CIRCUMSPECTACLES :: noun, plural 1) the many varieties of absurdity and beauty all around us 2) a worldview or set of ‘lenses’ that leads to wonder and awe 3) a sense of smallness 4) watching the constant tension, the constant dialogue between nature and culture, place and space
My name is Emily Lynn Cook. I grew up in a small town called Mars, Pennsylvania, USA. I was homeschooled, took lots of roadtrips, read too many books, and had a hard time figuring out what I thought and believed.
I don’t know why I wrote that in the past tense. I still take roadtrips, read too much, and am always overthinking something.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve just wrapped up my degree in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. I love hitch-hiking, rock climbing and hillwalking. I’ve battled depression and panic attacks. After the incredible kindness of family and friends and more than a few Scottish ridges, I firmly believe that joy is to be found in keeping an open mind, embracing the contradictions within ourselves, and refusing to stop moving forward.
Moving forward for me means pursuing adventure, mountains, and anthropology (which is the study of what it means to be a person, coming from someone who’s still trying to figure out how to be a person). I think these topics overlap in interesting ways which are pertinent to issues of mental health, feminism, conservation, and indigenous rights, amongst others.
I can’t honestly say I live fearlessly, seeing as I still have panic attacks walking down familiar streets for no particular reason. However, I can say that I care deeply about my place in the world. I love people around me more than I ever have while still being a bit of a cantankerous nut. My ridiculous hopes in life include completing a PhD in anthropology, climbing loads of mountains and learning how to dogsled. My biggest and dearest hope is to bring joy to others after having fought for it myself.
This is a blog about staying open to the wonders around us and refusing to stop growing. For me, this means owning my past, trying to understand people for where and who they are, and being honest about what I think’s bullshit.