Post-Election Thoughts: A Metaphor

“Being in your twenties is hard,” I told one of my housemates the other day. “It’s lonely and isolating and it’s this weird time where we’re coming into ourselves so much more and sometimes that sucks.”

“I do not like it. I do not like it all,” she replied.

— — —

Yet, how can we possibly move forward if we refuse to rise above the things we do not like?

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To Focus on Focus

The Newbery Award is the highest honor given out for excellence in children’s literature. It is given out annually–The Newbery Medal is given as the highest award and the Newbery Honor is given to a few runner ups.

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John Newbery Medal, front and back Source

When I was younger, my dream was to one day become a Newbery Award winner.

As a child, I was a voracious writer. I had this huge ledger book filled with unfinished stories and I was always adding to it, always coming up with new ideas. When I was around seven or eight years old, I wrote a story that was deeply rooted in my love and appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series entitled, “Little House in the Hills” (you can really get a sense of how my creative juices were flowing there). When I was around thirteen and fourteen, I actually had the gumption to send my one completed manuscript to a local publisher in the Minneapolis area. The manuscript was kindly rejected with a note from the publisher stating that, while I had promise as a writer, “it just wasn’t what they were looking for.” It was, quite frankly, all for the best as the story itself was a bit on the shaky side. Well. A lot on the shaky side. Let’s just say that it’s safe to say that I’ve improved quite a lot as a writer since then…still, I can’t help but admire my younger self for her determination and drive.

Come high school, my desire to write quickly died away. I took one creative writing class in my freshman year of high school but after that, my dream to write–to become a Newbery Medalist–faded. I was heavily involved with the band program at my high school and was preoccupied with fitting into my friend group. I didn’t think I had time to write and, although I occasionally got out my journal to write lengthy entries about the goings on in my life, I no longer considered myself to be a writer. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that the writer within me reemerged. After breaking off from a serious and very detrimental long-term relationship, I was searching for a way to reclaim my life for myself. I had become so invested in my ex-boyfriend and the relationship that I had with him that I had really lost all sense of myself. Around the time of our break up, memories of the writer I used to be, the writer I dreamed to become, rekindled. I began to realize that writing was, indeed, a part of my identity–a part that I had the misfortune of rejecting for far too many years. With that in mind, I started to a blog–to force myself into the habit of doing one of the things I loved most again and often.

To write.

Still, though, throughout the rest of my college career and into my time in Thailand, I never once considered writing to be anything more than a hobby. A hobby that I happened to be really good at, but a hobby none-the-less. I strongly Continue reading “To Focus on Focus”

Reflections from the Other Side…Or, Going Back to College as an Alum

This morning I woke up on my college campus for the first time in almost four months.

My college campus alma mater.

I woke up in the on campus apartment that the friend I was staying with lives in, rose from the couch that had been my bed for the night, and promptly went to look out the window.

It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous. The campus mall was brimming with green grass and the sky was blue. As I looked out at this scene, I found myself in awe of the beauty of this place that I had called home for four years. I looked out that window and I thought what a privilege it was to have this view. For four years of my life, I had had this view. Not from that same exact spot staring out that same exact window, of course. But I saw it every day. Early in the morning, I walked to classes on those sidewalks carved so effortlessly into the architecture of the mall. I trudged back from the library at 1 am closing time on those same sidewalks–exhausted, tired, craving sleep. I sat out on that green, green grass–or, in the spring time, grass still dead from six, seven months under snow–working on homework, spending time with friends (that one time drinking vodka disguised in a water bottle, progressively getting drunker as the sun beat down on us). I lived and breathed in that space. My whole being was a part of it.

It was my home for four years. And what a privilege to have called it home.

— — — —

Some places are just magical, you know? My alma mater will always be one of those places for me. This place shaped me. Many of my most critical moments of learning and growth happened not just on this campus, but because of this campus.

When I woke up today on that couch in my friend’s apartment…when I got up to look out that window…I was so very aware of that.

I was so very aware of how so very privileged I was to have had that view; to have occupied that space; and to be have been incredibly influenced by it. To still be incredibly influenced by it…even now, as an alum.

And I knew without a doubt that wherever I go in this world–Thailand, and then who knows where–this small liberal arts school on the prairie, this place that I can now call my alma mater…it will always be with me.

It’s the magic of it all.

It’s a part of me now.

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Little Things, Content Moments

Here’s a story:

I spent last summer interning in Washington D.C. For eight weeks, I lived the quite unglamorous, but adventurous life of an unpaid intern in one of the United State’s most expensive cities. I lived in shitty intern housing (we found not one, but TWO unwelcome fungi growing at the base of our bathroom vanity in the course of my time there); I lived off of a pretty cheap diet that would have left my mother concerned (I finally caved in about the fourth week and paid the little extra money for mixed greens at the grocery store, something I initially viewed as unnecessary on my frugal budget…oh my, salad never tasted so good after those four long weeks of surviving off of Continue reading “Little Things, Content Moments”

Restless and Ready

I am restless.

I am ready to move out into the world.

If I wasn’t so hell bent on getting a double major, I could be doing just that right now (I only have one more requirement to graduate folks–my English senior seminar–and since I’ve already completed my history degree, I could have Continue reading “Restless and Ready”

Growing Up With a Pioneer Girl

About a month ago, my grandma called me up and said, “So, I saw on Facebook that you liked something about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography coming  (Yes, yes, I totally did) and was wondering if you wanted it for Christmas?”

Before she could even finish the sentence, I was furiously shaking my head, even though I knew she couldn’t see it over the phone.

“Um, yes! That would be a dream come true!” I answered excitedly.

“Alright, that’s what you’re getting,” she replied.

So, a month and a half before Christmas, I knew what I was getting from Continue reading “Growing Up With a Pioneer Girl”