Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Brave soul, a new experience

It's time to wind down. The weekend is here and despite the fact that I've woken up at 6 am every day for the past week, I will not even consider allowing myself to get less than eight hours of sleep tonight.

For a long time I thought a job (of sorts), a commute and the responsibility of timeliness were things I could handle. I am an organized, optimistic, driven person. If tasks are expected of me, I can complete them.

But in just the past week I've learned so much about my own work ethic. Though I have the ability and the conviction to be a successful employee, I am also one to long for time set aside for vegetating.

Tonight that came in the form of watching a movie called Brave. You may have heard of it, or at least its parent company. Brave is the newest film from Disney/Pixar. It's about a very self-motivated and hard-headed young Scottish princess who, when told she must accept the hand of a royal suitor, attempts to win her own hand and gets into trouble along the way.

Because I'm a connection maker and I enjoy finding personal meaning in every movie, television show, play, song or anything else that I partake in, I thought a bit about how Brave connects with my own story from the past week. I didn't have to rack my brain too hard to figure it out, either.

For the past five days I've gone into work. I've listened to instructions. I've complied with regulations. I've put myself out of my comfort zone for the sake of socialization and learning. All this is to be expected.

But why subscribe to expectations at all? Especially if they're just not you.

It's a bold comment that in theory makes sense. We should make our life decisions based on what suits us best, not what suits the many best. In the way of personal choices, the average human life seems to be dominated by some sort of monarchical structure. It's this hierarchy that decides what we do with ourselves.

If our parents say so... If our boss says so... If our professors say so... If our overly pushy friend says so.

Where do our choices come in?

In little ways, I've tried to test my own boundaries for the past week in my job. On the first day of work I barely touched the mouse on my in-office Mac. By the second day I was checking my email and setting up my work address. On the third day I was figuring out legitimate reasons to check out news outlets like The Hollywood Reporter or Entertainment Weekly. Day four meant time to start checking the freeway traffic online before leaving the office. Today I used Facebook, albeit only for a couple of minutes and mainly to look at the group that had been made up for summer interns by the studio, but feeling like a rebel magnified the act. So that's what it feels like to be a rule breaker.

According to all aspects of my internship, I'm at the beck and call of my supervisor and the associates in the department. I have little freedom of choice and the projects I'm assigned are picked for rather than chosen by me.

Situations like this prove that we don't always have control over how things might play out for us, sometimes we're just secondary to a supervisor. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it hinders our personal expression in exchange for the structure of having someone else in control.

Back to Brave, though. While I was watching the movie, I couldn't help but ruminate on my blog. This whole thing has become a sort of appendage, a little obnoxious reminder of consistency, but it's also an exercise in free will.

Because while I've contributed to various online publications with restrictions on story ideas, this blog is all about my ideas and mine alone, no censor. They can be large or small, clever or idiotic, it really doesn't matter. All that does is that I feel strongly about my decision to post at all.

Merida in Brave is all about carving out her own destiny. She sees that one of the greatest assets in life is self-discovery. Even if there is magic in life, it's our choices that help us to find what really matters. To create our own destiny.

In Merida's case, this means finding a way to get herself and her mother out of a bind. In my case, the goal isn't so pressing, but the idea is roughly the same.

I've been interning for a full work week and all I've been able to think about is the desire I have to bring something new to the table at my "job." Getting stuck in menial tasks reminds you that, like Merida, sometimes what is expected of you isn't necessarily what's best for you.

If you really want something you have to go for it.

I really want to actually use a camera on the job. I guess that means I might be bringing up the concept next week at work.

In the meantime, I'm fine just watching Disney films and trying to connect them to my own existential crises.

Everyone should be more like Merida. When the expectations of others are still considered, but personal conviction trumps all else, logic begins to settle in. "Our fate lives within us," says Merida at the closing of Brave. "You only have to be brave enough to see it."

Or ask for it.

Or even just dream about it.

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