Forget About Formalities

This is not a very convenient topic sentence, however I think it is still somewhat relevant as it does express my extreme aversion to formalities. Personally, I struggle a lot with being open about negative feelings or emotions when I have to express those feelings in front of other people, which is also why I hate formal writing, as I’m unable to express my emotions into the writing. Making a piece of writing that feels more like it was created by a robot than a sentient being is incredibly boring.

I think this is also one of the main reasons I often don’t like subjects that are heavily focused on research or known facts, because they also heavily restrict creative freedom, and for the life of me, I am unable to find any interest on something like why grass is green. It just is, can we accept this as factual and move on? Genuinely I have no clue why I’d ever need to write a page long essay with an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion on why something that has been factually proven is the way it is, when it only really requires a few sentences or bullet points.

I feel frustrated and often am unable to get a single word down on the page when I feel like the way I format my writing is more heavily graded than the actual content of it, and I often struggle when I’m not given an example to go off of, because I don’t know how to put what I know and think into an essay that is acceptable for teachers. The expectation that if I don’t do something the way that is precedented, it’s not the right way to do it, is the thing the diminishes what little motivation I have to find meaning in something, because it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it for myself, it feels like I’m doing it because I have to.

That way of thinking has led me to feel constricted in the ways I’m able to construct writing even when there are no restrictions, because I’ve been forced into the mindset of formalities being more important than what I’m saying or doing. It feels like a dress code for an event that doesn’t need to be formal, but you wear the suit and tie regardless because what you say and do at the event won’t end up mattering nearly as much as the first impression you make. The same goes for essays written in school. Almost every time I’ve been given an essay the teacher has said something like, “make sure it has a good topic sentence,” as if that is more important than anything in the entire assignment. This really makes me wonder, did they teach us weeks worth of material only to care about an introduction to a writing that’s supposed to cover most of what we learned? I feel like teachers care way more about how I phrase the introduction and conclusion than what the actual essay is about.

In fact, this same mindset is applicable for almost any situation I’m in as a teen, and this is probably why I have so many issues expressing negative emotions, due to how much I sometimes want to lash out. It’s impossible to tell people how I feel and truly mean it when I’m supposed to do it with a smile and a polite little wave at the end, because apparently it’s unrealistic to expect anything less from somebody with an opinion. What’s the point of being passionate about something, whether it’s an emotion, a hobby, a cool fact, or something you want to share with somebody such as art or music, if when you’re supposed to put it down on paper, it reads off in as monotone a way as possible? I want to scream at the top of my lungs sometimes because I feel like I’m drowning in my head with how inexpressive I’m taught to be. The idea that I’m being disrespectful whenever I correct somebody who has misjudged me or something I have done has just made me closed off.

“Is the number still connected to a receiver today?” was a question I had about the podcast The Mojave Phone Booth. I feel like that could almost be a metaphor. If something is destroyed so that it may have to be rebuilt somewhere else in the world or not at all, you’re always wondering if there’s still a connection to it. It’s how I feel sometimes when trying to express emotions. If I try expressing myself a certain way and it doesn’t work, then should I try something else, or just stop trying? It’s like how I wonder, if I called the number of the Mojave phone booth, how long would it ring? Or would it not ring at all? 

Would waiting for a response simply be a waste of time? That’s a question I ask myself most often. But perhaps a better question would be: do I feel satisfied with how I’m using my time? If the answer is no, then perhaps it is a waste of time after all. 

Is spending time worrying about formalities so important that I ignore if I’m actually happy with the use of my time? In some cases, perhaps, I suppose it would depend on what I’m doing. I know I definitely worry more about not having the motivation to do something and putting it off for too long than actually doing the thing I’m worried about. I know that there are some things I will do that will be useful to me outside of school, that I’ll be happy I worked through and learned about. But not everything I learn is like that, and I think perhaps schools should focus a bit more on how meaningful something will be in the future, rather than just teaching a topic and assigning work for them to complete in the evening. Making a student motivated, and finding something for them to be passionate about should be the goal of school, not getting them to learn about a bunch of topics.

“The bonsai tree in the attractive pot could’ve grown eighty feet tall on the side of a mountain… But a gardener carefully pruned it” –A Work of Artifice, Marge Piercy.

hurt. -Ice Cream Sandwich

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