April 2013: On Honoring What has Happened Here

(Written in the month before graduating college)

I think about leaving this all the time, in so many facets, but it's not always in a depressing way.  Obviously I get depressed sometimes - par for the course when you're leaving behind the best thing you've ever held -  but I think that for me personally its important to keep cognizant of the things.  Today that means writing them down.  How little I’ve written in college, in terms of writing down what was happening, has been a point of contention with myself for a long time.  Obviously as a writing emphasis I've written literally thousands of pages, but I did very little day to day recording of the wonder I constantly find myself surrounded by.  But as I’m sure you can gather I wrote so little recording my days because I was busy living them. 

And as I was living them, I was thinking about them.  I don’t know when this started, it might have been always, but it definitely came into very sharp relief when I was living in Ghana and it never stopped, but I think very intentionally about life as it happens.  I think this is partially because I think so much that I am unable to push things out of my brain in the way that other people can.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  It makes me deal with my shit because it weighs so heavily on my mind that running from it hurts more than dealing with it.  This brings me to the point of this first here leaving-esque blog entry, although I’m sure it will go on many tangents. 

The concept of honoring what has happened here. 

When I feel upset about leaving: leaving the friends I have, leaving the place, leaving the world we have created, I don’t let myself push it away.  This isn’t even a cognizant thing anymore.  I don’t say ‘better not push this away, better deal with it now,’ I just must do it within a very short amount of time.  For a while I wondered how I could stop feeling the sadness, because when it happened, although the bouts wouldn’t last, it was so painful, and then I came to the realization:

It should hurt.  I should not shy away from a good old five minute sob when I need one.  I should call the people I want to see and I should cry when a sad song comes on and the moment fills me up.  I should do these things because in any of these actions I am doing something important: I am honoring what has happened here. 

This was beautiful.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Everything was beautiful, and important, and I loved all these people.  To not let myself cry and sob and feel the pain would be a disservice to all that has taken place here.  It deserves my attention because it mattered.  No, I should not sit around all day moping about it, and there’s the crux: I don’t.  When the sadness hits, I feel it, and I let it happen, and then, very soon, it leaves me because I have acknowledged it and worked through it.  It may come again in a different form, but until then, I will be basking in doing what I’ve learned best over the past four years: embracing the living moment. 

To those who are still wary, consider the contrary.  The sadness begins to hit.  I avoid it, but that does not mean it goes away.  I play cornhole, I go to the commons, I sit outside, and the sadness is at the edge.  Those hours are not spent in full happiness because the sadness is creeping in.  I am overcompensating by faking my happiness and playing a role that isn’t real. The sadness begins to build up in a back reservoir, where, the more sadness builds up, the closer the dam comes to breaking.  Eventually, next week, in a few months, in a year, the dam breaks and that onslaught is drowning and incapacitating in the way that working through it when it happens does not.  How does one work through a flood?  It is far healthier to work through a shower.  Or, as I noted on the bottom of this to say later, “five minutes adds up with another five minutes until eventually its five years” referring to how dealing with the five minutes now one at a time is good so they don’t add up to a long five year reconciliation. 

Now please understand that I’m not telling everyone to live the way I live.  Some people probably don’t even get sad.  But for me, I need to honor it.  I need to do that, and I need to do it now.  I need to honor these people while they are still here to hold. 

Bill has always fondly remembered my Taylor Swift reference in Books that Make you Want to Read.  I listen to Taylor Swift far less now than I did freshman year, and have through my studies become aware of her anti-feminist tendencies, but now that I’ve acknowledged it, I’m still going to shoutout to Taylor and one of her new songs, Holy Ground.  This place was holy ground and it deserves to be honored.  Whatever it takes to honor it, do it.  Honor it in tears and honor it in laughter and joy.  Honor it whatever way you know how. 

To me, that means not shying away from the hard stuff.  Oh, and great lyric from the Taylor song: “Tonight I’m gonna dance for all that we’ve been through.”  There it is.