Day Ten is perhaps my most challenging thought experiment yet, because it’s so banal.
Being a very opinionated person, I didn’t think I’d have any trouble writing this post, but when I sat down to actually write, I felt kind of lost.
What do I like and dislike? It’s hard for me to say that I “like” feminism, and “dislike” Stephen Harper’s government right now, because like and dislike are too mild to describe my feelings either way. The other problem with saying that I like and dislike stuff is that it’s very situational. I like snow, but only during the holiday season, or when I feel playful and want to go outside to catch snowflakes on my eyelashes or go skiing or outside when I’m inside and have heating. I don’t like snow in the middle of April or when I don’t want snow.
If I did one of those little blurbs in magazines, mine would look like the following:
Favourite Colour: Blush Champagne
Least Favourite Colour: Puce – it should be reserved for cranky old ladies or avant-garde fashion bloggers who can actually pull it off.
Favourite Food: My mom’s cooking
Least Favourite Food: Mushrooms make me barf
Favourite Flower: Coral Roses, Peonies, and the flower I’m named after
Least Favourite Flower: Skunk roses? Do those count? They also bring back the smell of pleather school bus seats that are too hot to touch.
Favourite Books: Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, Flashboys by Michael Lewis… (read more here. I really should talk more about this some day)
Least Favourite Books: The ENTIRE Twilight series. Any author who decides that pitching yourself off a cliff to feel something after your boyfriend ditches you is a good idea should try it herself first.
And on and on… You get the point. It’s rather inane, isn’t it? If this project is about self-reflection and introspective, using a day like this would be a waste of words, because there wouldn’t be much thought there.
Today wasn’t a total waste, though. Writing everything before made me remember blog post that I read before by Dominique Tiu, the very talented blogger behind Konnichiwear. In response to “What do you live for?”, she said:
“I do live for a lot of things and for a lot of people… but I guess it would be apt to say that I live for moments. Pure, genuine, and raw moments–be it good or bad. … “
– Dominique Tiu, “Old Black & White Fashion”
I think I form my likes and dislikes following the same philosophy: I like and dislike moments, and like or dislike things based on what moments and memories have defined them. For example, my favourite colour is blush champagne, which is a shade of light gold that has hints of pink. While it might seem strange I’m very specific about this shade: it was was my Freesky colour and the colour of my prom dress. As trivial as it sounds, Freesky was the first game where I really made friends across the globe, and it was one of my first comprehensive lessons in leadership, while my prom dress represented hours of agonizing, shopping, and fun, and it made me feel like a billion shiny bucks that very fun night. I could keep going, and tell the story of how I grew into gold and how it symbolizes feeling comfortable and confident in my own skin, but what it essentially boils down is that moments associated with blush champagne have always signified luxury, confidence, beauty and fun, which is as good a reason as any to have a favourite colour.
Things I mainly associate with good moments, such as friends with happy moments, art and my mom’s cooking with peaceful moments, writing and reading the news with thoughtful moments, and school with proud moments, I like. Things I mainly associate with bad moments, such as lines with boring moments, arguments and fights with sad or angry moments, and performing in public with embarrassing moments, I don’t like. It’s a pretty simple paradigm, but, now that I think of it, incredibly powerful.
Things – and moments – don’t always neatly fall into “like” and “dislike” categories. For example, I can dislike a person or thing, but still recognize some moments as good ones. Also, if I really dislike something that I have to do, like public speaking or commuting, I can take control of my likes and dislikes by deliberately building good moments to associate with them. I actually enjoy commuting in the morning now because it gives me time to catch up on the news or proofread a blog post; I’m turning a boring moment into a peaceful one.
So what started out as a fairly boring and banal post turned into a pretty valuable thought experiment. While, like most people, I’d like to think that I control my likes and dislikes, as I grow older and more experienced, I start becoming more set in my ways. That’s not always a bad thing – having stuck my hand in the fire, I’m not about to go try it again to see if it still burns. However, when those likes or dislikes are actively getting in the way of moving forward with life, like my dislike of public speaking, I do need to take control and reverse it.
I guess this would make writing this post a good, thoughtful moment.
Project 14 is how I’m going to start my journey of self discovery, to memorialize who I am when I start chronicling my life. Each day, I’ll approach who I am through a different paradigm people use to define themselves. Read more about it at my About page.