Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Solla Sollew

So I'm back in New York. I live on the eighth floor of a fourteen story high rise building, with a giant window that spans almost an entire wall, and a shower that actually manages to stay one consistent temperature. I've managed to hook up both the cable and the internet, and despite having my first class in a wing that seems like something out of a slasher film, things are actually going pretty well for the start of a new semester.

It's funny, I feel like I'm a lot more laid back than I was when I started last year. I had so many expectations for what I wanted my college experience to be like, so many things I absolutely needed it to be in order for me to be content. I got hung up on all sorts of little things, I over thought, over analyzed, over...well, pretty much everything. I was a bit a of a wreck, to be honest,trying to fit in in a major I didn't quite belong in, tying to make my life be this perfect image I'd had in my head, trying to be this person I idolized.

There's a book by Dr. Seuss called I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew which, as a fair number of his books actually are, is not really written for kids. In it, an unnamed protagonist decides he wants to escape the problems of his life and go to Solla Sollew, a mythical place where "they never have troubles, at least only a few." So he goes on a rather epic quest, traveling an extreme distance, facing all sorts of perils until he finally gets to Solla Sollew. Unfortunately for him, after all the trouble he's faced, and the setbacks that tried to stop him, Solla Sollew is inaccessible. The city has only one trouble, and it's that a "key slapping slippard" has invaded the keyhole, and made it impossible to get in or out of the city. The gatekeeper says he's going to find another mythical problem free land, and offers to take the protagonist with him, but he refuses, instead taking out a bat and deciding to face his troubles head on, exclaiming "Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

The book is heavy in metaphor, basically being a lesson in facing your demons rather than running away from them. It also points out that perfection is impossible to find, and that trying to will simply cause even more strife than you had before.

When I first came to college, I was looking for Solla Sollew. I'd just been through a hellish senior year, a depression that had been far harder to get out of than I'd expected, and a number of other things that I've already discussed to death in other entries. I had a desperation to get away, to go somewhere where I wouldn't have to think about, be bothered by, or even really confront everything I knew I should probably have done something about. It was kind of pathetic, actually, but I'm sure everyone's had a moment like that.

The problem was, I was expecting college to be that place. I wanted to go to New York, have it be the glittering place where dreams are made, and just forget everything that ever bothered me. I wanted to be a completely different person than the person I was in New Hampshire.

But of course, you can never get to Solla Sollew. New York was just New York, simultaneously the city of dreams and a noisy, crowded metropolis. My constant need for it to be perfect, and by extension, for me to be perfect, made the year a psychologically harrowing experience. Much like Dr. Seuss's protagonist, I went through more strife trying to find perfection than I ever would have if I'd just let my life be imperfect, and eventually, as is ultimately inevitable when you're trying to get to Solla Sollew, I discovered that a perfect college experience and a perfect sense of self is unobtainable. Things were just the way they were, people, places, and personalities. The best thing to do was to just take my bat and face the world.

So here I am now, one year on. Once again, I have the chance to start over, but you know, I think I'm just going to keep going. Starting over is useless when you have a perfectly fine life to begin with.

"I learned there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind...
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"