So, what’s this blog going to be about? Whatever I want. Hah! There is no clear purpose right now other than to be an outlet for my writing. But I’ll start with an introductory post, since those are always fun. My name is Faye Cheadle and I’m from Burke, Virginia. Burke is a suburb of Washington, D.C. It’s small enough for people to say “I’m from 30 minutes outside of DC” instead of “I’m from Burke, Virginia”. Even if you do say your from Burke, you usually have to add where it is in relation to DC to prevent awkward looks or expectant silences in the conversation. Both of my parents are successful immigrants, which has shaped my worldview quite a bit. I grew up around lush trees and grass and logs that would be pulled up to look for salamanders and worms. I tried playing with neighborhood kids, but it would never last long before I started crying about something. I’d usually retreat back to my bedroom to read or sit watching TV and movies or playing computer games. Solitary activities for a shy girl. My older brother was a fan of science fiction and fantasy, which ended up rubbing off on me and my little sister. That didn’t really help with the shyness…or acceptance. Other kids were always confused that I would want to read books that were 1000 pages long and already knew most of the words in the class vocabulary books. When I did socialize, it was with other nerdy girls. I resented this for some time, because it always looked like the popular, gregarious girls were so much happier than I was. However, early in high school, I figured out that their friends didn’t really like them. These were marriages of social convenience and show, without the real support or shared values of true friends. From then on, I worried much less about how many people liked me and concerned myself with trying to find people that I could be happy around.
Pre-school, elementary school, and high school went by like a blur. There are defining moments of course, but things didn’t get really interesting for me until college. I was an unsure, wandering spirit before then. So what happened in college and afterwards? Did I find myself? Sort of. It was a little more bumpy than the movies where someone lands on their true self in an epiphany. I had to scrounge around a bit. There were little mini-ephiphanies, I guess, but it was a very halting, jolting process. There was no one moment where I said “Ah, yes, this is it”. And you usually don’t really “find” yourself, like looking for something you know you’ve lost. Things get degraded, pressures and expectations are piled on one another. Then you wake up confused, not completely realizing what’s going on but with a feeling that something’s gone all crooked. And then you feel around, pawing at some things, grabbing on to others, until you can pull yourself out into a more well-lit corner of the room. You remember the things you liked when you were a kid, and decide that these are perfectly fine things to like. Great things to like, even. You find new ideas that have somehow always been inside you, but someone else has managed to articulate clearly and coherently. Sometimes you realize you were wrong, easily letting go of certain ideas, and having difficulty letting go of others.
What did I find? What did I let go of? I found philosophy. I found lifelong friends. I realized that I didn’t really want to be a Computer Scientist (this happened, quite unfortunately, after I already had the degree). After being told for so long that you have to accept with the flaws of your friends, I found out that you shouldn’t have to put up with people that are unhappy and cynical. Condescension and arrogance don’t equal confidence. Real confidence comes when you no longer need someone else’s approval to feel good about yourself. I realized that I don’t believe in God or religion, but I do believe in the importance of a good philosophy. Inspiring art is also important and can feed your soul more than any dogma. I believe in an individual’s right to their own life, and recognize how important a community of good individuals is. I’m creative. I like to make stories and use my imagination. I revere scientists and their work, but don’t have the meticulous nature to do this kind of work myself. You have to define yourself by what you value and love, not by the things that you revile. I’ve realized these things and many more, all of which I’m sure will come up in my blog. Happy reading!