Juxtaposition

Truth - There will be times, places, and spaces where things don't add up. Things seem out of sync, weird, and just kind of off. You can't really place your finger on it but you can feel in twings, twangs, and hints. Something is just not quite right. Sometimes you figure out how to realign your anachronistic schism and other times, you just take things as they are and way for them to pass. Not all the things you experience are going to match up perfectly with your expectations of them are. You never know where you'll end up, and why you are there. It may never make sense, but taking things as they are is imperative when you're faced with the dilemma of the juxtaposition.

"Words are not pebbles in alien juxtaposition" Learned Hand

A juxtaposition is the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. It's like a visual representation of an oxymoron. It's things that you wouldn't normally associate with one another being brought together like a snowball in the desert, "Friends" being funny, or Terry Crews in a mini-cooper. They are things that you never thought you would see, or things you find quirky, interesting, or challenge you to stop and think. Juxtapositions are both literary terminology and application to instances where things do coalesce but demonstrate that close-distancing that is implied with it.

Overall I continue to wonder not just how but if I fit in here. I question to a certain extent if I'm fulfilling my purpose and being my best self. I'm pressed to figure out if this is who I'm supposed to be. Is this the right time, place, and space for me? It seems like most everything I do goes against the grain. My entire framework, and worldview come off as contrary the cultures and locales I frequent as of late. Whether I'm on campus working with the office staff, at home with students, or even in class at school, I feel like I approach things differently than everyone else. It becomes more and more apparent how each person varies in where they are in their life story and where they are developmental in that process as well. Even reflecting on myself, it's clear to see just how much I have changed since I started graduate school and my assistantship. In similar ways though, I am able to point out the ways in which I'm still the same. No matter who I am though, how I show up, how I speak with people, and how I put myself out there make it plain and clear that I'm not from here. Is that a good or a bad thing, again, I guess that doesn't serve any purpose either way. All I know is I am the embodiment of change in this setting, how that impacts me and the those around me is going to take some time to figure out. I'm a walking, talking,

This has been one of those weird weeks where I was figuring things out as I went. I really never know what to expect these days and what each day will hold for me. I have an idea in my mind but things never play out the way I forsee them to. I wouldn't apply a values judgment to it just simply different, but neither better nor worse. I come off someone who is okay with adapting but I think I really am uptight, like structure, and organization. The entire concept of the natural order of entropy where things was to be disordered is the exact opposite of me inherently. Combine that with lingering feels of inadequacy and you've got yourself a quirky juxtaposition of complicated proportions.

Not having the time to blog has been like being emotionally backed up in that oh so special Pepto Bismol kind of way. Now that I'm doing the whole riding solo thing in this new place, it's become even more important that I make the effort to write. I just don't feel right without doing so. In these days where I've felt ambiguous about things, I've needed to speak my truth. I struggle with the ideal of fitting in but also standing out. Those feelings of wanting to belong but also to distinguish yourself never seem to go away. It's uncanny how ostracized and alienated you can feel when you're surrounded by strangers. It's tough because I spend most of my time with students who may or may not see me as an actual person more than just someone who either helps or hinders their programs, events, and college career. Outside the work I do in having conversations, corresponding through email, and organizing events, programs, and committees it's unclear as to where I'm actually a person in their eyes. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just a means to an end for them. I know I can't expect them to always be cognizant of seeing, valuing, and making me feel mattered but it's interesting to serve people and in some ways to feel invisible in doing so. It's just one of those juxtapositions.

Old habits die hard and I've found myself doing the same thing I did in college with filling up my time with so many things that I don't have to work on relationships. I always laugh because of course all the things I was involved with in college were important to me but my motivation was also partially for myself so I could avoid certain environments, situations, and people. Now I do the same in different ways. If I'm not at work, I'm doing house director tasks, going to class or doing homework, going to church, or setting up my Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentorship. I still have a problem with saying no and find myself on committees, attending meetings, and filling up my time so that I don't have to face the new reality of uncertainty of adulthood. The more I structure my time the less room for error I subconsciously desire to have, but like I said before - that's not the way this game called life works.

Even in doing so plot twists have edited the story I thought I would write. The past few days found me not enjoying something I was looking forward to in a bible study, and happening to be exactly where I needed to be when students me. I was all set to connect with some other black men around out faith but soon it was nothing but transphobia, homophobia, sexism, patriarchy, and religious intolerance. It was so disheartening. I understand God to be someone who loves all people and asks us to demonstrate that same love so to hear people condemning others, referring to who people are as "lifestyle choices," and the hypocrisy was enough for me to know that it was not going to work out. I interviewed with the mentor program for Big Brothers and Big Sisters the next morning and it was a welcome change of pace. To be able to articulate so many of my formative life experiences, especially those that asked me to recall my childhood was an impactful morning. My work week was memorable in that I somehow I ended up being where the students, and those I work with needed me most. I always go over the allotted time I'm supposed to be working (don't tell my supervisor I'm a workaholic) but this week there was purpose in it even more so because I was able to aid students. Being able to go above and beyond in supporting other people is precisely why I love what I get to do. It was so fulfilling to be the person others needed, whether they knew it or not. The week had a way of ending with reminding why that I really do have something unique to give to others - they may not see it get it or see it but that's just of my juxtaposition.

The unexpected is something we should expect to surprise us when we need it most. Even in those times where we don't really know what we're doing or how to do it there's a purpose to it. We may not understand it, process it, or even take it to the heart but I'll be damned if I didn't on some level trust the process, keep the faith, and have hope. Giving it time means following other people's leads or taking the scenic route on your own path. X

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