“Write what you know.” As a young or amateur wordsmith, have you heard these words before?
There is a simple flaw in this piece of advice, because I know nothing and yet I write everything. This is not an egotistic self promotion that I am a master of all genres or even that I can write well, this is something that I follow to not box myself in to only write about the events that have happened to me and the emotions that I have felt. If I did that then my readers and myself would have started to rot out of boredom. Writing what you know may come smoothly to those who live extraordinary lives, or those who have seen the entire world, or for those who have carefully studied their own. I’m not writing this to tell you not to write about what you’ve seen or done, I am giving you the advice, my fellow writer, to include the things you don’t know. The things you are uncertain of, the events and people you dream about, the questions that have been unanswered in the world. As a college sophomore of twenty years old, my imagination is far more interesting and rich than anything my body has ever done. For the quiet ones this is where we find our inner stories, we write what we think and dream, what we want to do, not what we have done.
I employ you to write not only what is in your life, what what you wish was and what you wish was not. Your pages will become thicker and your mind will grow with them.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, I hope you are having an stunning week.
Song: Hello My Old Heart by The Oh Hellos
I’m working on my college campus over the summer, with my current life situation I figured it was my best option than going home this year. Eight months is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, but I am surrounded by good company in this place that I call a second home. It is a quiet time, reading, writing, watching movies and playing cards with my core group of friends, but it is soothing.
As I was laying in the dim morning light on a Saturday, feeling the different aches in my body from the work week, my mind wandered to intention. Someone who helped me through a very intense and frightening time during this past spring semester always said that word when she was referring to me. And on that morning I came to realize that it was not my current self that set the sense of intention my friend was talking about, it was my younger self. A version of me that I have tried to ignore for years.
Photo taken in 2011, I was fourteen.
I often think about my younger self with feelings of discomfort and remorse. I think my mind has blocked off a lot of feelings and memories during my early adolescence because I did not want to remember the pain that I went through. The distress with my body changing, the hatred I felt toward it and myself. The mental badlands I wandered for years, my mind tries to protect itself by forgetting all of what happened and all of what I used to be.
Without her I could not be who I am today. There is a lot that I share with her, but she is the one that set such deep intention to become so much more than she was. She was the one that wrote in her journal that all that mattered was to be kind in life. She was the one who slowly learned to love the body she was in, that was a lesson I learned from her.
There’s a scene in one of my favorite shows, My Mad Fat Diary, where the main character Rae is speaking with her therapist and he asks her to imagine her younger self and tell her all of the horrible things Rae says about herself now. But Rae can’t do it, because her younger self doesn’t deserve it, she turns to her younger self and says, “She’s fine. She’s perfect.” That is what self compassion is about. Treating yourself in the way that you would treat other people. I’m not someone who likes to revisit the past, usually when past events or pictures are brought up I quickly change the subject because when I was living those days I wished for nothing more than to get out and get away from everything.
I know I wasn’t perfect, but my younger self does not deserve the remorse that I send her. If it weren’t for her and the intention she set, I would not be in the path I am today.
So to my younger self, I’m sorry how I treated you, and I’m sorry I tried to forget you. If I could see you now I would tell you that you are loved. I would tell you how intelligent and beautiful you are. And to my future self, I hope you remember these things too.
I know you’re feeling out of place right now. I know you’re feeling like you just recovered from an earth quake. Something that shook you to your core. It make your life fall apart around you and you feel stuck sitting on the floor with the pieces all around you. You weren’t sure if you were going to make it, but you did and I am so proud of you. It’s not only you, but God and circumstance that saved you.
I know my words may read like they were stolen from some poster of a man on a mountain. But I write from knowing what it’s like feeling completely desolate. Right now I can’t even think of what that feels like, but only two days ago I was there. I was in the dark. We’re not protected from it happening again, but now is the time for us to mend to hole we feel in our hearts. After it happened I felt the physical presence of a wound. Deep and gaping in the center of my chest. Just because others can’t see it, doesn’t it’s not there. I know you feel incredibly weak right now. You’re tired and so sore from the world falling around you. From the words of others. From the words inside your head. But you are so strong. You are here right now and I cannot stress how important that is.
You are cared for.
The world is better with your breath still in it.
Be honest with those around you.
Remember I love you.
A night like its own
Boots over the threshold,
spects from the outside trapped indoors,
fleeing to get out,
only to disappear with one touch.
A brew warming on the pilot light,
Yesterday’s dishes alone in the sink
With the unraveling of layers,
Her day’s weight is undone.
Only her shoulders carry it
Alone in thought and under the cold covers.
The hills framed by panes,
The night illuminated with reflections
A night like this, like its own
Like many others,
filled with minimalistic comfort and solitude.
October 4, 2017
One foot, then the other
Bare shoulders, the weight
Of her soul
Do not measure in pounds,
Not kilos or stones
Measure it by care
How much is given
How much she takes
Ribs like a cage
What use for a flightless bird?
Measure it not in stones
Measure it by laughter and grief
By her voice at the night’s
By thoughts in her private meditations
Measure it not in stones
Measure it in the weight of love,
Pathetic fallacy: the attribution of human feelings and responses to inanimate things.
In film and literature this can be witnessed as the portrayal of the character’s emotions in the weather and their surroundings. It rains on the day of his beloved’s funeral. The sun shines when our characters finally achieve happiness. The chaos of the party around the romantic pair echoes the ongoing destruction of their relationship.
“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous.”
And I do mean something else.
It seems the patterns of weather in these stories are easy to decipher. Bad weather follows melancholy. Clear weather follows joy. Whenever I have looked out and seen the skies blanketed with grey and the rain cascading down, others express it to be a depressing nuisance. But why? I’ve never understood this. Living in a place that has suffered drought for years (Metaphorical? Perhaps). I enjoy the cool damp smell of the earth and the chance of renewal the rain brings. It is the only time where the chatter in my head is quiet. The only time when I don’t feel I have to constantly validate my existence. I am at peace to do the things I like.
To take a rainy day off from my anxious mind.
If there is anything I’ve learned since moving to Dallas is that when it rains, it pours and I do mean that literally.
March 07, 2017: The day we finished packing up our TWO moving vans, walked through our house one last time (an empty house is so echo-y,) locked our front door for the very last time, drove off into the sunset and said hello to a new beginning.
The first month was weird. I suppose as are most new things. There were boxes upon boxes, nothing seemed to look right, and the place was always a mess. But I’m pretty sure that was bound to happen.
Mentally speaking the first month was so HARD. Like there were days where I just didn’t get out of bed. It wasn’t just the stress of moving but the past year in general and it all sorta hit me at once and rendered me incapable. This second month as been much more gracious to me. I’m getting some things accomplished. Like finally getting around to editing videos from last summer that should have been done a loooooong time ago.
We found a really great church which we became members of on April 26. And we’ve made a few acquaintances through that which has been nice.
Sophie, my older sister, has gotten a job, which will be good for her. I can’t even imagine working right now. The stress. Boy, do I sound lazy. *ahem, sara, it’s because you are*
I HAVE been looking into colleges. There are a handful of community colleges here in the Metro Plex that seem interesting. So I plan on going this fall and then after two years transfer to a bigger university. Although, I have no idea what I want to major in. The application process is stressful enough.
As for the upcoming months, I’m not sure what it holds. There is an internship at this refugee outreach that in connected to our church and I’m exciting at the idea of possibly working there is summer. (……I should probably go fill out the application for that now.)