I unearthed the following post, long buried and forgotten, in the deep recesses of my computer. The post arrives here today from a few years back, when I had just started a short-lived blog called “Love in the Time of Question Marks.”
I’ve long since deleted the blog, and with good reason, but the following first entry offers insight into who I was, and more importantly, who I wanted (and still want) to be.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This is for myself.
I’m sitting in a college dorm room, my freshman year of college, and outside my window there are marble (or marble look-alike) ionic columns and green, green trees and pink fading light on a pale blue sky. There’s a jar of white chocolate Flipz and another of Twining’s Lady Grey Tea packets, and today feels like a new beginning. Or at least I want it to be.
It’s my third week of college, and it’s not how I imagined it at all. I’ve idealized these four “short” years all my life. My parents told me about how they would stay out late and talk about philosophy far into the night, crammed into the corners of gritty cafes and feeling so immensely whole and alive. They weren’t beatniks or hippies or anything. They were healthy, good-looking, and normal. Yes, my mother was on the debate team, and yes, my father held night-long Risk tournaments with Star Wars fanatics, but they were normal enough. So all my life, I imagined the same for myself. I imagined the type of conversation that felt so good and deep and mysterious that it sank right through your skin and sent tingles up and down your arms. That’s what I wanted.
And now I’m here, sitting in my dorm room, as some of my hall mates pass in and out and around, but it’s not the same. Senior year in high school, you know everything. More importantly, you know everyone. There were only 140 of us (that seemed so big four years ago, coming from a middle school of 55) so by the end, I was pretty well versed in a lot of the details of the lives of my peers. I knew their favorite vacation spots and the number of siblings they had, without even having conversations with a few of them. It was that small. It’s still small here. There are only about 1,700 freshman. But that’s a big jump.
It’s not like it isn’t bad or anything, I just feel like I don’t know anyone. It frustrates me. No one knows me, either. But now, after three weeks, it’s not like the first three days. You don’t just walk up to someone, stick out your hand like a grinning idiot, and say “Hi, I’m Liz, what’s your name? Nice to meet you Bob. Where are you from? Me, I’m from Texas. What’s your major…blah blah blah.” Now we’ve all, apparently, been put into our toddler friend groups and I keep wondering — where’s mine?
Yes, I’ve got friends. But where are the ones just like me? I’ve was lucky enough to have grown up with two best friends. We were best friends in Pre-School, and we’re best friends now. That doesn’t happen in big cities very often, but it happened to me. So now it seems like I’ve lost quite a lot, and I’m just wondering when I’m supposed to begin to feel whole again. I thought it would happen immediately, but the opposite is true. The first week, I was filled with excitement, a balloon about to pop. And now, all the helium is seeping out, day by day. I just hope I don’t look as wilted when it’s all over. I hope I can fill myself up before then.
In order to make myself feel better about it all, I’ve decided to pick up a side occupation – this. And maybe it will help me feel more connected with the greater world as a whole, or maybe it will make me feel even smaller than normal. Sometimes small can be good, though, if it’s the right kind of small.
Anyways, we’ll see.