Curious and Unscripted

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[Image description: A screenshot of Allison taking a photo of themself. They are wearing tortoiseshell glasses, and a navy, yellow and orange striped shirt. Their hair is down.]

Hi everyone. So I really wanted to write a blog post today about my favorite quote, and I had, like, one of those moments of clarity where I start writing something in my head and I know that I have to get it down just right, but I don’t think I have time to actually sit and type something out, so I’m gonna try to record what I was thinking of writing about and then I will transcribe it later.

So what I was thinking about, that I wanted to write about today, is my favorite quote, and it’s by Albert Einstein, and it goes as follows: “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery everyday. Never lose a holy curiosity.” And that’s been my favorite quote for probably, the last five or six years. When one of my teachers was writing my recommendation for the Common App (throwback Thursday), she actually put that in my application. And I can’t remember if that was the first time I had heard it or not, but I’ve been thinking about that a lot and I’ve been thinking about what motivates me. You know, in finding out about having depression and all of the thoughts and feelings that that brought on, which was really difficult, I’ve been wondering, “what is it that’s gotten me this far? Why, why am I, I don’t know, I don’t even want to say the word hopeful, but why do I still exist?” And I think that that quote in particular is really important for that reason because there’s, I sound like a complete pothead which I’m not but, there’s just so much to life that I don’t know, and I think the thing that really motivates me is, you know, like Albert Einstein said, it’s enough if one merely tries to understand a little bit of this mystery everyday. And tangentially related, my mom is a teacher, and she made sure that growing up, you know, my siblings and I were always questioning everything that was happening to us, even the things that didn’t have answers. But really, questioning any and everything and having this healthy sense of skepticism, and so I think combined with that quote it’s a really motivating factor because there’s just so much that I don’t know – that I’ll never know.

And in having depression, I think one of the things that’s really difficult is feeling like the stakes of every moment are so high sometimes. And what I mean by that is that like, you know my anxiety is telling me, “Oh everyone’s paying attention to me, everyone thinks I’m an idiot, let me be skeptical of people actually caring” (that skepticism can be a little dangerous) but with the depression, it’s like, “okay well I’m just gonna stop. You know, I just don’t have it in me anymore to keep fighting and learning and all of that,” but something that’s really helpful to me through the depression is to keep learning and keep wondering about things and I think, you know, this quote is part of the reason why I was such an exceptional student is because I thought that you know, to be learning on a regular basis you had to be at school and I now know that that’s not true. And since I’m not in a formal school setting anymore, I’m learning all of these things that you don’t learn from traditional coursework right? Like about self-love and all of these different things that I’m teaching myself. And so the reason why I’ve been thinking about this quote in conjunction with depression is that I think one of the benefits of the diagnosis was that there’s this new part of myself – and new insofar as I didn’t know what to call it. Not that it’s new in any shape or form cause like I said in one of my last posts, I’m pretty sure I’ve had depression since I was a child.

So what is kind of getting me through day-to-day, and to be fair, I’m not in a depressive episode right now although I kind of feel myself skirting on one and it’s good practice now to not fall into that, like I’m learning how to prevent that from happening, and what’s been motivating is to be curious about myself. To learn all of these different parts of myself that I knew existed a lot of the time but I didn’t get to see on a regular basis, especially being a student. And, you know, one of the last times I journaled, what I was writing about was now that I moved somewhere by myself and had all of this adjustment to do and all of that, I thought I changed so much and then I’m realizing now I’m not changing – I’m pretty similar to how I was as a teenager, it’s just that I’m older and more life has happened. And so I’m…I’m, like I said, becoming curious about myself. And since I’m not in school anymore – I’m not affiliated with a school as a student, although I do work at a university which is now interesting, it’s been really impactful to see these new parts of myself and to apply that curiosity that I have to myself, to life, and extend it to other people as well – to hear what they’re going through, if they’ve gone through similar things – none of us are alone in the struggles that we face and…I guess, in conjunction with mental illness, something that’s very impactful for me personally is like the quote says, to merely try to comprehend a little bit of this mystery everyday, like if I can learn something however small every single day, that’s reason enough to keep pushing and trying and finding motivation even when everything in my brain is saying to stop.

So, that’s what’s been swirling in my head along with a lot of other things, but I wanted to make sure that I got those thoughts out. I’m getting ready for work so if there’s banging and rain sounds and all of that, that’s why. But I hope that this is important, or impactful for at least someone, and thank you for listening.

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