A few weeks ago, I was re-reading some old journal entries from college. (When we were still in our UNH cap and gown, Julie and I started asking each other, “hey, do you remember that girl from college?” But that was only because we wanted to be douchecanoes for a second. Still not sure if I’ve been graduated long enough to talk about things from college, but what the hell. Maybe in my heart, I really am a douchecanoe.)
One entry stuck with me as a passionate, honest, and utterly pretentious piece of nineteen-year-old poetry.
December 3, 2013
This feeling. Like anything is possible. Ready to explore the world and write it all down. To charm everyone from Sydney to Paris. To capture people and places with words simple and true. To wear my hair down every day.
I know the world can be dark – I think I know, anyways – I’ve seen some things and I’ve read a lot of books. I want to move to a city and live in the lights and walk in my heels like I have someplace to be. I want to sit between mountains and write about how the air tastes and how the sky bruises purple just before the sun sets. I want to keep in touch with my family, keep holding words like newly blown glass, keep faith in myself. Find people who have the same fire in their chest.
Who knows what I’ll do when I graduate. Try not to become jaded. Smile at people walking by even when they notice too late to smile back. Savor coffee-stained pages. Remember this feeling, nineteen and alone and surrounded and alive: hands outstretched like her fingertips could meet around the earth.
Nineteen-year-old me was definitely a douchecanoe. But – I think she was onto something. I admire her gusto. She actually believes she’s going to wear heels one day, that’s cute. She clearly thinks she’s God’s gift to the personal essay, and the first person ever to describe the sky as “bruised,” but goddammit, that girl’s giving it her all. She makes me want to write bad poetry and dance in the rain.
My friends – this week was shitty. My titanium elbow had its second surgery this past Tuesday, and I’ve been feeling not unlike a giant turd ever since the hard drugs wore off. (Always blame the hard drugs.) I’ve been daydreaming about carrying groceries and closing the trunk of my car at the same time. Can’t say I ever expected that to happen.
But you know what? Today was a good Monday. I got to see my pals at work and type some things with my new elbow, and take a walk outside even though it feels like a rainforest, and have a glass of wine with Julie and Steph at the end of the day. It wasn’t quite “savoring coffee stained pages” (I didn’t even drink coffee when I wrote that, I just vaguely liked the idea of drinking coffee, like a douche) – but it was pretty damn good.
This is all a roundabout way of saying: if you’ve had a shitty week, remember the last time it felt like your fingertips could touch around the Earth. It’ll come back again. Someday soon you’ll feel painfully, wonderfully alive, like a nineteen-year-old who’s just discovered Jack Kerouac for the first time.
(Plot twist: I’ve still never read Jack Kerouac. But pretending has gotten me pretty far.)