faces of ohio state

How has you college experience been so far?

- I was a Political Science major, but I realized I din’t want to spend my life in a cut-throat world. 

Also, I was a depressed for a while; and I took the past fall off.

Can I ask why you were depressed? and how you got yourself out?

- Most of my friends went to other schools, and I didn’t know a lot of people here. I thought I would become better friends with the acquaintances from high school; but didn’t because they developed their own group. I was lonely at the time.

But taking time off helped. People think if they take any time off they won’t come back; but taking the time off really helped me.

I also started to realize what’s around me and stopped pitying myself. 

atlantic-ebb  asked:

I know the chances of this being read are pretty slim, but -- you seem to love humans, just in general, as a species. and after the election and the hate and the ohio state shooting I'm coming face to face with the fact that we're just going to keep killing eachother and I don't know how to be ok with that. So as a writer who makes me want to love humans I was hoping you could offer advice, or justification, or just even human-related thoughts in general

Dear atlantic-ebb,

I do love humans. I’m glad that you can tell that even from the outside. 2016 has been a pretty howlingly awful year in the news, and there are some days where it would be pretty tempting to just crawl into my desk drawer and live there with the dried-out Sharpies. But.

This is going to be a three-parter.

PART ONE: WHO DO I LOVE? ME

I really like myself. 

I like my hobbies, and I like my taste in music, and I like how I look at the world, and I generally am pretty pleased with my instinctual reactions to super bad or super good events in my life, and I think I tend to be pretty decent even when no one is around to see that I’m being pretty decent. I’m not the best human out there, but I’m glad to know me. 

I didn’t used to like me. When I was 17-19 years old, I was a straight up asshole, and I also hated myself. It’s hard to say if it was cause or effect, and honestly, for the purposes of this question, it doesn’t even matter. All that matters it that as long as I wasn’t generous to myself, I sure wasn’t going to be generous to other people.

When you don’t love yourself, loving other people becomes a fraught proposition. They have to either fulfill something that you think you lack, in very specific ways; or they have to reinforce beliefs that you have about yourself and the world; or they have to be as similar to you as possible to keep from tipping you even further off the narrow ridge of self-doubting existence that you balance on each day. The more they step away from these things, the harder you find it to empathize with them. A self-doubter is a fearful tight-rope walker, even if they don’t think of it in those terms. Any change in the world paradigm could tip them from the narrow path, and who knows what it looks like once they fall off the rope: they aren’t surviving really well up on the rope and they bet they’ll do even worse in the unfamiliar landscape below the rope.

But I found that when you love yourself — really love yourself, not in that stupid narcissistic comparative way that means that you think you’re glorious and beyond reproach and the final evolution of mankind, but in that way that says that you know what makes you happy and you’re cool with it and you feel confident that even if you aren’t who you want to be yet, you’re getting there — loving other people becomes just a nice side effect. At least for me, once I stopped all of the bullshit judgment of myself, I also stopped doing it to other people. And it turns out that people are really interesting, and sort of magical, and also capable of hidden kindnesses and heroics if you believe in them.

It also turns out that once you start preemptively liking people, they tend to like you back.


PART TWO: THE DEATH OF PERFECTION

It’s impossible to love people if you expect them to be perfect. Every one of us is a work in progress, and if you don’t believe that people can improve, you might as well give up trying to love people now (including yourself). We are all a jagged checkerboard of evolved areas and less-evolved areas, surprisingly great areas and surprisingly bad areas. Our childhoods deliver us to adulthood with an individual package of blind spots and talents, and it’s our job to navigate them. If you accept that people travel along these paths to better versions of themselves at different rates, and that you’re bound to meet people at all different stages of this journey, it’s a lot easier to love people where they currently are.

I was reading up on psychology a lot a few years ago — that’s a lie, I pretty much always am, but this was a lot of child psych — and I got myself stuck in this weird place where every time I met someone new, I couldn’t not imagine them as the kid version of themselves. I’d been reading so much about how we become the people we are that I was fascinated with imagining people before they became the people they are, and plugging in all the steps between. It’s really hard to not empathize with someone once you’ve seen them as a kid.

No one’s ever going to be perfect. But as long as you’re trying your best and not hurting anybody else, I’m happy to know you while you’re muddling your way through. 

I reckon you might be thinking this is pretty-rosy-glasses of me, but bear with me: history supports me. Collectively, we’ve all been slowly getting our acts together for the last several centuries. Groups change their hearts because individuals do.


PART THREE: THE BIRTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL

We’re not all shooting each other, atlantic-ebb. I know it feels that way, because the news is full of fresh horrors every day. Whatever brand of atrocity you’d like is readily available 24/7. Something terrible happened today. Something terrible will happen tomorrow. Something terrible has been happening every single day since humans began. If you’re taking humans as a group, yes, I suppose: We’re terrible.

But we’re not a group.

We are 7.5 billion individuals, and the worst atrocities of all happen when we forget that. Lumping people together gives us stereotypes and dehumanization. 7.5 billion people. Never forget that every single one of that number represents a unique brain and heart. Some of that number are hideous. Some of them can’t change. Some of them will make heart-singeing headlines for the things that they do.

But most will not. And how terrible would it be to judge all of those heroes and dreamers, tinkerers and leaders, by the acts of a monstrous few? I’ve met a lot of people, and I’ve met only a very few true monsters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what someone’s heart looks like, because our outside trappings are so different, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what someone’s heart looks like, because they don’t even know themselves yet, and sometimes — this is the hardest instance — it’s hard to tell what someone’s heart looks like, because the only language they’ve learned to speak in is fear or hate or bigotry. But unless they are one of those very few true monsters, I believe even this last group can learn a different language too.

Something terrible will happen tomorrow, because it’s a day that ends with y. It’s never going to feel ok to hear about whatever new terribleness happens, because you have a soul, and I’m glad that you do. But you can be ok in general if you focus on the things you can do, instead of the things you can’t. The world’s never going to be perfect, but you can still move the cultural and personal furniture to make it more livable.

Look, atlantic-ebb. Humans are pretty great. I’m sorry it doesn’t always feel that way. Start by imagining them all as kids and work from there.


urs,

Stiefvater

What’s a story from OSU that you will always remember? 

- Does it have to be PG?

- No.

- One day I was tripping on mushrooms in the Oval, and I saw a dog being chased by a baby, chased by a toddler, followed by a teenager with two adults behind them. I said to my friend that it was the progression of life. (helpful info, he is a 4th year philosophy major.)

How has college changed you? 

- College made me more confident in myself, I don’t worry about what others think of me, because I am not as judgmental of myself. I started to learn that friends actually care about me, in high school they only cared about themselves. I am not embarrassed about myself. 

College is made me realize the person I could be, where as in high school I was the person I had to be. I want to be free and charismatic and outgoing and open. Was afraid to be in high school, it wasn’t what people expected of me. 

Hello everyone, this is Laurie, she will be taking over Faces of Ohio State from now on. She is a brilliant photographer, and just as good of a story teller; also this will be my last post. I hope you are all just as excited as I am about what Laurie can do for Faces of Ohio State.
What made you want to photograph for Faces of Ohio State? - Growing up, I was always writing, reading, and telling stories. I love gathering information about people and taking photos of them. I find something so intriguing about an encounter of two people who may never see each other again, as if somehow that makes it more meaningful. I love the unwritten stories of strangers, the a-million-and-one potential lives. I take bits and pieces of them with me after we go our separate ways. This is storytelling to me. This is journalism. This is three of my passions in one: people, photography, and words.

- Are you guys in a relationship?

S: “We’re.. we’re in a friendship. A new one. Which is kind of the best. We’ve known each other for two or three weeks but it feels a lot longer. We’ve had a lot of unspoken similarities and we both spend a lot of time on Tumblr.”

A: “Hahah yes! What a unifying bond that is. We exchanged a lot of words very fast, I feel. We’ve had a few hang outs that were 3-4 hours long.”

S: “If you spend three hours talking to someone, you definitely have a good connection. In my own experience, people undervalue that.

I don’t think you really need that much in common. People put too much emphasis on that. It’s a lot more about your personalities and how they work together instead of having a list of things you both like. At least that’s what I’ve noticed in my friendships. When it comes to romance, though….I don’t know.”

A: “I don’t think I’ve had enough practice in the realm of romance to really be able to say anything super accurate or enlightening to the masses. I just kind of stumble into people and realize that I like them a lot and find them generally aesthetically pleasing and then choose to spend a lot of time with them. It seems like an easy equation, but that’s the tricky part; it’s not.

You should be with someone who wants to experience the way you perceive the world around you. That is so important.

Three months ago, a guy ended things with me because he said I was too adorable. He’s like ‘You wear flowers and sparkles all the time and I just can’t take you seriously!’ I’m just like ‘Cool. My aesthetic is weeding off the weak.’”

By Laurie

I met this wonderful lady earlier today, she told me she met her late husband while they were students in Ohio State. She said she was introduced to her husband through a friend of her from high school, a friend she had a crush on, not knowing that her friend was gay.

- How did you feel when you found out you high school crush was gay? 

- Oh I didn’t know, he had always hung around me. He wrote a letter to me after my husband died; he said he always hung around me because he wanted to be like me. It is sad in a way, complementary in another. 

- When did your husband die? 

- Five years ago. 

- What’s the best memory you have of him? 

- The 30 years that we lived together in Detroit. He was a musician, and I worked in a doctors office. We were always driven to the arts, we travel to places with beautiful art. We went to Paris, Vienna, New York looking for the strange, the beautiful. 

- Oh, that sounds amazing.

- I will tell you one thing, when you spend so much time with someone, you lose yourself. I didn’t know who I was after he died. I was lost.  

(on a different not, 100 followers! yay! thank you guys for following.)    

What was the craziest thing that happened to you in Ohio State? 

- My freshman year was pretty crazy. 

How come? 

- Some one in my dorm was dealing molly. 

 Okay, we lived in the same suite. 

 He was my roommate. 

How was that like? 

- He got busted for it. It was bad, about 17 people switched in and out of that suite that year. I am all good now, after I started architecture. 

“In grad school, there this transition into adulthood. When you’re in high school, you kind of want to be independent but you really aren’t. In undergrad, you actually start experimenting with being independent because you move away from home, but it’s a limited experiment because you start in the dorms a lot of the time where you have access to a very nice food plan, so there aren’t many responsibilities.

The social scene is very easy because everyone is around you. For me now as a grad student, I have more of those personal responsibilities. I have grown into that role a little more. There’s less that is just given to me. Grad school is another step in the direction of becoming a full-fledged adult in a sense.

I don’t really think I’ll feel like a full-fledged adult until I actually have a job that is permanent. I have all the qualifications in some sense, but right now, I just feel old.“

You feel old, but not like an adult? How so?

“I feel like if I were to walk into some situation, people will look at me and act as if I’m an adult, and I think that is even somewhat true as an undergrad, but I don’t feel like I’ve fully made it there. I feel like the last thing I need is a full-time job and then I’ll feel like I’ve kind of made it to the next phase of life. The final step in some sense.”

Do you think you need a full-time job to be an adult?

“No, but it’s a stability issue. That’s my goal, and what I think is a lot of people’s goal–to obtain stability.”

How are you working towards obtaining stability right now?

“I’m interning this summer at Amazon.”

Do you get free shipping?

“No, but they give me a salary.”

By Laurie

What’s biggest struggles you faced in college? 

- Being myself, accepting myself. 

How come? 

- Because you can’t accept to be loved by someone until you love yourself.

What made you realize that?

- Relationships; during my last relationship, I wasn’t being myself, I forgot who I was. But I came out stronger, even though I expected to be broken. 

Lesson in life: Love yourself first.