Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Finding You

         My all-time favorite movie is none other than Finding Nemo. On this thrilling adventure Marlin, a clownfish, travels across the ocean in search of his only son, Nemo, with a high energy and spirited, but forgetful fish named Dory. Dory adds a little glimmer of hope in this otherwise sad tale. Although this movie is filled with a roller-coaster ride of emotions, it has an underlying
theme I've picked out after watching it many times. On first glance, it might only look like a movie about a fish doing anything he can to rescue his son, but I think this movie is actually about each of our characters finding themselves through this adventure. Nemo finds he can do much more than people expect of him despite his size and “lucky fin.” Marlin discovers his abilities of being a father and unique humor as a clown fish. Dory continues to just keep swimming against all the odds despite having short term memory loss.  Just like the characters of this movie, we all find bits of ourselves on the adventures we take.   
One of these adventures I went on was the journey of high school. I went through most of high school with a concept of what the ‘ideal student’ looked like. My definition was “someone who takes notebooks worth of notes in each class, studies endlessly, and gets A`s on every test.” I spent my time squeezing myself into this perfect cookie cutter shape of the ideal student. I would spend most of my time taking endless notes in a notebook for a class with the intention of studying them for the next test only to have the notebook stack up and sit there, unstudied. It wasn’t until recently I knew why I would spend so much time taking notes but never use them. A comment that changed my way of thinking went something like this: “It isn’t about how smart you are, it’s about how you are smart.”  Meaning we all learn in different ways that play to our strengths; that is what makes you smart by taking the focus off of how smart you are. This simple statement opened my eyes. I simply learned in a different style than those around me. I hated taking notes in class, yet I would torture myself day in and day out because I thought that was what a student had to do to be successful. I was never able to find my perfect style of learning, because I was never able to find myself and accept that I was different.
Fast forward to Blast Off training with the new state officer team. If there is one thing that I noticed, almost immediately, is that I was most definitely different from the rest of the team. As we sat at our table, I look around and noticed all my teammates sat straight forward, neatly in their chairs, hunched over writing in their journals. At the same time, I noticed myself, sitting sideways with my legs over the chair arms, playing with a pen, not even considering writing anything down.  Since then we have discovered differences between our team members, and how we work together
despite these differences. Whether learning styles, choice of presentation topic, or solving a problem, it always seems as if I conquered each task from a different angle than my teammates did. With this difference staring me dead in the face, I had a decision to make, was I going to decide to change who I was and follow those around me, or was I going to be myself? The choice was mine. Luckily, I decided to find myself, to be who I was, and continue to embrace the differences on our team.
In the middle of our film Finding Nemo, we are introduced to a character named Crush, a 150-year-old turtle that has embraced his identity: riding the waves, and loving his life being who he is. Crush serves as a guide for Marlin and Dory on the journey to find Nemo. Just like Marlin and Dory needed a guide, we can all look to those around us for guidance in our journeys to find our true selves. Without the support and insight from those around me, I would not have been open to finding myself or have embraced that I am indeed different. Who serves as your guide in finding you? Who do you look up to that has embraced their identity?  We will all come to a crossroad when we have to choose to be who we are, or who we think we should be. Where are you on the journey to of finding you? Next time you find yourself at a crossroads, answer these questions, seek guidance from those around you, and most importantly just be you.        

Stationed by the Emblem of Washington,

Spencer Flood 

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