The single novel that I have written so far in my young life was originally conceived to address the importance of memory, and how it can either hold you back from acheiving what you were possibly “meant” to acheive. The protagonist in my novel considers her memories a lot as triggers of either what she should do, or what she shouldn’t do. And in the end, she realizes that all of those memories she holds in her arms aren’t as important as the power of learning who one is and living “in the moment” (at least, that was the intention behind it). And as of late, I’ve done some incredibly brave things that I mulled over for figurative eons, and as it turns out, they were not particularly difficult to do. And despite that know for sure that the past has a particular power over notions and physical beings of the self, I still hold memories in the forefront of my mind and cherish them more than I cherish the present. Especially since as of late, the presence is a known and recognized disaster zone of thinking and fear and reflection. It’s because of this, that I miss the simple things.
I miss being 17 or 18 and new to this city. The unseasonable cold never bothered me and the seasonal frigid hellish wasteland didn’t either, because I had Lister Hall, my haven and my lifeblood and my first REAL friends. Nothing mattered but them and that place; and I never overthought. In fact, I underthought; I woke up smiling every single day, just happy to be alive in my new life. It was like a re-birth. Everything good that could happen did happen. Everything good in my life was uniquely mine and refreshing and I felt like I was being baptized into adulthood through simple things like knocking on strangers’ doors, speed dating and pet therapy. Things that are new take so long to grow tired and overdone. Lister Hall for me, for eight months, was mine. It was. It was my home, my neighborhood, my everything. Boyfriends and dating and issues surrounding me and my past and my childhood never crossed my mind and the only thing filtering through me was good wonderful things. I was good all the time, and felt stable, and I was happy with that.
I learned pretty quickly however, that Lister is not “real life” and Lister is CERTAINLY not “adulthood.” It is merely an escapist fantasy lived out in a temporary reality of sorts; it is real but the only thing that is real about is the school work that has to be done, and the money invested in it. The rest of it is summer camp. And it is a wonderful way to prolong adulthood, but then one year later, your dad is diagnosed with cancer, you become a social outcast, your friend ditches you for a boyfriend, blatantly, and you fall deeply in love with someone who barely notices or cares that you’re alive, all at the same time. And although those all seem like the kinds of problems that face teenagers, the kind of teenagers one refers to as “emo”, they were little hints of the kinds of problems that real life would bring later. When it rains, it pours.
And I’ve never been amazing at facing my problems head-on. I’ve always been passive and much too afraid to be a strong person — the kind of “strength” I’m referring to is the kind that is defined by a SPINE. The kind of spine that allows for honest openeness rather than trying to be strong for the benefit of others. A large part of being strong, as I have learned through many of these memories and experiences, is the power to admit that one is weak, and one cannot constantly make jokes and be sarcastic in order to successfully avoid the softened insides.
When my second year of university brought with it piles of insurmountable disasters, I reached a breaking point; I couldn’t hide from or avoid myself anymore. And I just want to take it further.