Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Defining Myself

What is my purpose?
My purpose is based on my beliefs--not only my beliefs in God, but a collections of beliefs I have pieced together as I have attempted to solve the mystery of my own existence.  This is what I believe.

I believe my purpose in life is a complicated one. Even I don’t know it.  I believe that I will never know it and that, in a paradoxical turn of events, our purpose in life is to end knowing, with deepest conviction, that we never had one in the first place other than to follow our hearts and love who we are.  After all, if we regret nothing, how can we say that our purpose was yet left unfulfilled? I believe our purpose in life is to be happy and do our best to make others happy along with us.  I believe nothing can stop us.  I believe some of us spend so much of our time searching for our purpose in the mud, we forget we can fly.  I believe ambition has nothing to do with age.  I believe 
your life does not start when you’re eighteen or twenty-five or thirty.  I believe your life starts when you want it to, and all the time before is spent with your eyes squeezed shut, perched on the edge but too afraid to leap.  I believe some people never do.
I believe I was born to travel the world.  I don’t want to stay in one place for my whole life, watching the same old life, like a song stuck on repeat.  I want to see what’s out there, to experience it--to eat new food, meet new people, and expect the unexpected.  I want to live without borders, to say I am a citizen of the world.  I want a suitcase instead of a closet; a train instead of a car.  I want to leave stories everywhere I go so that I will become a part of the memories of everyone I meet, all over the planet.  But most importantly, I want their stories to become mine.  I be
lieve I was born to see it all, plus a bit more.  I believe my purpose is to explore.
I believe I was born to write.  I believe in the power of imagination, and of an idea planted in someone’s mind.  I believe the world is changed through words--the perfect words--words that would be able to convince a species that the time to change is now.  Although I don’t think I will be the one to have that honor, that will not stop me from pouring my thoughts onto a page and sharing my heart with the people around me.  I want to write about the things I see, the things I hear, and the things I love.  I want to blur the line between dreams and reality.  I believe my purpose is to create.
I believe I was born to experience.  Once my travels are over, I can see myself living in a large plantation house in the south, the quiet solitude giving me the other end of the social spectrum.  I want to experience beauty in simplicity, in sitting back and enjoying the silence. I believe in working hard for as long as it takes so you can follow your dreams without a second thought later on.  I believe in no shortcuts to success.  I firmly believe in seeing what you want and doing everything in your own power to get it.  If I fail and give up, it just wasn’t that important to me.  I believe anything’s possible.  So I’m going to try everything.  I believe my purpose is to live.
I believe I was born to share my joy.  Everyone’s trying to get through the same life we are, so it’s not fair for people who are a point ahead to sabotage those who seem to be lagging behind.  I want to make everyone’s life just as enjoyable as I’m determined to make mine.  I believe we’re equal and there’s nothing I want more in life than to be able to remember that at all times.  Sometimes there are too many stereotypes in the world.  I believe my purpose is to forget them.
Without these beliefs, my purpose means nothing.  What does it matter what I’m supposed to do, when I don’t even know what I want to do?  We must have a foundation to leap from, otherwise our feet will never leave the ground.  So I squeeze my eyes shut tighter, bend my knees, and prepare to enter the unknown.  And although I know my life won’t always turn out the way I want it to, I know I’ll be ready for it.  And I know that, in the end, I’ll still be in charge of the outcome.  This is what I believe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding Myself

Where am I?

As of this moment, I’m sitting at the kitchen table, typing this blog posting.  Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is playing in the background, making everything I type seem slightly more dramatic than it deserves to be.  The kitchen seems to be the place in the house where everything happens.  We have our meals here, we do our homework here, we play games here--it’s the central hub of activity in the Carnoali household.  And it shows.  The floor is marked up with scratches made from years of broken dishes, cat fights, furniture arrangement, and just the general traffic in and out.  I love my kitchen.  It has a sort of country look with just the right amount of Carnoali flavoring.
I am in my house.  My old, farm-style, white walled house sitting on top of a high, green hill.  As far as I’m concerned, our house is perfect.  It’s been the base of all our memory-making over the last 17 years.  We set up obstacle courses in the living room and created our very own marching bands in the office.  I know every inch of it.  I know which stairs creak and which ones are safe, I know how many steps it takes to get from the kitchen to my bedroom and exactly where the hallway turns, even in the dark.  I remember each animal we’ve ever had and where they’re buried in the yard.  When I was little, I wanted to move.  I thought our house was dull and ordinary.  I took me a couple of years to learn that this house was exactly what it was meant to be.  Just because I’d seen everything there was to see and done everything there was to do, didn’t mean the adventures were over.  I now realize that it’s precisely in the moment when you have seen everything that you start over  You make new memories, until the place which had seemed so bland and tasteless before was now veritable treasure trove of excitement.  This isn’t just a house anymore, it’s a home.  And when I leave and move on with my life, I hope I will still look back on this place with fond remembrance.
I am in my town.  I say my town because if I named the place that I am physically in at the moment, I wouldn’t have much to write about.  My mailbox says Hampton.  My heart says Aurora.  Ever since I began school there in seventh grade, I’ve loved it.  I love the square and the restaurants.  I love the unique little businesses that you won’t see anywhere else.  I love the town’s spirit at football games and at festivals like Auroran Days.  Everyone seems to care so much about the town’s well-being.  I love the fact that we have museums and exhibits proudly explaining where this town came from and what it’s doing.  When I was in fourth grade I went to a small Lutheran school in Hampton.  My brother, I knew, was attending Aurora the next year and, for some reason, I was under the impression that Aurora was a huge, scary place which would swallow you up if you weren’t careful.  I dreaded going there, too scared to imagine what would become of me if I went to, as I saw it then, the big city school.  By the time seventh grade rolled around, however, I was set.  I had my head on a little straighter and was ready to move up in the world.  I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.  Aurora is where I spend most of my time with my friends and for school activities.  It is my home now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am in America.  Although some people may see it as typical naivety, I know for a fact that I live in the best country in the world.  I love the way we were founded, I love our culture, and I love our philosophies.  I actually love the cocky arrogance that Americans seem to have.  It makes me feel like there is a sense of pride that Europeans can’t wring out.  America will always be my home, even if I leave it for a while.
I am on the Earth.  I am on a vibrant, beautiful, diverse, beautiful planet that is taken for granted too many times.  It was only a few years ago that something shifted inside my mind and I decided that I wanted to see it all.  I live in the most miraculous place we know of, and suddenly I didn’t understand why I was planning on staying in the same small portion of it for my whole life.  There’s so much out there, and I want to breathe it in, to embrace it and perhaps change it for the better.
I am in the Universe.  Or at least, I watch the Universe, staring up into heavens from the limitations of my back yard.  It taunts me, dangling unknown wonders just above my finger tips.  It’s the one thing we will never reach.  Not in my lifetime, at least.  So I am forced to watch only, to window shop for the greater things of human existence.  Compared to the Universe, the Earth is so tiny.  It makes me wonder where we fit in in this wide expanse.  Is there something else out there?
If so, where is it?  Where are we?  Where am I?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Listening to Myself

Discovering Myself

   As a senior in high school, I am constantly discovering who I am.  I am Mary Carnoali.  I am a writer of stories, a reader of books, and a watcher of movies.  I am a lover of comedy, a player of music, and a chaotic mess of tangled ideas and crazy dreams.  I am ambitious schemes and mad theories.  I am Mary Carnoali.  I am who I am.
   The most obvious place to start is at the base.  The foundation of my life has been my family, my faith, and my imagination.  Like the base of a mountain, these three have been there since the beginning.  In my attempt to reach the more obscure aspects of my life, they are my stepping stone--my push-off point.
   My family, though slightly dysfunctional in it's own way, is irreplaceable.  We are a typical family of four with a not so typical mixture of personalities.  My brother tells things the way they are.  He rarely embellishes situations or, when he does, it's so wildly extravagant that it's funny.  My father is the opposite.  In order to hold a conversation, one must learn to read in between the lines.  He always gets this look on his face and you sit there waiting during what would seem like perfectly normal conversation for the punch line.  As for my mother, she always gives me the impression that she was fairly normal before she met any of us.
   My faith has grown in it's importance in my life.  It has tumbled down from the mountain side to rest at the base and act has support and guidance.  I attend church, youth group and a Bible study whenever possible.  It seems as if the same words which went in one other and out the other only a couple of years ago are finally making sense.  This change in perspective plays a big part in who I am today.  I would be very amiss if I wrote a few phrases on who I am and not include it.
  The final stone of my base is the rough, vibrant stone of my imagination.  Whether it's reading books, watching movies, or coming up with my own plots inside my head, my inner world is always active.  I have created whole worlds and followed characters throughout their entire lives, coming up with strange new adventures for them to have and wonderful people for them to meet.  My brain is always asking "what if?" and, before I can stop it, it's off coming up with improbable scenarios.  Despite the fact that it can be exasperating, sometimes it's just what I need to escape or to move along in a plot I've been working on.  Like my family and my faith, I couldn't do without it.  It's a release, and, if used right, it's a crazy ride.
   Built upon my base there's a conglomeration of several things.  There's my obsessions and loves, as well as my disgusts and the things that I've chosen just not to care about at all.  I watch a ton of science fiction and love to get caught up in a web of complicated story plots.  My Sunday afternoons each August are filled with the new Doctor Who episodes and my Monday mornings are spent trying to figure them out.  If I like something, I love it, get completely obsessed with it, and immerse myself in it.  But if I dislike something, I hate it, coming up with a multitude of justifications, some not so high quality.  The thing that brings me the most joy in life is taking the things I'm obsessed with and teaching others to love it too.  Unfortunately for them, this usually happens to be my friends.  Some of them are harder to convert to my various Mary-isms than others.
   Like many kids around my age, I love music.  Differing from them, however, is the variety of music that I actually listen to.  On my mp3 alone I have songs in six different languages, including Elvish and English gibberish.  I like classical, christian contemporary, pop culture, classic rock, computer generated, Celtic, soundtrack, and instrumental music.  I like to sing and I play violin and flute.  I have dabbled in at least 12 different instruments throughout my life, resulting in a pile of sheet music, most of which I will never play again.
   These are only a few of the things that I am made up of.   The mountain reaches to the skies, covered in everything from giant boulders, to tiny insignificant pebbles.  One day I hope to understand who I am, conquering the rocks to claim my spot at the top.  In the meantime, I'll keep exploring, learning more with each step I take.


Map of Myself