Friday, July 13, 2012

Gray Area Part 1

When I was younger, I was a very black and white person. If something were right, everything else was WRONG and you were a barbaric fool for not recognizing it. If a guy with piercings walked past the van when I was waiting for my in the parking lot, I'd lock all the doors and duck down. If I disliked someone, I hated them with a frightening fiery passion deep within my soul.

I also didn't do gradual changes. When I decided to start exercising, I ran for an hour and did 200 crunches right away.

When we moved, I waited until the night before we left the house to pack up all of my things and immediately moved them in the next day.

When I saw a friendship that needed to stop, I severed it promptly and completely.

There was no middle ground for me. Everything was extremes, and people who thought differently were idiots to be avoided. The concept of "in between" was repulsive and morally wrong. Moderation and gray area were for the weak.

As I've matured, I've gotten LESS that way. I could tell you that I no longer judge anything about anyone and that the world is full of different and equally correct perspectives, but a) I don't lie on Pandora, and b) Cassidy and Sam would rat me out rather quickly.

In a lot of ways, I'm still the same black or white, left or right, yes or no, in or out girl I was when I was nine.

I hate being "okay" at things. I'd rather monumentally suck than be embarrassingly mediocre. {Of course, I'd rather be phenomenally great than either one of those.}

I hated the massive expanse of gray area of ALMOST dating Sam. There are probably something like ten months of gray area by the time you piece it all together. That area where we weren't official and I hadn't actually stated that I liked him that way, so I had to be rabid about labeling our hanging out as NOT DATING. There were things we couldn't say or do or think because were just friends. It was unpredictable. It was frustrating. It was maddeningly unstable.

Gray area. *shudders*

Then at college orientation last weekend I discovered another enlightening example of my hatred for gray area.

Yeah, I finally made a decision. Talk about some horrifying gray area. Not knowing where I was going to attend college was like a stomachache for six months straight. But I'm going to Campbell University with the hopes of transferring to Wake Forest for the fall of 2013 :) I think it's all going to work out.

But situations like orientation really take it out of me. I have to be animated and engaged and charismatic to an extreme level. Not only do I have to take in a brainload of information, but I also have to not get lost on campus, make powerful positive first impressions on my professors, and not get immediately written off by the other students. The first of orientation lasted fifteen hours. I was beyond exhausted by the time I finally got to collapse in bed.

I also don't approve of the gradual transition to college, at least for me personally. That's one thing about me that has not changed. I hate phasing into or out of things. None of this "Let's spend time on campus ahead of time," or "It'll be easier if you already have friends at Campbell," or "Why don't you start thinking about dorm decorations now?"

I want to live 100% at home until the day I move in.

I want to hang out exclusively with my hometown friends until I actually attend Campbell.

I want to wait and jump into dorm decor in one sudden plunge two days before I move in.

Toward the end of Orientation Day 1, I whined my mom, "I just want to go home." I could tell that made her really nervous. If I couldn't stand being away from home for two days, how was this going to work? I thought about it for a minute.

"I'll be fine once I move in here," I amended honestly. "Once I have all my stuff and am settled, THIS will be home."

And that's pretty much true. I know I'll be homesick. I know there will be times when I'll hate it. But my method of operation is to detach myself from the coming change until it's absolutely upon me, then plunge in and deal with it because I must. To jump straight from black to white, left to right, out to in.

Bypass the gray area.

I don't know that this is the best way to be. In some ways, I still firmly believe that gray area is WRONG. But I think there's also a lot of value in learning to take things at a responsible pace and not be so inflexible. I also think I might have a double standard about gray area, but that's a discussion for another time.

How do you feel about the in between?



  1. I guess the in between bothers me to a point. It's nerve racking and stressful. When I was in basketball, I always hated the time right before the game. It was almost there.. so I couldn't go do anything else, yet it wasn't there yet. and Before Micah and I started dating.. we had some "in-between" time. It sucked. I just wanted to know! I guess I'm kinda stuck in-between now too.. cuz I'm single.. but I'm not over him yet..
    *sigh* yup.. it sucks.

    Love always,

  2. I'm going to be honest. When I started reading this, I was thinking I was the exact opposite of you, and didn't really understand your viewpoint. But then all at once, when you started talking about college, it hit me. That is EXACTLY how I was…am. I guess I didn't recognize it as something I do, because I never dwelled on it long enough to realize that I *do* hate gray areas as well.

    The summer before college was my best, my favorite, summer. I tried not to even think about college, and I immediately threw mental daggers at anyone who mentioned it in an anxiously excited way. I wanted to soak up as much of my old life as I could before it had to change. I blocked my mind from thinking about school, until I was actually there. And then I dove straight in. Once I was actually living my new life, it was fine. It was perfectly fine, and I never looked back.

    So I get this. I really understand.