It’s Our Time To Go

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Last week I graduated from college, one of the first big accomplishments many of us make in our lifetimes. When I first went away to school everyone told me how fast four years was going to go by and how I should enjoy every moment. Now, looking back at what once seemed like a very far off milestone, it’s easy to say “they were right.” There are certainly early memories, like moving in, or taking my first exam, that feel like a long time ago, but overall this four years was the busiest and fastest four years of my life. Why are they so fast? Because we’re busy. Because we’re having fun. Because when you really think about four years you realize how little of it you actually remember—how many mornings, dinners, classes, nights spent in the library you just can’t recall.

11143434_1122971397716724_4742250236336702333_nOn Sunday, our commencement speaker Jason Kilar, the founder of Hulu, spoke about his own experience graduating from UNC 22 years ago. He talked about his obstacles and about how “life is an exercise of living with the certainty of the uncertainty.” He said not to let the absence of answers stop you from pursuing your dreams—just the kind of thing you would expect to hear at a college graduation speech, in the midst of a sea of almost 3,900 graduates eager and anxious about their next step in life. In a time when the odds may seem against you and nothing is working he told us to be strong, that “there is no adversity capable of stopping you once the choice to persevere is made.” Great stuff, right? I know, you should read the rest of the speech.

When I first stepped foot on campus during a tour in 2011 Carolina was just a dream, college some real yet mysteriously mystical place where people gain friends and get smart. A few months later I was nervously following my tour guide around orientation, registering for classes, gawking at upperclassmen, and trying not to be too much of a first year. And just several weeks after that, I was immersing myself into a culture of blue that would soon become my second family. I was such a different person then, but those changes happened slowly versus all at once. Over time, I became more observant, more confident, less trusting, more professional and far more comfortable sharing my ideas. College exposed me to more kinds of people than I had ever been around and I found myself making the decision to improve different parts of my personality and take advantage of the opportunity to acquaint myself with, well, myself. Most importantly, college required me to be responsible, and through all the times I was and I wasn’t, I found myself capable of rising to the responsibilities on my plate.

One of the things that makes university (as my British friends would say) so special is the encouragement to openly discuss, question and explore ideas or just life in general. Often, once we’ve become grown adults and handled life’s curveballs we gain certain philosophies that remain unchanged. We rely on our experience and less on discovery. We make certain judgments on the world instead of propositions, declarations instead of wondering. That’s what I tell people I’ll miss most. Of course I’ll miss the classes, the athletics, $10 Broadway shows and being a five minute walk from my friends. But I’ll miss the eagerness to discover and question life the most. I won’t miss dorm laundry rooms, grading systems, or trying to walk from one side of campus to the other in ten minutes.

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Carolina was a special place for all of us, but like all schools, she makes you leave. Although I know we’ll come back one day, reminiscing about our time walking these bricks and sharing success stories, it’s hard to leave initially. Graduation sneaks up on you in the swarm of moving, eating with friends, finals, pictures and senior shenanigans. You drive off and realize it really is over, the days flourishing in the Pit, throwing Frisbee in the quad and camping out all night in the UL are for a new class of students. It feels like someone is tearing your heart from your chest, waving it in your face and telling you it’s no longer yours. Campus morphs into a vastly dead silence, lying in wait for first years to start swarming campus as wide-eyed as we once were, and it all feels so unfair.

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But wasn’t this the goal? We certainly didn’t enroll to be eternal college students. We talked about this day, how we couldn’t wait for it, how we dreaded it, how we thought we weren’t going to make it. We wanted to graduate. No, we didn’t expect it to rain for an hour and 45 minutes of the two hour ceremony, but we imagined it. We wanted to wear alumni shirts and become famous with degrees, fancy cars and have kids who could wear baby Tar Heel clothes. This was the whole point and we made it. We did it. Not everyone who started with us ended with us, but they are still a part of our experience and that’s life in all its irony. Some of us stuck together to the end and we have a lifetime of memories to share for it. Some of us went through some really, really hard times. But we persevered, like Jason said. So graduation is not sad, because it means we accomplished an admirable thing, we achieved one dream, and we can accomplish more.

Those four long years ago I wrote a post that to this day is my most popular, Last Full Week, where I reflected on my last week at home before college and I ended with this paragraph:

 I am not scared or sad. I am happy, I am content, I am thankful, and I am blessed. I sometimes want more than I need, but I have all I need because I have Him, and my family and my Tarheel Fam. What more could a girl like me ask for? I have been given more things in this world than I could ever repay. My prayers have been answered and I am completely happy. Life could not be greater than it is today. The sky is not the limit, it’s just the beginning of the dream. I’m going, for the top of the moon.“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.” – Frederick Buechner

capI can’t say that tonight, after being home a week after finishing college that my sentiments are any different. Perhaps we don’t have a list of requirements in front of us telling us what to do anymore as we’ve had our whole lives, but that’s okay. Some of us are going to serve our country, take time abroad, continue more education, look for jobs, start companies/invent ideas, begin a family or just relax and collect our thoughts. But we should all go after our dreams, after our careers. I know this was the best four years of my life as it should have been, enjoying the brink of adulthood and low responsibility. But I’m not completely sad or stuck on this chapter ending, because I know there’s chapters ahead, and I know the road gets better from here. If I stayed depressed that college was over it would mean I didn’t believe there will be anything else as good ahead. So I keep believing. I thank God that I have something to cherish, something so hard to part with. I have the ability to carve my own path now and I have the critical skills to do so wisely. I’m ready to dive into new adventures, new responsibilities, and new stories. I’m ready to take on something big that demands me to become better, to climb a steep learning curve and succeed. Because when you’re thrown a huge ball you either catch it or drop it—both will help you become a better person, and the more it happens the better you’ll get at catching. Just keep your head up, your hopes high, your feet running, and never ever doubt your dreams.

Doing what you love, pursuing your own path, is often the most unsettling option at the outset. The paths that others have traveled before you, paths that have greater visibility — they appear lower risk. They play better in conversations with the aunts, the uncles, and the neighbors. But don’t fall for it. You’re better than that, and you have the strength to go your own way. – Jason Kilar

Until Next Time

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Graduation season has tip-toed its way on us yet again. I have one more year of college left, and I am so thankful for all the things I have learned, people I’ve met, and memories I’ve made. I also constantly wonder if I have taken advantage of everything and think about what is left to accomplish.

In general, it’s a relief to complete another year and start a new summer. There will be reading, internships, work, and preparation for senior year to keep my mind more than occupied over the next three months. By the time I stop missing school it will be time to return again. Yet now, as social media explodes with images of joy and sentimentality over graduation and Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of my senior friends. If only I could package them in a little bottle to carry with me on this journey.

However, I have discovered through lots of thinking that I would never want them to stay here in this one place, where possibilities are endless but the stability of a single location is, at last, confining. No, I want them to become all that they are meant to become, to be happy and share their personalities and talents with other people. What good would my selfishness be to keep them here? How selfish would that be when not even I want to remain here forever?

But graduating is scary. It’s a different kind of scary than high school graduation is for a college-bound student because there is sometimes less certainty, less knowing where you’re going afterward, less promise for provision. College (on campus living specifically) is a posh little place to be: a world where people cook your meals, wash your dishes and teach you things. Where the buildings are kept manicured and no one asks for the rent or the light bill. The hardest thing that’s asked of you is to wake up on your own, clean your dirty laundry and do your schoolwork — we call that being a grown-up. But is it really? I still get overly excited when there’s chicken nuggets in the dining hall and don’t know how to properly pack my belongings before coming home (we are all a work in progress). Graduating is empowering, exciting, admirable, but it’s also a big step that requires support.

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You can’t say a place that’s had a huge impact on who you are won’t be hard to leave. It’s natural to want something that’s been so exciting and good to last forever. It’s natural to want people who have left ripple effects on your heart to always stay around. And it’s absolutely understandable to have no idea how to say goodbye. I love everyone I can and I give all that I am simply because I may never cross paths with someone again. The biggest thing we realize when we graduate is that we don’t know when we’ll see someone again, we don’t know what will happen to “us.” Raymond Chandler said “to say goodbye is to die a little.” It can certainly feel that way when you’re leaving someone, and thus some people don’t want to say goodbye. I think it’s much better to accept that you will miss someone, that maybe you’re scared, and let what’s unspoken be felt.

I have been blessed with the chance to see people off, and I have been enormously blessed with the one thing I can always have with me: my memory. I am a softie: a sentimental dreamer, sincere, nostalgic and I do not wish to change it. Our memories are special because they are just that: memories. The rarer the moment, the further in the past; the sweeter the thought. These people are rare in my life because they are so few. This place is special in my heart because there is only one. And these experiences I have are like no other because they happen once in a lifetime. As humans, if parting makes us sad, then we are truly blessed beyond measure, given something to cherish that is far more than we deserve.

In the Paiute language there is no word for goodbye. I like that. I told no one goodbye this week, why be sad and final? I simply offered a warm hug and smile and said “see you later.”

A Real Rush

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From February 21 –

Last week it snowed in North Carolina. I’m not talking about a light dusting of snowflakes or a thin sleek sheet of black ice, I’m talking five solid inches of pure snow, another inch of hard freezing rain to encase the damaging wintry precipitation.

For Triangle residents it meant power outages and abandoned cars. For Chapel Hill students it meant two and a half days of cancelled classes. However, the larger story was about a little basketball game scheduled for February 12th, between two powerhouse schools located a mere eight miles apart.

Unlike some of my peers, I didn’t grow up with the UNC-Duke rivalry. I wasn’t even a college basketball fan until I turned ten or eleven. As a child the sight of college basketball only meant the worst month of the year had arrived, the heat of March Madness and tax season leaving me woefully abandoned and self-sentenced to play with my Barbie dolls until it was all over.

Somehow, over the years I was converted, and when I received the opportunity to film the rivalry game this year I was beyond excited. My freshman year I experienced the heartbreak of watching Austin Rivers crush our Beat Duke dreams (I refuse to link to that horrible moment, you may Google it if you wish) and sophomore year I got a ticket in the nosebleeds while Duke creamed us by 20+ points. But this year, something was different. The faith was restored, the hope was strong as a fresh bonfire, and something in the atmosphere was not the same.

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Last night, eight days after the original schedule date, the rivalry continued. We played an epic game, the crowd was louder than any I had ever heard. The floor shook. I sat courtside with my camera, worried about missing any important moments. It was all important. It all meant something. And as the final seconds expired I stood up, lens locked on the court, and stood as a mad rush of students ran past me, pure pandemonium essentially flooding the dome.

UNC defeated Duke by eight points for its eighth straight win. Everything about it was fate. And everything about winning and rushing Franklin was better than I expected. For one night everyone was a connected entity with a singular emotion and most of all I felt pride. I felt the intensity of this culture of blue and the enormity of the moment. We were one identity: Tar Heels. And we believed in that identity with everything we had.

Happiness is often discounted for being an overused word, but it would not be wrong to say we were all completely happy. For our team, our school, ourselves and everything that win represented. Like all sports, Thursday night told us what was possible, it told us not to give up, it told us to believe, it told us we (the fans) had an impact on the game, and it said we deserved to celebrate.

I rushed Franklin with strangers who high-fived and hugged me like relatives. I found friends who embraced me with a jubilance we didn’t know was possible. Chapel Thrill was ignited. I saw people jump fires and climb light poles in the name of love and it was beautiful. It was beautiful that something so simple as a game could bring everyone together. It was beautiful to know that in a place where each of us have so many differences, we shared something in common. I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up during the end of the game and being on Franklin, seeing something that emotional and knowing you would never forget it.

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Coming back to my room the next morning was weird. The street was clean, void of any evidence of that night, buses running normal routes, people walking to work and class. Something had been erased from the surface but its mark was still imprinted in the asphalt, in the brick, the town knew what had happened, and so did we. The fog and cloudiness in the air made it all seem like a dream. My lost sense of time left me warped in a surreal world where childhood dreams come true but no, this wasn’t a fantasy; it was real. It happened. And we were witnesses.

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When Privilege Meets Responsibility

“We don’t think about the system failing because our educations were okay. I went to Harvard, you’re at UNC Chapel Hill. Most blacks from NC don’t have that opportunity. People say ‘You’re lucky.’ No you’re not.”  – Hill Harper, January 20, 2014

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Sometimes it takes a few bold, jarring words to make you see the light. I’ve read somewhere before that the biggest human temptation is to settle, and to settle is to give less than a full effort, to never exceed anyone’s expectations.

It may seem like I’ve blogged a lot about mediocrity recently but it’s been my personal enemy for awhile and I intend to tackle it head-on this year. It is a lifelong battle ahead of me, as I have learned that not every obstacle you conquer remains defeated–it will find a way to show up again in another form. Tonight Hill Harper spoke for the Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture at my university and it was everything a lecture should be: riveting, motivating, soul-searching, insightful, witty, funny, and honest. It was both uplifting and convicting at the same time. You could say it was like a sermon.

I wanted to share some highlights that hit home for me in hopes that it will be helpful to you:

  • He said  that FEAR stands for “false evidence appearing real”
  • “We can’t be free if the price of being ourselves is way too high”
  • “Fear is mental; true courage is from the heart.” I was very excited by this discussion on fear, as courage and fearlessness have been my biggest mantras for getting through college.
  • The foundation of his speech was this quote from Bobby Kennedy: “The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to [their] ideals.”
  • Passion without smarts and focus is just scattered energy
  • We must turn our critical thinking toward ourselves and ask ourselves if we are being average, if we are settling, if we are challenging ourselves to do our best.
  • He told a story about meeting Barack Obama while at Harvard Law School and that many people would have told Obama not to go back to school and incur a load of debt at nearly 30 years old, not when he was a black man with a degree from Columbia, already “way ahead of the game.” His point was that we must have courage to take risks. That we should never settle for the idea that “we made it.” Just becausewe  have a great opportunity doesn’t give us the license to stop helping other people, to stop pursuing greater things. We should not stay in the roles society gives us.
  • Affirmations are effective and important – we should use them every day whether they are posted around for the sake of our subconscious or said aloud to ourselves.

Ultimately, we are not simply lucky to receive the privilege of an education; we are endowed with the responsibility to use it and make a positive change. Kind of makes you fired up about life, huh? Tell me what kinds of things you are passionate about or want to do. Drop a comment below and good luck on your next courageous move!

What I Really Think About Turning 21

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Milestone birthdays don’t happen every year. So naturally, we want them to be special. The first landmark number of adulthood is the big 2-1, which I will be in about a week.

Like most young adults, I have waited excitedly for this special day. However, I started to wonder what was so great about turning 21 other than being blessed with another year and oh yeah, something about being the legal age to drink. Now, as someone who isn’t planning to get wasted (like this very funny yet very bad synopsis of a typical 21st birthday) I started to feel a bit deflated about why this 21 thing meant more than past ages. Not to shrug my cultural rite of passage but it simply didn’t seem so important, especially when you consider that China, Canada and Europe would call us good ol’ Americans late boomers since their drinking ages range from 16-19.

Maybe I’ll just pig out on free food, I thought.

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Then I started thinking a little harder. Uncle Ben, Peter Parker’s uncle in the famous Spider-Man comic book series, warned his nephew that “With great power comes great responsibility.” If there was one sentence that could sum up turning 21 it’s probably that.

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I did a bit of snooping and it turns out there are quite a few things you can do once you turn 21.

  • Gamble
  • Drink alcoholic beverages
  • Get married in the state of Mississippi without a guardian’s approval (late bloomers too, huh?)
  • Ride in a car with any learning driver
  • Run for mayor
  • Adopt a child

That’s some pretty heavy stuff if you ask me. Certainly not for the faint of heart. I like what author Tim Elmore said in his article about going out to dinner with his son for his 21st: “Rights without responsibility are rarely redemptive. In fact, much of the time, rights minus responsibilities simply create selfish brats. Privileges without price tags don’t really help us grow up.” Beautifully said.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, from pinkchocolatebreak.com

At 21, Steve Jobs had already dropped out of college and was co-founding Apple, the place that makes the shiny iPhone 30% of smartphone users are on right now. I know what you’re thinking – “That’s not fair! We all can’t be Steve Jobs.” True, we can’t. But we can all be excellent versions of ourselves.

Some people say that the first twenty years are the longest of your life. Afterward you have all the privileges-and problems-of any adult, and it goes by fast. I guess my 21st birthday will be a time to celebrate life and the gift of responsibility with those closest to me, joining the ranks of adulthood, namely with my mom whose birthday I was born on. 🙂

me and my mom

me and my mom

So whatever we choose to do for our special 21st , remember that while we may always be young at heart, “the time has come for us. We are no longer the children. We are the ones the children will be watching, and soon enough in fact, our very own children will be the ones watching us. And twenty or thirty years from now, we will be at the graduation of those children, handing them a world that we had a real chance to remake.”

I hope to hand my kids a world in which I had an intensely positive impact. But tonight,

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
~ Titus Maccius Plautus

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A Classy Toast, from collegegloss.com

Now I’ll make a toast to that.

Archives of Conscious

Archives of Conscious

This is a link to the anthology I submitted for my intermediate creative writing class. It includes my own work from this semester as well as the work of other poets that I studied. Reading the forward will help you to understand what the anthology is about (I promise it’s not long at all!)

When you get done please feel free to comment below with your thoughts, suggestions, likes, dislikes, etc. If you have a Tumblr account be sure to follow and reblog your favorite posts!

Rise Early, Work Hard = Strike Oil

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Yesterday I came home for break after completing my fifth semester of college. The first emotion I had was relief. I was done with schoolwork, exams, and stress for the next three weeks. I could kick off my shoes, sleep in my own bed, throw the past semester far behind me, and figure out where to go and how to improve from here. It was beautiful!

I was also coming home after attending graduation at my university. After seeing some of my good friends turn their tassels and head into the “real world,” I realized that I, too am just a short year and a half away from becoming a graduate. Judging by the last two and half years it will certainly go by very quickly. In the near future I will also be forced to find the courage that commencement speaker Kevin Guskiewicz mentioned on Sunday — the ability to leave behind the familiar. In essence, to leave Chapel Hill, leave Carolina, and move on to the next stage of life, knowing these people and places will forever be a part of you. *Cue tears and sniffles*

The business of leaving got me thinking about my own work here. In high school, I didn’t consider myself an overachiever, I don’t even believe in the idea of overachieving. I believe you can exceed expectations, but I don’t think you can over achieve anything, because I believe we should seek to be the best at whatever we do (Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men) The success I had academically I worked hard for, but it wasn’t that I was trying to prove something or even make it to a particular school. It was just something I was kind of good at, and I wanted to keep being good at it, every year, every test, every assignment.

Since I’ve been in school there have been more euphoric moments than I can count and almost as many low moments to balance it. As I discovered what I really want to do in life and was blessed with some amazing friends, my relationships and becoming a professional began to mean more to me than being an excellent student. And while I’ve found success here and accomplished things that once seemed impossible, I also learned that we cannot sweep the hard things under the rug in favor of the things we are good at. I’ve never once thought about quitting, but I have certainly accepted underachieving at times, and that is just as wrong.

This semester I had some time to myself – a lot. Some of the most helpful moments came in the morning while walking to my 8am class. I would stop by the water fountain and think about the day ahead of me and pray about things. I prayed about other people mostly, my family, my friends, people I heard about or issues I saw. I prayed for guidance in my thoughts, my career choices, my choices of people, my emotions, that my unwavering faith in myself and God would stay strong. But the thing I thought about the most during those quiet walks or early morning workout sessions was God’s love and grace.

College has been a wonderful opportunity for me to gain a personal appreciation for how awesome God is and why we serve Him. This year I’ve started to see how everything that has happened in my life over time has taught me something about Him, or life, or myself. Everything has made me better or lead to something greater, even–especially–the things that didn’t make sense at the time. This year I’ve seen prayers answered, doors opened and closed. I’ve started to see other people’s behavior not as a reason to judge, but a reason to pray that God’s grace would be extended to them. I saw through my classes the enormity and complexity of the world and everything in it and often found myself breathless and humbled beyond comprehension that God would even care to guide me, love me, teach me, scold me, be merciful to me despite all my mistakes and selfishness and lack of effort.

Strong people give it their all even when they are faced with difficult tasks. I didn’t come to school expecting to be perfect, but I didn’t come here to settle either. Last year, I made a plan for how I was going to live and it worked. This past finals period I decided it was time to do it again. Once you’ve overcome one obstacle it doesn’t mean you’re through–there are always harder mountains to climb ahead. I’m determined to fight my temptations and give it my all. Greatness isn’t just about doing what you love, it’s about doing what you’re capable of. I believe these last three semesters I will do just that. The question is not how far I can get with how little, but how far I can go with my best effort. I don’t just owe it to myself, my family, my friends, or this university. I owe it to my Father, the only one who truly matters at the end.

I’m blessed beyond measure to even be here, to have my dream in my hands and over halfway complete. I don’t take that lightly and I know it’s for a reason that I have yet to glimpse. I am praying for the strength to make the most of the rest of this journey and to never take it for granted.

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. Proverbs 20:4

No News Is Good News

Since I haven’t posted in awhile I thought I would share the first poem I wrote for my intermediate poetry class this semester. The assignment was to write a persona poem, a poem from the perspective of someone you know. We had to tell 4 lies and a secret/emotion that could be felt but not explicitly stated. Talk about a tall order!

In my opinion, this piece is nowhere near finished because the story is so complicated — by far one of the hardest and most personal things I have ever written about. However, my class seemed to enjoy it and my professor said it was “powerful, surprising, and possessed inherent human drama.” I don’t know if it’s completely at that point, but any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

 
My children say I don’t call enough.
They claim my phone number changes faster than the weather.
 555-2468, it’s been that way for years, but they say it’s been months.
Heck, I’m lucky if I know where I’m sleeping tonight.
You know I was busy dodging bullets in my car – the car I’ve been
living in since Irene kicked me from her bed and sometimes when
I drive pass 7th Street I can smell her beside me—Elizabeth Taylor
and old brown leather…mmm.  
But I only show my feelings on Friday nights and
shoot back flashbacks at the pool table.
 
My children think I’m missing. I’m just working. It was
my hustling of bands of dead presidents that bought them ten speeds
and gold rings and hot clothes and
trips to Mississippi that I thought they wanted to go on because
how was I supposed to ask otherwise? I told them
“You know you have three brothers and two sisters who live across the river.
I couldn’t bring them over because your mother never liked surprises.”
She was always good at food, clothing, shelter. It was my job to hide the broke holidays.
 
It’s not like I don’t remember—I still see you dribbling one-handed
when I watch little boys play outside.
It’s not like I don’t remember—I still feel your hugs when I see little
Black girls skipping down the sidewalk.
It’s not like I don’t remember—I still hear your laugh when I drive by the
racetrack to pick up my brother.
 
I see my eyes in my grandchildren
and when I see them I drown out the sound of the elephant in the room
with the laughter of my jokes and
for the moment things are as society says they should be. For the moment.
But I was born a city boy.
I count numbers instead of my sins and pray wins me redemption.
The money I rolled under my bed is now with the Feds
so I have to keep driving. 

The Rebel

The Rebel

Perhaps the lover is the outlaw in ourselves

 we don’t quite have the nerve to claim.

– Rosemary Sullivan

The first time I saw water more vast than Superior, water more

vast than my town, water migrating more intensely than my father worked

I learned that God was real.

The first time I saw trees that had endured generations, trees that

extended to Venus, trees that grew slower than a turtle crawls

I learned that God made things bigger than me.

The first time I saw a mother give life, the mother thoroughbred naked in the field,

my mother screaming and pushing, screaming and pushing in room 409,

I learned that God made us with purpose.

When I first saw you my cells rumbled, the surface of my skin reached for air,

my internal organs grabbed my bones for stability, you asked me for—of all things—

directions and I loved you instantly.

I guess opposites do attract, because you certainly defied my beliefs. It was not my intention

to confront the convictions that reared me; I had always been taught to follow my heart.

And if I seemed lost forgive me—I never learned in school what to do once I met you.

After this climactic turn in my journey to knowledge I searched for more natural signs

of the Divine to restore my mind: Water. Tree. Thoroughbred.

Instead, I found myself seeing God in your eyes, your hands, your heart—

proof I had chosen a love not given but made.

Who Am I

I was transferring old files from my computer this week and came across my college essays. Among them was this random draft that I never revised or used. Really interesting to see how I thought just three years ago.

The short version about me would say all the basics: that I’m seventeen, a senior in high school, a thirteen year veteran of home-school, a writer, a golfer, a person. But the facts you already know and they only tell part of the story, the way one can only estimate the time of day by the position of the sun. I can tell you that I am a compulsive daydreamer with a heart for helping others. I want to be involved, which sometimes means I have the heart-wrenching task of choosing between the thousand things I want to do. I can tell you that while I am quite mild I’m very passionate and extremely curious. When I was seven I saved all my changes to buy a small colorful notebook from the drugstore—my first diary. Now, sixteen journals later my life has begun its own path with turns and scenery uniquely its own. I am extremely excited about where it leads and the stops and people lining the way.

So, the question is, what makes me tick, how did I become who I am, and what have I learned in my seventeen years through the many adventures I’ve had (and there have been many)? Well, I’ve learned that sometimes you can surprise yourself; when climbing a rock wall, you should not look down; when you pick up a baby frog it tickles your hand in the cutest way; cucumbers should always be planted at the end of a garden; if the lights go out during your dance recital keep tapping; it’s possible to read Breaking Dawn in four days; you should go to a rally at least once in your life—it will change your life; music is a bare necessity (after food and clothing but before shelter); everyone should read the Human Rights; if you’ve been in a snowstorm you’re lucky; you can fit six people and three golf bags in a golf cart; there’s no place like the library; if you take a mouse off a trap don’t look at it; learn how to make pancakes by heart so you don’t starve; it’s okay if you don’t like vacuuming; what goes around does come around (life is much a like a boomerang and deja vu is real); super hero movies rock; if you enter enough contests you’ll win something; knowledge comes in many packages; you can do anything if you read about it first; running in a thunderstorm should not be repeated (I should take my own advice on this one); if a bird food package says it attracts wilder birds believe it; when you make a mistake try really hard not to do it again; don’t beat yourself—you are not a punching bag! Read poetry, it helps to know there’s other people with the same thoughts; have no regrets after Thanksgiving cause it only comes once a year; few people know you like you know yourself, and you don’t even know yourself; “neither you nor the world knows what you can do until you have tried” – Emerson; if you’re feeling down read Emerson; it only takes a utility knife, spatula, screwdriver, and some patience to move sod and lots of water to keep it growing; don’t wait till to open your presents Christmas; if you’re dressed up like a witch for Halloween don’t wave at young kids-you’ll scare the poor children half to death; you get points for waking up early to see a meteor shower even if you missed the meteors; a broken heart can heal; no matter how many times you call to win free tickets you’re never the fifteenth caller; keep your word; if you love someone you should tell them that every time you see them (and even when you don’t).

That’s what life has taught me so far. These are the facts that shaped who I am and how I think. I know I’ve done what I can to show you…me. There is so much to learn about a person in such a short time span, the key is to show others something worthwhile about you, a reason to make them want to know more. The rest, is up to fate.

Sometimes, when the sun is just setting and it’s rained, with hot steam coming off the street and a cool breeze flowing through the air, I like to sit on the front porch and think about how much I truly love life.

 

photo credit: karine*imagine via photopin cc