Lake Turnover, Existential Crises, and Seasonal Depression

In AP Environmental Science, we learned about lake turnover. Lake turnover is the process of a lake’s water literally turning over from top to bottom. In essence, as the seasons change from fall/winter to spring/summer, water and debris that existed on the bottom of the lake (called the hypolimnion) moves to the top of the lake (called the epilimnion) and vice versa. In deeper, larger lakes, the hypolimnion is never reached by the sun’s radiation during either season.

I think about seasonal depression as lake turnover. In the fall and winter, my surface level as a person is dense and heavy, iced over, brewing with sad or angry emotion; everything I’ve let simmer at the bottom of my hypothetical lake since the last “turnover.” Everything I ignore during summer eventually surfaces during the next turnover season. In summer, the surface water of my hypothetical lake is nurtured by the sunlight, bringing back all forms of life and movement. I like to think this is why I feel really shallow or surface-level in the summer, because I am able to focus on lighter feelings like happiness and carelessness because of lack of pressure from school or avoid cooped-up isolation due to cold weather conditions.

There were a lot of things I didn’t fully finish feeling or face over the course of last summer. And, of course, in the middle of the fall/winter season, I switched schools, so that affected how I’ve been feeling. Long story short, there were a lot of things that I had to overcome and conclusions I had to come to over the past fifty-three days I haven’t posted. In those fifty-three days, I have changed so much I don’t even recognize myself anymore, physically and emotionally.

Before anyone gets scared, I think this is good. I know everything is changing all the time, but I felt I was in that phase of my life too long. I became a whole different person when I got out of a relationship in 2015, almost like a child that needed to learn how to exist in the world by myself again. I made a ton of mistakes over that first year, then I went to college and experienced such rapid growth that I don’t even know how to assess it all. That version of myself got old, and over last summer I knew something was going to change, something big was going to happen, and I was going to have to say goodbye to some things and start some new things.

Conveniently, Saturn changed signs in December. Since then, my life has been reorganizing itself. I have a clearer version of what I want out of life and more confidence that I will be able to achieve it. I have made peace, for now at least, with the fact I am a million different people at once. I have faced problems in most of my relationships with important people in my life and confronted them with the knowledge that I will repeatedly have to battle these issues because it’s just what happens when two people are friends. I ended a quasi-relationship in the dramatic way I wanted to, accidentally shook up some other ones, and cut my hair. I have accepted the fact that I am one of those college students who always wants to go home.

I like this new me. I am more hardworking and introspective and calm. I have written two coherent poems and have read them in front of other people. I am more detached and understanding and less quick to react. I don’t wear makeup. I am in the process of obtaining a second job. I don’t shake uncontrollably when I drink a cup of coffee. I have finally realized what does and does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Is this maturity?

Whatever it is, unfortunately I had to reach some record lows to finally gain some emotional stability. But I read an article recently that made me feel better about this; a girl who lives out of her car and teaches yoga and spirituality in Australia says her mantra is “no one cares about a movie where nothing goes wrong.”¬†Since I’ve accepted that I will probably always live my life pretending I’m in a movie, what better time to adopt this mantra and use it to justify my shortcomings in life! But no, really, I think it’s taken me almost twenty years to realize that everything going wrong makes my life interesting. More than half of this blog is dedicated to me processing the things that go awry in my life. My life would be devoid of creativity and emotion if my life went well all the time.

So I’m going to forgive myself for being off for the past fifty-three days. Everything that happened led up to today, where I’ve had two cups of soup and my professor comforted me about my fear of public speaking and I found great new music on Spotify and I finally remembered to spray heat protectant on my hair before I straightened it. Not the best day, but not the worst day. Soon everything will be better or just different, and that’s all I can ask.

existential crisis playlist:

center of gravity the brazen youth / all that and more (sailboat) rainbow kitten surprise / going gets tough the growlers / jackie wants a black eye dr. dog / where’d all the time go? dr. dog / oh! starving car seat headrest / ifhy tyler the creator¬† / this must be the place (naive melody) cover the lumineers / close to me the cure / sunburned shirts car seat headrest / the good times are killing me modest mouse / a$ap forever a$ap rocky / be above it tame impala / femme fatale the velvet underground / archie, marry me flyte / see you again tyler the creator & kali uchis

things i did during my existential crisis:

watched twentieth century women, american honey, frances ha, wild / started breaking bad / finished thirteen reasons why / worked a lot / went on a hike in the white mountains / hosted a poetry reading / discovered a great salad at one plate, two plates / stopped going to therapy / ate a million bags of cadbury mini eggs / started tweeting again / started my spring 2018 spotify playlist / started working out again / hiked in the white mountains

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Realizing You Don’t Have a Personality (Help)

For a long time I believed strongly in astrology, and sometimes it seems like I still do. I have inclinations to believe things about people based on their birth chart. I understand that astrology can be full of errors, because people can easily mold themselves into who they want to be (which is basically the topic of this post), but I still think there is a level of truth. I see it as two types of personality: instinctive and distinctive.

The instinctive personality lies in people’s private inclinations; their first thought or reaction, the way they carry themselves when no one is looking, what they do when they are alone, their thought processes and inner dialogue. My private inclinations when first meeting someone are to assess 1) who they are as a person, 2) what they stand for, 3) if they are somehow cooler/prettier/better than me, and 4) how they carry themselves. Then I try to mirror it, relate to it, or instinctively present myself as distinctly different from them if I don’t agree with who they are.

I think this corresponds to my sun in Gemini and mercury in Gemini, or in other words, my sun conjuncts mercury. This aspect of my instinctive personality makes me want to win people over. If I don’t win someone over, I have a problem with it for several days straight. So, with my instinctive personality, I create a distinctive personality tailored to my setting or a specific person/group of people. This is why I think I find it hard to make and keep friends, especially in college.

In high school, everyone already had a reputation, so although some people definitely evolved and changed, no one really forgot who you once were. Since I couldn’t escape this, my distinctive personality had some limits, or at least some dishonesty if I was ever to present myself as something completely different than who people thought I was. In college, no one knows who I really am, and my instinctive personality really tries to use this to my benefit. For example, I met a girl wearing dirty checkerboard Vans, a Polo hat, rounded sunglasses, and an ironic graphic t-shirt at a Soundcloud rapper’s house party. I talked to her about certain kinds of music, certain kinds of people we mutually knew, concerts, city life, and hypebeasts. I could assess from the way she presented herself that these were the topics we could find common ground in. And while it seems like a normal thing I do, and it probably benefits me in the long run connecting with people, I can’t seem to get past this step.

I feel like people can tell that I’m insincere. But I really can’t help it; I have multiple personalities. Not in the concerning medical disorder way, just in the socially handicapped way. I made a friend similar to the one at the Soundcloud rapper party last year, and we Snapchatted back and forth and kept in contact. He started working at a campus restaurant, and I was unaware of it, so I ordered corn tortillas with sour cream one Tuesday afternoon wearing a preppier outfit than I usually wear and I could see the confusion in his eyes. Whenever I hung out with him I always wore clothes that matched a different personality than the one I decided to be today. The Maina that hung out with him was completely different than the caught-off-guard Maina that was ordering corn tortillas.

While I know people don’t think about it as hard as I do, I can definitely catch the drift from people that they aren’t sure what to make of me. Like I wore normal nice Connecticut-ish outfits to Spanish class a lot and this one girl from a few towns over always talked to me, and one day I wore distressed jeans, vans, and my huge multicolored Polo jacket over a sweatshirt with round sunglasses and she didn’t talk to me in class. It upsets me that I can predict how everyone else is going to act and what they might wear on any given day but I have no clue who I will be even two hours from now or even tomorrow.

I wonder if I’ll be this inconsistent for the rest of my life. Not even just with clothes; with anything. More importantly I wonder if I can ever get over my outward appearance affecting the way I treat people and life in general. I think in college it’s so hard to know who people actually are and you’re surprised a lot by what is actually going on in people’s heads. And I know here there is a culture of certain what people wear and what certain people don’t. There are groups that people fit into and I can’t bring myself to stick to any group. And that sounds all social butterfly-ish but it’s really not. In these four inconsistent and weird years people just want solid friends to rely on, and I am very liquidy and change randomly. It makes me freak out about random stuff, like I’ll get mad that my Instagram is too normal. It literally doesn’t matter and I know that.

From typing this out I learned and admitted to myself that I’m definitely unhealthily obsessed with image and sometimes it’s super detrimental, and I should probably just not care. But I’m not happy with the fact I’m inconsistent and it makes me feel inconsistent in general. I just want an identity. And I want people to see that identity and be like okay yeah I could vibe with this girl, and then be friends. It’s that easy.

I feel more like myself in private because my identity is only made up of thoughts, feelings, and daydreams/fantasies (brought to you by Psychology for Dummies). In public, I have no idea what is going on with my personality, appearance, and style. I feel like none of it is my own. It’s always reflective of what’s been inspiring me lately. I think I’m a walking blog, or mood board, or something. But not as cool as that sounds. Just a mess. How can I mold myself into who I want to be when that changes on a daily basis? I wish I could just not have a body and just be an amoeba. I would know who I was for sure. I can easily give people a spiel of who I am inside, but outside it’s a little difficult.

Maybe if I established solid friends at the beginning of freshman year, everything would be different. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe this is just who I am, and I’ll never develop into anything solid. I apologize in advance.