Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jason Mraz's Colon and My Purpose in Life

I was reading Jason Mraz’s blog, as I am wont to do, -because 1 I enjoy a well crafted personal essay, 2 reading blogs is far more entertaining than reading GRE prep and, 3 Jason Mraz is kinda dreamy- and apparently Mr. Mraz recommends a colonic as a good way to spend this Saturday.

Ah, nothing says romance quite like colon cleansing.

Though, I have to say, if there was ever a holiday that warranted an enema, it’s Valentine’s Day. (What do candy hearts and mawkish greeting cards have to do with martyrdom anyway?) Alas, I’m working on the 14th and I don’t believe that my coworkers would be too pleased if I had a colonic before starting my shift. “What? You have a return? Uh… do you think you could carry the register into the bathroom? What? Shut up! Everyone poops!”

After work though, I’ll be engaging in something equally as ass assaulting as MR A-Z’s favorite past-time: grad school applications (Lord, take me now).

Most grad school applications include a “statement of purpose”. In 500 words or less you have to explain who you are, what you want and why they should want you. 500 words. Which is both too many and too few. Especially when you’re not quite sure who you are, what you want and what the fuck your purpose is, anyway. I feel like I’m sitting down to an exam, number 2 pencil poised over A, B, and C, only I don’t know what the question is.

Okay, to be fair, I’m sure they’re expecting a rather narrower focus than what I’m freaking out about i.e. “what is your purpose in applying to this program”. And most people would be assuaged by that fact, stop bitching and write the damn essay. But that would be far too easy for me.

There has never been such a thing as a human being with just one purpose in life. Any one person can be a daughter, a sister, a mother, a lover, a friend, a writer, a teacher, a pilot, a dancer, an explorer all at once. I’ve never been good at compartmentalizing my purposes. So when University X asks me my purpose for pursuing a Masters in Y I see all the little bits and pieces of who I am and I’m not quite sure which parts to grab onto and display for their judging pleasure.

Half of the purpose of any kind of education is the education itself, learning more about Y so you can go on in the field of Y or F or Z, but the other half of the purpose of education is what you learn about yourself while learning about other people and other things. I’ve always been more concerned –often to my detriment- with the latter. Which I guess sums up what I really feel that my purpose is, to look, to learn, to fail, and fall and grow. Which may be poetic and but sure as hell doesn’t pay the bills.

I was born in the wrong century. The wrong millennium. The wrong epoch, even. I should have been a troubadour or a bard or a sorceress. But I wasn’t born then, I was born here. Which means as much as I could have been a million different things I was only ever meant to be me. So, in conclusion, my purpose is to be me. And, hopefully, sometime before I die, I’ll figure out who that is.

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