reflecting on freshman year

Read my first semester summary here, and here

I’ve been delaying this reflection.  Mostly, because when I try to describe my freshman year, contradictions crop up early on.  For instance, I can start by saying that this first year felt much denser and more eventful than all four years of high school—“I’ve aged ten years,” I joke to those who ask about it.  So, a lot happened.  But then again, not really.  I mean, there were a few milestones of course.  But other than that…nothing that dramatic happened to me. I think about how by the end of the year, I still felt mostly like myself.  It wasn’t, like, I metamorphosed into a different person or had a ton of wild shit happen to me.  But even though the before and after pic is not very altered, distance does not equal displacement.  There was a winding path in between my starting and ending point.  Though not a lot changed, technically, the emotional journey feels long and profound for me.

I can still say, without a doubt, that after this year I know myself much better, and I can say that I feel more grown up.  I can also say that I really like the person I’ve matured into.

Here’s why: Continue reading

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Chew

Companion journal entries about overthinking

I’m glad I (briefly) got messed up with you this summer – at least it gives my brain something to chew on.

Maybe my whole life is all about me finding the next morsel to stuff in my mouth, regardless of whether it’s good for me or not.  Regardless of whether I bite off more than I can chew. Continue reading

Easy

After the first time I had kissed a stranger — in the blushing light of a music festival — I was reeling by how easily it had happened.  He had seen me, chatted a little, put his arm around me…the only reason why we didn’t kiss sooner was because I was too naive to realize what he wanted.

In high school, finding someone to kiss would have been much more difficult, to say the least.  Not because I wasn’t interested in anyone — but my shy and awkward demeanor didn’t attract boys at my school.  The option of hooking up — being physically intimate with someone without the emotional aspect — was never really on the table, mostly because I was idealistic and unpopular, partly because high schoolers are actually more romantic than society portrays them as. Continue reading

a dark side of journaling

I reread some of my old journal entries from last semester, and the intensity of my preserved feelings shocked me.   They were so raw, uncensored, intimate.

My journal entries are startlingly frank because they hold nothing back: as my private outlet, there’s no self-consciousness for conventions or melodrama.  So there’s something terrifyingly real about them.  It’s like I dipped my heart in ink and rolled it around the pages, and the imprints are just as fresh and poignant as if written yesterday.

For the first time, I wished that I hadn’t amberized that time in my life.   Continue reading

Emotional Containers

This past semester, I felt locked in a post-you era.  Even though, after you said those fateful words — “I’m not looking for a relationship” — I stopped liking you and even stopped hurting for you, I failed to restart, like some stuttering obsolete computer.   I felt like I couldn’t, not without some sort of signal to transition.  I wanted to flip over the page to the next chapter of my life, but it felt like the same chapter kept going on and on — even though different stuff started happening, even though you stopped being a character.  I guess I wanted to look up at the night sky and see the stars aligned in the words: THE END.  I wanted a sign.

But now, the semester is over.  There is no boundary as definitive as the beginning of sweet summer.  I brush the dust of you and my leftover feelings into the container called Freshman Year and seal it off for good. Continue reading

Relationships

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what even is the point of having friends, family, and lovers.  Especially since — if you think about it — the definitions of these things are so abstract and bendable sometimes.  After all, isn’t a group of friends like a found family — a beautiful little eclectic clan brought together by chance?  And doesn’t a family sometimes feel like people who you’re expected to be friends with for a lifetime?  Isn’t a lover just a best friend that you also sleep with — or are friends just lovers that you don’t sleep with?  I guess the confusing thing is that the word “love” blankets all these categories — sure, you can add modifiers like “platonic,” “familial,” and “romantic,” but our clumsy language includes that baffling universal solvent: L O V E. Continue reading

Loneliness

The close conversation had reached that point where we had run out of superficial, cheery things to say.  I wrung my hands as a thought forced itself into speech: I had been afraid that saying it aloud would make a tentative idea more real than it actually was, but I couldn’t help it, it had been haunting me for too long:

“Um, I don’t know,” I began slowly.  “I think, more than anything, I want to be in a relationship.  I know that’s a lame thing to say…I believe in feminism and independence and all that, but…it’s true.”

I lowered my head and blushed as my friend reassured me, but I couldn’t help but taste the aftertaste of a remark that was not articulated finely enough.  Because, in truth, I enjoy being single.  I like going to concerts and kissing strangers without worrying about someone back home.  I like quiet moments by myself.  And I see people constantly holding hands, constantly spending the night in each others’ dorms and I think: I don’t want that.  I don’t want all of that, at least not all the time.  

But I definitely want something.   Continue reading

Morning After

There was no obliviating fade to black, and then a reemergence of consciousness and light.  I had been laying in the diluted dark for hours, listening to him breathe deeply next to me, tiptoeing to the bathroom, until the gradient of day and night pulled itself over the horizon, shifted across his bare apartment, and the birds began to chirp. Continue reading