…without a dope beat to step to, step to, step to.” -Timbaland
When I last wrote you all, I had just started fall semester at the local community college and celebrated my 22nd birthday that same day. The first 3 weeks were terrifying and exhilarating, this was my first time going to “public school” and it was my first time in the collegiate arena full time after a year off. It was like grade school all over again, lonely as hell. The fact that you’re the new kid really sinks in when you’re eating solo in the corner of the cafeteria, just you and Edith Wharton. Under the scrutiny, of other eyes trying to figure out what I’m about and who my people might be.
The past year has been a year of personal growth. August of last year, I found out I wouldn’t be able to return to my university do to financial aid issues. My father, a retired educator and principal, couldn’t bring himself to look at me anytime the topic of school came up, constantly asking me for forgiveness. This concept still throws me for a loop; why would he ask me to forgive him? He didn’t have to, the love I have for him can’t be set aside for anger or sulkiness to dwell long. I know it’s because he’s sorry he couldn’t provide for his son like he’d initially wanted, but I’m the child, even at 22 years old. I still live under his roof, honestly, he doesn’t have to explain a thing to me. He’s doing a little bit better now that I am back in school.
It’s been difficult at times, living at home and seeing your friends from college make plans for graduation in the winter/spring, applying to graduate schools, and in some cases starting families. It’s like dropping people you love at the airport, telling them goodbye at security, watching them head off to their gate , while you walk back to your car in the parking garage and cry thinking about all the experiences they are going to have.
On the brightside, the last few weeks, however, have opened me up greatly, I’m now a writer/reporter for the school newspaper, which is pretty damn good in its own right. I’m in the school creative writing club, Rogue Writers, it’s been good getting criticism for my writing. Last week, the professor who leads the club called my work from that day, Baldwin-esque. I’m sure she was being nice, but, then again, she’s the English and Literature expert not me.
I’ve been exploring the “Outside World” (Grow up in private, conservative, Protestant education and Baptist home and that’s what it becomes.) and enjoying my time doing so. Talking and listening to people of different backgrounds, nationalities, and faiths (or none at all). Taking in the sights, sounds and smells of not only of big, brash, Chicago, but my literal neck of the woods, the South Suburbs. When I was younger, I took it for granted wanting desperately to pick up and head north into the organized chaos known as city life, but I appreciate the slower pace of these post-war hamlets with their curving, tree-lined lanes; green, open, spaces and temples of mid-century architecture.
I’ve fallen deeper in love with writing, reading and myself, however, not forgetting the difficulty of practicing these three things. These three things are a daily battle that I am becoming better at winning. Although, there are still those days when I open my eyes in the morning and say “Fuck it all” and try to go back to sleep.
Well, I think I’ve procrastinated from these finals papers long enough. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way, I’m grateful for all of you who’ve taken time to read what I put here and consider it worth reading.
With an attitude of gratitude, a wink, and a smile,