Thursday, May 20, 2010

What I learned while staring at plastic wood: A Revelation

It all started when I found myself sitting in a small wood cubicle.
It was finals week (i.e the 6th and 3/4th level of Hell) and my next exam wasn't for another hour and a half.
I was tired, I was hungry, and the interest level of my philosophy notes did not seem to be improving with repetition.

So, resting my head on my propped elbow, I stared listlessly at the faux wood grain before me, occasionally letting my eyes wander over to a fuzzy black thing in the corner(I still cannot confirm that it was a smushed spider or not). But the fun didn't stop there.
I actually found a tiny little pink sequin.
Yes, miracle of miracles, it seemed that the gods had smiled down on me.
I placed it carefully on the tip of my finger and looked at it with all the wonder and excitement of a 4 year old.

...and then quietly threw it away after receiving more than a few puzzled looks...

Drat. Back to were I started.
Now sequinless, my brain saw nothing worth staying awake for and started the count-down.
But just as my eyes began to glaze over, I noticed faint pencil markings covering the walls.
I scrutinized the scratches more intently.
Scraggly, seemingly random etches of nothingness.
It honestly looked like someone decided to declare war on the cubicle, the pencil being their weaponry of choice.
But being bored and incessantly dramatic when in such a predicament, I fancied the the faint lead lines to be likened to tally marks.
Harrowing symbols of a life lived imprisoned.
A cell.
I was sitting in a virtual cell.

I ran with that.

Who did this? Why? Were they sad? Bored? Insane?
I wonder if whoever did this thought about the countless others who would also sit here.
I wonder what others thought when they saw these marks.
Did they even notice?

My questions deepened.

I wonder...if they were given a chance to mark again...and told the number of people that would have the chance to read their mark...would those people mark?
What would they write?

I twirled my pencil in my hand and asked myself the same question.

What would I write if the whole world could read?
Or, maybe more specifically, what would my mark say?
Would it just be a tally mark: a mute and depressing indicator of existence?

Or would it be something else...

My mind went wild thinking about what I would write if this metaphorical cubicle actually existed, everyone in the world getting a chance to read it.

No puny tally marks that's for sure.
Maybe I'd write a favorite quote or Bible verse?
Maybe I'd just write my name...
No, that's not big enough. I'd have to wow them.

And as I was debating with myself as to whether or not a Three Stooges quote would be appropriate, a still and simple thought slipped into my mind:

Thought: Caitlin...
Me: ...they're actually quite philosophical if you really think about it...and who doesn't like the three stooges?...
Thought: Uh Caitlin...?
Me: Yeah still and simple Thought? What's going on?
Thought: Nothing much. I just have something insightful to share. But if you're busy...
Me: Nope. Go right ahead.
Thought: *clears throat* Caitlin, this world is a cubicle. Maybe not as shoddy as the one you're sitting in right now, but equally as soul crushing. Millions come and go each day, many without leaving any evidence they do or ever did exist. But you know what? Everyone leaves a mark Caitlin. And whether they know it or not, everyone who ever comes in contact with them will read that mark.
Me: That's cool, Thought. I am enlightened.
Thought: No Caitlin. Everyone. reads. the mark.
Me: Yeah. I get it. Cool.
Thought: Really? Cool? Well then what does your mark say?
Me ...
Thought: Exactly.

What does my mark say?
I was secretly afraid to pursue that thought.
What does the world see when they come in contact with me?
Suddenly the Bible verse idea seemed hypocritical.

But I could change it right? I haven't died yet.

What does my mark say?
More importantly, what do I want it to say?

When people see my mark, do I really want them to read about how crappy life can be?
How sometimes I feel like I'm a waste of space?
An air sucker.
Did I really want people to see bitter cynicism when they looked at my face?
Selfishness, pride, and judgment when they witness my actions?

Or do I want them to feel hope instead?
My mark a declaration of my love of life and the creator who blessed me with it.
Rather than depression, I want them to see a sober minded resolution to champion goodness.

"...everyone leaves a mark..."

What does your mark say?
What do you want it to say?

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