root vegetables).
First of all, let me just say I laughed for a good five minutes at the hilarious way you phrased your question. So thanks for that!
So, flowers. Really, why don’t people offer a bouquet of carrots on birthdays? They’re pretty and edible – everybody wins! Sadly for carrots, though, our obsession with flowers is thousands of years old, to the point where today their presence is so ubiquitous we don’t even think about it. I think this is due to two reasons (though I’m no authority so this will be just guesswork).
First (and most obvious): they are pretty. This may not seem like much, but we have been transfixed by beauty for as long as we have been people, or so I suppose, and it’s easier to bring something beautiful home in the form of soft, little colorful flowers than in the form of oceans or mountains. The second is that flowers are one of the first and more noticeable signs that Spring is back, and I imagine that in foregone times where there were no calendars and people depended very much on what Nature decided to give them that year (roll in offerings to the gods for a good crop, or for a milder winter), the coming of Spring was a big deal. It meant the worst has passed and abundance was coming. So flowers became not only pretty , but an extremely positive symbol.
And then there’s the corollary to this. Over time, the whole custom of giving flowers as gifts began to blossom (har har). There was even a whole language for it during the Victorian times, as you may know. Like, giving away a bouquet of coriander or lime was apparently the way to try to get in someone’s bloomers. This brings me to my next point. What is light, soft, pretty, and mainly used for decoration and reproduction? That’s right, flowers (flowers are the plant’s genitals – how bucolic, right?) and if you were born a few centuries ago, you’d probably say “women” too. That’s why I think the popularity of root vegetables is so slight: even today we associate flowers with femininity and femininity with frailty, beauty and sex (and thus, flowers became associated with humanity’s favorite way to pass the time). We don’t even think of giving flowers to men, right? (And that issue calls for a whooole other debate.)
So yeah. We carry these habits from many many years ago, and its grip on us still remains the same. We still take pleasure in smelling and looking at flowers, and the sexual connotation has become largely unconscious – just the way we like it. So we give them to relatives and friends. But what do you think of starting a new trend where people give away blueberries instead ( with a little card saying “hey – you’re good for my heart”) or at least flowers in pots (“hey – my love for you is the alive, long-lasting kind”)? Now that might make me drop my bloomers.
I admit I was confused by your question at first: did you want to know the best life experiences I’d had by the time I was 18, or while I was 18? If you’d asked 18-year-old me, that summer, what my best life experiences had been, I would have named meeting my best friend or joining the high school marching band or performing in the school musicals or taking the Spanish class’s optional trip to Mexico. But what’s the point of knowing that? Surely you wanted to know what I did WHEN I was 18. That turning-point age. Was this a wondering about yourself, wondering where to go next, wondering if other people’s stories-of-18 might give you some ideas?
That makes sense, but also makes me hesitant. I’d tell you my simple, one-line answer, which is “when I went to college,” but there’s so much TO that— so much that could be misunderstood. After all, college certainly wasn’t a non-stop laugh-fest: there was personal drama, difficult classes, boring classes, identity crises, bouts of anemia brought on by fear of eating the red meat at the dining hall. And as a cynical, economically-struggling adult, I seriously question the “everyone smart MUST go to college!” mindset that seems ingrained in our culture. College is expensive— it doesn’t feel that way when you first land those college loans, but it does when you’re still paying them back decades later and you’re not even working in a job that degree got you. I’d say approximately half the people my age I know are NOT working in jobs they majored in— some are sort of related (a music ed major teaching preschool), some not at all (a music ed major hauling freight). I’ve sometimes thought, “Why didn’t we all just go to TRADE school instead?” even though I, personally, am pretty much made to be a librarian— which DOES require higher education even though it doesn’t really pay for it. My husband, on the other hand, running lathes in a factory, isn’t doing much with those Psychology/Natural Sciences degrees.
But if he hadn’t gone to college, he’d never have met me.
Which brings us to the point. It was the people that made college such an incredible life experience. For so many years, my world had been the same school district, the same people, stuck in their familiar cliques and carrying the labels they’d been saddled with in elementary school. But at college, everyone was starting from scratch. Even if people DID have a friend from before, they were introduced into a group of all new friends (as my best friend was when she joined me there a year later— and her roommate in turn also quickly became one of my best friends). I’d had no idea, going in, how I’d make new friends, because I’m horrendously shy, and yet somehow by suppertime the day I arrived, I was laughing over pizza with my roommate and four other girls we’d found in the hall. Everyone WELCOMED new friends. We couldn’t afford to be snobbish, because we were away from home. We needed a family, and that’s what our new friends became— surrogate family. We gathered for meals, threw each other parties, stayed up late discussing philosophy, laughed, cried, fought, and encouraged each other.
On my 19th birthday my friends threw me a surprise party… and invited the entire dorm. To this day it’s the most amazing party I’ve ever been to. Fifteen years later, is it safe to finally tell what I wished over my birthday candles? I wished I’d always have these wonderful friends I’d made. And it seems to have come true. Sure, there’s a few people I’ve lost touch with, but a few others I’ve found all over again, even if it’s only a little basic Facebook interaction. And of course, the closest of those friends, I’ve remained close to all this time.
I think this is less, then, about “I went to college,” and more about “I went out and met a whole bunch of new people whom I had to make a life with.” It would have been the same deal if I’d joined the Peace Corps or the army, moved to a new city, traveled abroad staying in hostels. I’m glad I didn’t stay in my hometown, surrounded by the familiar-yet-alienating, convinced this was all of the world I would ever know.
So if you’re looking for ideas for how to make the most of 18, that’s what I’d say. Whatever helps you broaden your horizons and connect to new people.
Make today a life experience worth remembering,
I will read and comment if you do (let me know in the reply box).
Why? Just because.
I think the things that class someone as a modern day role model are the same things that class someone as an any-other-day role model, wouldn’t you say? Kindness. Work ethic. Courage. Compassion. Drive. Passion. Intelligence. A free spirit, an open mind. An unapologetic will to be themselves. A strong vision, maybe even leadership/entrepreneur tendencies. And preferably having made great (or at least good) contributions to the world.
I wonder what it is you mean by specifying role models as “modern day” in your question. Sure, there are challenges and issues in our lives today that were unfathomable 30, 50, 100 years ago, but I think the defining traits of remarkable human beings haven’t changed over time. In any challenging situation, we still need idealist, inspired people who know what needs to be done and do it, without compromising either their integrity or nobody else’s. We need people who are wise and competent, but who also know how to laugh at themselves and realize when they’re wrong. Wouldn’t this be true in all eras?
(Maybe in the day of Julius Caesar the stereotypical idea of a role model would be a strong, authoritative, probably male figure, with military experience and a no-nonsense attitude – but if we’re talking about role models in a human, universal sort of way, I still think my reasoning applies.)
Either way, I think the basic idea of a role model can be a slippery slope. Every time I’ve made someone into my role model (usually some kind of celebrity) I ended up disappointed because they never lived up to my frankly unrealistic expectations (we are all only human, after all). I think it’s probably best to aspire to a certain principle, idea or personality trait than to what is basically a person in symbol form (or is it a symbol in person form?). People are people, and it’s dangerous to see them any other way.
Still, that doesn’t at all mean I’ll stop being inspired (maybe even fangirling a little) on the account of some wonderful souls that exist out there in this world! As long as we’re talking inspiration, not adulation, I think we’ll all be just fine.
I am adding this question to the list for Lycoris readers to tackle:
"I want to ask someone ‘How do I change a world?’ and they could give me an answer and I could do what they said. But I don’t think it works that way. I know it does not work that way. I wish I knew how it did work."
What’s your take on this?
Every once in a while, me and my friends start talking about dating and what kind of partner we would like to have. Most of the time, it’s the usual stuff: good looking, kind, funny, smart. I know a lot of people say those things. S/he HAS TO be funny, s/he HAS TO have an interesting hobby, and so forth. But that isn’t really it, is it? Whenever I say something like that, there’s this feeling in my stomach. It’s this little voice that says: ‘Wrong! That’s not it’. I couldn’t really figure out why that voice would say that. I really do want a partner who is funny and intelligent and interesting (and kinda looks like Benedict Cumberbatch, but that’s just details).
So I started thinking and in my mind, it felt like running into a brick wall every time. Until I saw this question and it hit me: there is no such thing as a ‘most important quality’.
People are like puzzles. There are a million different pieces that are a part of one person’s puzzle. Most of us will never make all the pieces fit. That’s just human condition. We will never really know who we are exactly. That’s also the fun of life. There’s always more to learn, more pieces of the puzzle to unveil and to try and fit in with the rest of the pieces. I know that’s the case for me and I’m not expecting me to be some special case. Everyone wants to know what their puzzle is all about.
And that’s why there isn’t one special important quality that will make a significant other good or perfect or the right fit for you. It’s all those pieces together. It’s the part of the puzzle that’s already there and the part that’s still unknown to you and your partner. It’s the moment where the significant other becomes one of the pieces of YOUR puzzle.
So here’s the thing: you can’t go out looking for a person who is just funny, or just handsome, or just has a kind personality. You also can’t expect knowing what kind of person you want without looking at your own puzzle. You already have past experiences, pieces that you have that make you who you are right now. Your potential partners have had those kind of experiences as well. You have to remember that your puzzle doesn’t dictate who you are as a person. You might have pieces that you’re not proud of, that you want to cut into a different piece. But it’s the story you tell about your puzzle that make you who you are. The same thing goes for a significant other. Listen to the stories people tell about themselves and you will learn so much more about them. Listen to your own story. You can change it if you want. You may have told yourself that you are not attractive enough for the kind of partner you really want. That is not in your puzzle. There is no piece that says ‘unattractive’. Tell yourself a different story, even if it’s just for fun. Because really, finding a partner, finding someone to love with all your heart, that’s more about yourself than about any other person in the world.
PS: See the list of questions here.