Category Archives: Beginnings

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The First, The First of the Month

I have never filled all the pages of a journal, kept a blog for more than a couple months, or ever really made a conscious effort to routinely write out my thoughts.  I love words, though, and it sounds ridiculous to even have to say that…but I love that I can come across the nuances of a phrase or feel the rhythm, meaning, resonance of a sentence that seems particularly perfect in just the way it is.  These days, I usually write to work on things for school (i.e., assignments, projects, papers), send e-mails to friends and colleagues, or write when I don’t want to forget something…or maybe I need to sort out my thoughts–writing in those latter situations always helps, clarifies.  And here, I am hoping that I can write to share with my network of friends and family.  I don’t anticipate profound revelations, but I do believe in the power for words to express, communicate, and touch lives; to reveal truths in a way we often overlook or neglect.   For what it’s worth, I wrote a poem about four weeks ago–and to be honest, I hadn’t done that for years; so strange to arrange them, recite them, and reread them…the words, knowing that each syllable spoke a bit about myself.  I started handwriting letters back in the fall–maybe I felt like those letters, more so than e-mail, helped me narrow the distance between the many people who are far away yet still so close to me.  Maybe it’s that there’s something intimate and personal about it?  For me, words have–and will always have–the capacity to bridge, connect, in a way that disregards temporality and physical space.

Not only did it surprise me that February was right around the corner, but it recently sat with me that my time at Northwestern is almost up.  If you do the math, you realize that June will be here far too soon.  There have certainly been ups and downs to this experience, but it has been a productive experience nonetheless.  I don’t know where I will be after graduation, and as scary as it sounds to pick up and start fresh (wherever that is–even it if that’s right around here, back home, or just in a completely new city), I am unbelievably excited about that adventure.  Every step, misstep, and step back has helped me gain a greater sense of who I am and how everything else, everyone else, fits within that reality.

I’m anticipating the decisions that will surface in the coming months, or the thoughts that will develop in that time–and I want to be able to share that process with people close to me because, in the end, you are all a part of that process.  Does that make sense?

I don’t think it was until the past six months that I started to look at my life differently; different in the sense that I became a more attentive, compassionate person.  The small stresses of my life obviously still bog me down and create anxieties, but more than I have ever felt in the past, I am trying to see past those minor inscriptions and work on listening, observing, and actively pursuing the aspects of my life that add relative ease to these minor stresses–the larger “so whats” are something I am valuing more because I realize how much perspective they add to my life, my views, my beliefs.  Long, unexpected conversations with friends have been some of the most valuable moments of these past months.  And while I am struck in awe by how incredible different people have been to me, I am disappointed that I have–at one point or another–taken for granted their friendship, their time…them.  But in a way that I never could have  imagined, I have found myself in seemingly ordinary situations where I begin to see these people in a new light, and it has been unbelievably refreshing to realize the extent of our relationships with one another.  To realize the integrity or strength of a friendship is invaluable.

With my family, even, I would easily admit that I have taken for granted so much of what they have given to me–emotionally, unconditionally.  My older brother has known me my entire life, and he has taught me more about love, forgiveness, consideration, integrity, confidence, and friendship than I will ever be able to wrap my head around.  All this–just by the sheer fact that he is the amazing person he is, and watching him through the years humbles me because I know that my life is better because of him.  And admittedly, I probably don’t tell him that enough.

My parents have obviously been integral to how I’ve developed over the years.  It is easy, though, to go through your adolescence wanting to be independent and resisting anything that seems to clash with that vision.  I would say that as I have grown and continue to grow in my understanding of self, I have also recognized a new understanding of who my parents are.  I will never fully know or be able to imagine their experiences given their cultural, ethnic, and generational differences, but I can boldly say that I have gained an appreciation for them.  I see a beauty in my mom that I never fully noticed, and I see a resolution in my dad that I never saw so definitively.  Maybe it’s that I am getting older (and see that they, too, are aging), but I have been struck with the notion that you can know a person your entire life and still have questions, still feel like you have never seen the whole spectrum of who a person is; there’s something so novel and beautiful about that realization…and for me, it just inspires me to indefinitely fit together the pieces you gain from a person.

I firmly believe that people come in and out of our lives for reasons, oftentimes reasons we can never fully understand or capture at the moment.  That said, I am trying my best to celebrate all these unexpected breaths of air that have helped me gain clarity and purpose in where I am going at the moment.  I want to continue to connect with people, nurture friendships, value family in all meanings of the word, and enjoy this time as it unfolds.

I have never had a set plan for my life, though I have obviously taken comfort in the fact that I would have direction in my life.  If anything has been proven to me, though, it’s that we can’t–and we will never–figure it all out.  Rather, we have to do the best we can with what is around us, within us, so that whenever that path reveals itself, we can enjoy, appreciate, challenge, and learn from it.  So with all these “big decisions” that seem daunting at the moment, I want to share my thoughts–here and there whatever they pertain to–because I realize that in the end, we just have to journey well and share that journey with others.

Watching a homevideo from December and seeing my mom laugh, smile (realizing where the charm of my laugh, smile has been carried from–seeing how she is and will always be a part of me), receiving calls from my dad despite the continent or time zone, talking to Joe when nothing I said made sense but everything he said put ease in my heart, having Justin share his celebration, his excitement about his growing relationship with his soon-to-be wife, hearing songs that my brother wrote to me when he knew my mind was distracted and my heart was heavy with question, reconnecting with Ricky so unexpectedly yet so naturally (and building my faith that the past is the past, and today is a new day), remaining close with old friends despite geography (North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia–always knowing who will be home to you), finding new company along the way, and remembering the ones who have been here for me in Evanston through these weird, amazing years (the Gracies and Frans of the world–and even the Angelas in Spain)–for all this, I am incredibly thankful.

So when I have things on my mind or updates to share, I will.  For now, I have to try and start my thesis (an attempt that has been made on several occasions over these past weeks).  Today has been a good day, the kind that I told Joe–earlier today on the phone–that forces you to seek a little bit more of yourself and consider how much all “this” really means to us.