17 March, 2010

He was smiling through his own personal hell

So I remembered all my terribly abandoned plans about Lent, and I still stand by my decision to start writing here again, but my plan to think more seriously about God hasn't really happened as much as I'd like. So I'm going to try to write something that is to some extent--hopefully--about morality.

I think goodness is hard for me to understand. I've said this before and I'll illustrate with a story that is, in retrospect, really funny. Also I'm going to use fake names because it makes me feel special. I'm pretty much the jester of the Lord.

When I was in twelfth grade, I read some articles about the musical Spring Awakening and got really excited about it. I didn't have many friends so I ended up asking my parents if one of them would take me, and my dad agreed to take me. Unfortunately, when I came back from winter break, before I'd seen it, this one girl Emily, who was really strange but popular among the theater kids, had already become obsessed with Spring Awakening and she and her friends would constantly go and do student rush. It was sort of frustrating because I was in this awkward position where I desperately wanted to be friends with Emily and the other kids, but I just wasn't, and now I felt that I wasn't allowed to like Spring Awakening, because they liked it.

In an unrelated turn of events, soon after winter break I realized that I had a huge crush on Emily. I'd be about to brush my teeth and then I would just be standing there completely still, thinking about her, and I couldn't even turn on my toothbrush because the sound would upset me too much in my fragile state. Once I skipped play rehearsal because I got really scared that instead of my lines, I would just accidentally start yelling, "I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH EMILY." I was incredibly anxious and miserable and twitchy, and just incredibly, incredibly guilty that I felt this way--and if you understand why this is about to be funny, then maybe you have seen Spring Awakening and you know that there's a character who acts exactly like my high school self:

When I (now reluctantly) went to see the musical with my dad, I was so extremely taken in and destroyed by what happened to the Amanda Forest Vivian doppleganger that I went into this weird stunned state for hours, and yelled at one of my teachers for not counting so I could keep up with her during an instrumental performance that happened later that night. I bought a t-shirt and a CD, but as soon as I got home I put them away in a drawer because I felt like I couldn't be into Emily and her friends' thing. It would just seem like I was copying. Which sort of sucked because I think it would have been really helpful for me to be able to listen to it, given the subject matter. Basically as soon as I graduated, I became a superfan for the whole summer.

But in February, when I was really in the depths of my Emily obsession, and basically hating myself and crying in the car on the way home from school (here's a really hilarious journal entry I wrote around that time, if you're curious), one of Emily's friends, Karen (I know, I'm so good at making up names), developed a huge crush on Gideon Glick, one of the cast members of Spring Awakening. Every time they went to the stage door, she would try to talk to him as much as possible, etc. etc., or sometimes she was too shy to go and Emily would have to go and get a message for Karen, etc. etc. Now, Gideon Glick looks like this:

I know you can't know for sure, but Gideon Glick is a guy who, if I found out he didn't like making out with girls, I wouldn't be all that surprised.

But Karen was.

Gideon Glick did an interview where he mentioned that he didn't like making out with girls, and Karen was fucking despondent! I mean, she was sort of joking, but also sort of not. She sat on the couch in the green room and all their friends clustered around her expressing their sympathy, while Karen nodded sadly and squished her hands together.

So, let's review: Karen was very dramatically expressing her unrequited love for a gay dude (a gay dude out of the many dudes in the world, who by and large like girls) who she didn't really know in real life, and everyone felt sorry for her. Meanwhile, I was unrequitedly in love with the bizarre but fascinating and very moving Emily, a person I saw every day, who I was forced to talk to on a regular basis while I pretended nothing was wrong, because if anyone found out, it would just mean that I was really gross and creepy and a predator.

I wanted to punch Karen in the face. Because I wanted to punch her in the face so much, I figured that it would be really, really charitable, and exactly the kind of thing God wanted me to do, if I went up to her before English class and said, "Oh, hey, Karen, I'm sorry about that guy you like." So I did.

Karen blinked and said snottily, "Oh, Gideon Glick? Oh...well, it's okay." She shrugged with the air of someone who has too much pain to share with anyone else; she sighed, and settled again into her limp Gideon-Glick-is-gay posture, against the wall across from the door of the class.

I almost went into some sort of fit of rage. What the fuck, Karen! I tried so hard to be charitable to you! I totally pushed down all of the totally horrible and intense and sad feelings that I have every day about Emily, and I tried to care about your stupid crush on some obviously gay actor in a musical, when I don't even know you very well! What the fuck!

Ever since this happened, it is sometimes hard for me to decide how good is too good. The problem with striving for the best is that sometimes the best simply isn't possible, and trying to do something really good might just result in you being really, really angry and, well...less Christlike. Like many people who are disabled, and also probably many college students who aren't perfectly suited to the way college is, I spend a lot of my energy just trying to think about how to get through the day. And I guess it's hard for me to decide how much to take "getting through the day" into account when I am making decisions. I mean, sometimes I think I take that so much into account, that I forget about goodness. But I'm also afraid of trying so hard to be good that I end up just really angry, if that makes sense.


  1. A very moral tale!

    A Hungarian acquaintance, Esther (elnischan) on LiveJournal, took her brother Stefan/Istvan to see the play. He was 16 years old and had an open mind, and learnt a lot.

    The singing at 1 minute of the 1st video gets the point(s) across.

  2. Being good to yourself counts too.

    Goodness comes from the heart and shouldn't make you angry, if its reciprocity that angers you than I don't think it counts as goodness.

    Also making a good decision is not always the same as goodness.

    And most importantly, trying counts.

  3. I love Spring Awakening, and I have loved it for quite awhile now. (I have yet to see it on stage, I don't have the money to and my Mom doesn't either so meh..) It's a really good show though, I've read the script lol.

    I'm completely obsessed with like.. the majority of the songs, though there are like three songs I'm not keen of.

  4. I wish girls had more to do in it. I guess you like Lea Michele because you have a livejournal icon of her but I can't stand her. I really love Phoebe Strole and Jenn Damiano (who is in Next to Normal now if you are familiar with that, and was the understudy for Ilse, Anna, and Martha--she was a fantastic Ilse, much better than Lauren Pritchard who was allergic to acting) and Lili Cooper and Remy Zaken, and it just really frustrated me that they had like nothing to do, except Lili Cooper. It annoyed me that they didn't let them do the more "rock" songs and stuff.

  5. oh hey, I just wanted to make sure you know there are video bootlegs and stuff--I don't have any on this computer but I will when I go home for break next week, besides they at least used to be pretty easy to find online.

    I'm probably being a major purist but I was just so infatuated with John Gallagher Jr. and it's really difficult for me to imagine anyone being like he was. The first "Don't Do Sadness" video I found was Blake Bashoff and I almost barfed all over him just for not being JGJ.

  6. oh: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2500317042272019838#
    never mind, that was easy

  7. On Lea Michele, I am not the biggest fan of hers, but I do enjoy her voice (And yes, I like Glee..) I like most of the other cast members of Spring Awakening, but yes.. most people are JGJ purist like things.. he has an amazing voice and nothing really can beat it. I have problems with casts that aren't the original because I'm always convinced they are so much better.

    I am also really against the awkward changes to Song of Purple Summer, I am ALL for harmonies. I play the piano, so I am a musical geek.. but I hated the newer version of song of purple summer... I liked the original recording of it with less harmonies.. to me it made better sense and it wasn't trying to be all "woo look at us harmonize.." and some of the harmonies just weren't good in my opinion.

  8. I just think the "listen to what's in the heart of a child" intro is really cheesy...I like the original intro because it sounds sort of weirdly Biblical or something. actually I think I'm wearing a pair of jeans that has "And All Shall Fade" written on it in various places from when I was obsessed with SA.