HAILEYSTONES| Write From Wrong

WHEN I handed my undergraduate thesis in, after months of crying and editing and caffeine-induced anxiety attacks, I was faced with another dilemma. You see, I had been writing in APA format for so long that, as I sat and pondered over what I should write, the page greeted me in silence. No spark. No flow of ideas or coherent thought. Just a vast, empty . . . Blah.

I didn’t know what to say. How was I supposed to condense all the weeks I ate and slept and breathed thesis, and the immense relief that came with hearing the words “Congratulations!” from your adviser? Or the worries that flooded me about not being able to find a job, or not being good enough? What was I supposed to say to that? I wanted to do it justice, but my mind just fell flat.

Strictly speaking, I had now forgotten how to write for myself. I haven’t even had time to update my diary, which I had kept every since I was eleven years old. I remember when I used to have so many ideas, before the world crept in and pulled the rug out from under me. Part of why I loved doing this column is because this is where I can truly be honest with myself, even if it hurts.

Now all I can think about is, well, adult stuff. My bills are due. I need to buy toothpaste because we’re running out. My Naynay has to go to the doctor because, after her hospital scare, I’m terrified that something might happen to her as I’m responsible for her now. When I want to look for an adult, I then end up realizing that, to some measure, I am one. While I am glad to bid college and the pressure of grades goodbye, what I miss is having someone to run to when times get rough. Today, I have no one but myself.

In a way, however, it is freeing. You realize that you make the rules in the house now. Staying up late doesn’t make me feel as guilty anymore. I am more careful with how I spend — as if I wasn’t careful before — and I now realize that my time and energy needs me to be present in my life at all times. I’ve had to cut out a few friends that were toxic, too. Having to make decisions like that is pretty empowering, and I like being in control of my life.

I just wish that, in my quest to find out what sort of grown-up I can become, that I had retained the same sense of wonder I had when I started to write in my diary for the first time. I always had something to say, mostly because I was young and I can get away with certain things. What was cute when you’re twelve is not so cute, and even unacceptable, when you’re twenty. It’s not that my opinions have changed, or that I have become less strong; it’s just that I need to find a new voice. I can no longer write how I used to, and I realize that this is okay. This is part of growing up.

But I am sure that I am still allowed the occasional freak-out . . . I mean, I did graduate from college. Out of all of my achievements, I felt like this made my Mom the proudest. More importantly, I am proud of myself for actually being able to do it. I haven’t felt like that in a very long time, where I actually did something for myself and not for anyone else. I actually started crying when “UP Naming Mahal” started to play during my graduation. How corny.

I just wish now that I can reflect how I felt then in the words that I write. I wish I could shake off all the technical terms, and the medical jargon, and the need to integrate data into my writing to prove a point. This time, there is no defense panel, no methodologies or frameworks of any kind. I can finally look at myself in the mirror again, and realize . . . that I have not plucked my eyebrows in weeks. The horror!

Posted in Opinion