It’s 3:27 am, and I’m in bed hoping the light from the screen or my fingers on the keyboard aren’t troubling my roommate’s sleep (if you’re reading this Hong, and I did in fact wake you, I owe you cereal). A deluge of thoughts is keeping me up tonight, and though they are not the belletristics I usually post, I feel as though I have enough kinship with all of you to share them.
This is my first year in college; however because of a high school credit program (AP anyone?) I’m set to graduate Spring 2016. This anomaly of my first year being my penultimate one means I’ve less time to become qualified for the workforce through internships and campus involvement. To say nothing of the fact that I don’t even know what I wish to do in the professional sphere. I’m 18 so I frequently hear “well, dear, you don’t have to know yet- no one does at this age!”- but this doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve learned with intentionality since my freshman year of high school, when I enrolled in courses with scholarships and college credit in mind. I knew there wasn’t a way for me to pay for my secondary education, so I decided that if I pushed hard enough, won scholarships, and exempted out of enough pre-rec courses, I could do this without wrecking my financial stability. It worked, I’m here, and in another year I may be graduating…what??? I’m a Global Studies major/French minor, heading this August to a French university to work and study, and perhaps get a clue as to what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. All I’m certain of is that I wish to commune with people around the world, speak different languages (Spanish and Arabic- you’re up next), and above all give love as deeply and proactively as I can throughout my life.
However in the past year or so, writing has evolved into an integral part of my life and my identity. I don’t leave campus without an anthology nor a notebook and pen (I recently made the mistake of biking to a bookshop without either, and promptly purchased a miniscule pad of paper and 4-inch pen that I could put in my shoe on the ride home. I had found inspiration among the bookstacks). Writing alleviates pain, rejoices in the beautiful minutiae, inspires change, and so much more; it has become my hope that my words can achieve these ends. But I have so much growing to do. A kind reader recently urged me to consider classical forms, and I promptly realized I’m utterly ignorant when it comes to anything but free-verse. There is so much I want to know and study, but it’s too late in the game to change my major. Professors have urged me towards graduate school for creative writing, but the idea of spending more money that I don’t have terrifies me. The thought of losing out on the chance to grow as a writer terrifies me even more. So I’ve been doing the cost-benefit analyses in my head, factors in which include time, providing for my future family, career, job experience, etc., and if I finish my undergrad at 20- why the hell not? I am young and should not limit myself by something as transient as money.
I also realized today that my gifts and skills are independent of anyone else. For a couple months now I’ve been inadvertently seeking validation from a couple writers I know and admire, and comparing my own style to their very different ones; this is folly. I create on my own terms, and my work should not be dictated by another’s. This should have been obvious, but I was enamored with the new thrill and blessing of knowing other people with word-shaped hearts, and got lost in comparing the phrases within. (Okay, so maybe a couple belletristics.)
It took me skipping class yesterday and getting lost on my bike for me to come to these tenuous epiphanies. It took me receiving the kindest, most encouraging email I’ve ever read for me to realize that I no longer have a say in the past- but what I say about it can be everything. This past year I’ve been recovering from PTSD and a few other related disorders caused by traumas that I will not elucidate upon. My recovery has been colored by a spectrum of emotions- hope, rage, hate, despair, resolve, to name a few- and each of these feelings has brought with it a new way to say what’s in my heart. What I write may not always be easy to read, but it will always be honest- and I believe there is beauty in truth.
So I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to all of you who have helped me along the way, reminded me why I write, or read my work. Thank you for sustaining me these past months and in the ones to come. I am inexpressibly thankful for all of you. With love, M. Alden