Blurred Lines and Good Times

Back in 2009, there was a popular song that came out called “I love College” by Asher Roth. The first two lines of the chorus are “I love college, I love drinking…” Back then I thought it was funny, as if alcohol and college were supposed to go together. Then I came to college and it became clear, they kind of do go together. Not always in a good way.ocean-outlook

The legal drinking age is 21, that is common knowledge to all of us by now. As a Cal Poly student, we have all been
educated on the signs of alcohol poisoning and the danger of the damage we can do to ourselves. That being said, there is definitely a way to drink safely and in moderation, this school has made sure to teach us that after the death of a student back in 2009. I can understand that all of us come from different backgrounds and everybody is into different things, there is really nothing wrong with that. The only thing that I think there is something wrong with is that last weekend, my parents were here for parents weekend and it was fantastic to have them here. The problem came when in the space of about twenty minutes, three different ambulances passed us along the main street. My mom asked me if it happened often and I had to tell them it happens every weekend… starting on Thursdays.

Our lives are too fragile for this, we need to know our limits.

In a quote from Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, “If you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning…” I feel like too many of us are toeing a line that is too easy to cross, a line that might be too easy to blur. city-perspectiveWe are the next generation of adults, those who have the ability to innovate and change so much in this world. We just have to give ourselves the chance to and sometimes I’m not sure if we are. Even if I believe we deserve it.

In light of this idea, I wrote something about it— a poem of sorts just to get my thoughts on paper. So I wanted to share it with you all, it’s been a little while since I’ve shared a poem. I think this one has a lot to say about what we do with our lives and how it might look from the outside. Here it is:

 

Blurred Lines

She looked so peaceful lying there. You almost couldn’t tell what had happened that night.

Almost.

If an outsider were to walk in, to take a look at the beautiful brown haired girl asleep on the floor, they would think she was tired. That was it. Just tired.

They wouldn’t know that she was drinking hours before.

Too much.

They wouldn’t know she had gone too far.

They didn’t know that brown haired girl had almost accidentally killed herself.

But that happens doesn’t it? People take things too far.

They go just a little overboard.

Soon enough, just a little is too close for comfort.

That boundary gets blurred.

And that line gets crossed.

And there’s no going back.

Because what if there was no longer anything left of her.

What is she was too far gone.

Just a little too much to drink,

A step past overboard.

Because it happens, doesn’t it? She could have taken it too far.

She almost killed herself, but it was just an accident.

She had almost taken it too far,

Too close.

Because that was hours before, now she’s okay.

But let’s say she was just tired. That someone looking in wouldn’t know there was a difference between this tired brown haired girl, and a girl who was almost dead.

Almost.

Because she looked so peaceful, sleeping there on the floor. Almost as if I didn’t know exactly what had happened that night.

 

light-painting-mountains

Tonight is the official beginning of Halloween weekend, a major party weekend for students around the world. I plan to have just as much fun as the next person this weekend, but I wanted to share a little something I wrote and in regard to this weekend and the chances some of us take with our lives. Whether you stay in to watch Halloweentown or go out to paint the town with some friends, I just hope everyone stays safe has a wonderfully Happy Halloween.

Two Myths and a Lie: The American Dream

Week five of my college experience has now come to an end and it is unbelievable to me that it has felt like five days and five months at the same time.beach-sunlight Anything but five weeks. I know that this is college and we are all here to get an education, but this is so much more than that. Every time I look at my friend’s Snapchat stories or talk to them about their weeks, I can see that we are all headed in different directions and down different paths, yet we are all going together. Something about that to me just seems so beautiful, like a privilege to have that security in my life. I know that many of the people in my life will stick with me while I go chase my dreams and my education, I cannot wait to see where we all are in ten years.

Someone might say that this is the American Dream, the unattainable light we are all reaching for— that hope of an education, of something more. Tying into my political science class this week, we began talking about the American Dream and whether it is a myth or a reality. The question itself made me think for a moment, the automatic answer pausing in my throat. What if it’s both? While for some people it truly is a reality, for others (Gatsby anyone?), it is absolutely unattainable.

It made me wonder, where do I fit into that spectrum?


Years ago, if someone asked me what I wanted to be, I would say that I wanted to go into the medical field. First, it was a doctor, then a nurse, maybe physical therapist or trainer, possibly a surgeon, and now back to medical field as bright-lights-stringa whole. I guess that aspiration hasn’t really changed for me, it is still in the back of my mind. But in the back of my mind, ever since seventh grade, I have always had a new whisper in the back of my mind answering something completely different, something that most people would consider impractical. That voice would be answering,
a writer. Last year in my AP Literature class, one of my all time favorite classes, I wrote in my Senior Portfolio that all I ever wanted to be was a writer. What did my teacher tell me in response? “You already are.”

Part of me wanted that to be enough, the understanding that I already am everything I need to be. But I know that it’s not, I want to be so much more than what I already am and everything I have ever done. More than an education or the aspirations I hold within my heart. More than the definitions of who I have been. So I published a poetry anthology, (shout out to my parents for that one), and I thought doing that would be good enough for me. Then I realized it wasn’t. Instead, I pushed onwards. Reaching for that goal every day, now I’m working on a novel and a second poetry anthology at the same time. Oh, and getting an education. Because there is so much I want to do in this life and as cliche as it sounds, there is so little time. My parents always said, “Minor in what you love, major in what you can pay the bills with.” As a Chemistry major hoping to minor in English, I believe in that advice because it makes sense to me. I get it. The American Dream doesn’t work out for all of us and they know I’ve got some crazy dreams. But that won’t stop me from trying. Truly, that is the American Dream isn’t it?

Like my professor asked, is it a reality or a myth?

city lights.jpgMaybe it is both.

In my junior year of high school, we watched and read the Great Gatsby, a classic example of the American Dream. Since then I have always wondered how attainable it is or if the dream itself is still alive. At this point, I’d like to think that it is… Each of us have dreams don’t we? Call it the American Dream if you’d like, but I think most of us have aspirations and goals that may not quite be in our reach, but we’re willing to do what it takes to get closer to it so that maybe it can be. In that way, I think the green light is very much alive in everything we do, from education to parenting. That being said, is this dream truly attainable for every one of us? That part is a myth. Not all of us are going to be able to reach it and not all of us are even going to chase those dreams, that is the reality I see.

But like I said, that doesn’t stop us from trying. And it never will.

These past few weeks of my life have been so full of a significant amount of studying, lots of class time, and not nearly enough sleep. Yet every day, I am working towards a future of writing and education, two things I have been raised to value of the utmost importance. Because so many of us want something more, whether it is to be happy, or to have money, or simply to be a better version of ourselves. And me? I want to write more than I have ever wanted anything else in this life, to me that itself is more than a dream. It is my reality.

So maybe the American Dream is both a myth and a reality at the same time, it depends on how you look at it. But for each one of us who have a dream, even if it is jwriter's lifeust to see the glowing lanterns gleam, I say chase it. For me, soon enough five weeks will become five months, and before I know it college will be in the past. Now is the time to carpe diem, in reality, every day is. To seize this day, right here and right now, because I believe every one of us deserves to. Right now, I am a college student, only five weeks into my freshman year. But no matter how much time passes, what major I am, or what my aspirations truly become, I am a writer and a dreamer at heart. That is never going to change.

All in Good Time

Now that the second full week of October has almost passed, people are gearing up for what I can say is oftentimes the most social time of year, the time that I know everyone is looking forward to— the holiday season. Last week on a trip to Target, it became clear that stores are very well prepared for these next few months, with a plethora of candy and Halloween decorations, Christmas lights not even two aisles over. It is the season of high school Homecoming, holiday anticipation, and so many more exciting things for people. I always remember loving this time of year in Folsom, preparing to decorate our lawns and the annual traditions families did every year. spiderweb.jpgNow that I’ve got a new place to call home, there come new traditions and new people to celebrate with.

At Target last weekend with Nick, we picked up several bags of candy as well as some decorations to put up in/around our dorms. We may have gone a little overboard without having our parents to remind us “You don’t really need that”, or “Should you be getting so much candy?” but it was fun nonetheless. After returning with our hands full of bags, my roommates and I proceeded to decorate, and I must say that our dorm room looks quite fantastic. Picture this: Command hooks adorning the doorway and wall around our door with spiderwebs stretching across, plastic spiders scattered throughout, with stickers on our door saying “Trick or Treat”, and a large whiteboard for people to draw holiday themed fun all over. For a three-person room, it sounds pretty cozy right? While decorating, there was this moment, a freeze-frame, where I feel like life stopped for a split second so I could hold onto it. Both of my roommates and I were standing outside the room with a spider or a whiteboard marker in our hands, contemplating where to put the rest of our decorations, and I could just feel the warmth wash over me— this felt just a little bit like home.

Moments like that are what I love about new beginnings, fresh starts, and finding our way through something. I wish I could say that the homey feeling lasts forever, but I know that it doesn’t.

I feel like no matter where we are at in our lives or who we are with, sometimes, things can begin to feel just a ltimeittle bit lonely. Maybe you’re not quite where you wanted to be, maybe you’re missing the people who mean the world to you, or maybe it’s just a feeling without a cause. One way or another, it happens. As freshman, it’s kind of like starting over whether we went to a local college or farther away for education. It is all still a step closer to the adult world and one more away from our families, from familiarity. When things get hard and we start having to make decisions on our own, or even when we talk to the people we miss, it can be easy to forget that we are not alone in this journey, that we will never be alone in this life. But that’s the thing about friendship, the beauty of missing people in the first place or feeling this way. Because it is times like these when we need to remember that missing people means that we are lucky enough to have people to miss. And as it always seems to work out, right as we are beginning to feel alone, someone comes along to remind us that we are not.

My third full week, or fourth official week, of college is officially over and I know that I am still not quite adjusted to things here. It’s not that I haven’t made friends or that this isn’t a beautiful town to be in, for me it’s just taking time to get used to my new surroundings and my life. From what I’ve been told, the best things take time and sometimes we forget to give ourselves that. It can be like going to the gym every day for a week and expecting to see six pack abs on your body by Sunday. That kind of result takes time, whether we think we have it or not. This morning, a  wonderful friend of mine sent me a song, You Can’t Rush Your Healing by Trevor Hall. In the middle he sings, “Mama well she told me time is such a wonderful gift. You’re not runninpeople-jumpg out, you’re really running in.” I think this line is important to remember because it’s saying that whatever you’re going through, give yourself time to get to where you want to be. And even more than that, something that I know is hard for a lot of people, is to let yourself lean on others. Give yourself love and people that can keep you on your feet, just long enough to be able to stand on your own.

To all the people who take the time to read my blog posts every week, thank you for giving me something and someone beautiful to miss. And to all the people who are finding themselves feeling alone, not good enough, or a little less than themselves these days, I just want you to remember that you are everything you need to be and there is a world of people who love you for exactly who you are. That will never change, the amount of people who care about you will only increase in time, and no matter what is going on in your life, there is always something beautiful about it. Even when the real beauty is coming from you.

It’s a no from me, but…

city lyfe.jpgIt was 11 o’clock last night when an email came through on my phone with the subject line “Take it SLO Audition Results.” I sucked in a breath and held it, the moment of truth was finally upon me.

This was it.

The thing is, I was ready for it. I didn’t even have to open the message to know what it would say… After going from 57 of us to only 22 at callbacks, I could feel the “no” in my heart before I read it with my eyes; truthfully, I didn’t need the email to tell me that.

In that moment, I was okay with it.

Because at the time, I was also sitting at a table in our frozen yogurt place on campus, surrounded by a group of writers like me just talking about books and authors, and everything we love about the written word. As soon as that rejection, that “no,” resounded through my chest, it was just as quickly filled with the warm appreciation I could hold onto for another new part of my life just beginning. That’s when I realized something important, something that we can only really understand through experience— we are going to hear a lot of “no’s” in our lives, and we are going to try for a lot of things that weren’t meant to be a part of our futures. But there is one small hope held within that fact: Even when people tell you no, even when rejection comes knocking on the seemingly hollow walls of your heart, there will always be someone else who will tell you yes. And maybe, just maybe, that will be right where you need to be.

Picture this, I am now two full weeks into my freshman year and people are beginning to worry about others finding their groups and solidifying friendships, discovering their niches and all. Then there are things like Snapchats and Instagram photos of all of our friends who have been in school for over a month longer than us, posting pictures of their new friends and new lives booksreminding us that we’ve got to get a move on. I was thinking all of this while sitting with my writing group and I realized that I had just found one of my niches, one full of people who all love the same thing I do and love it for different reasons. Basically, everything I love about people and books in one group. I had found it.

But wait, what about the music production club? Or the Black Student Union? And what about all the things I will find later, the people or the new groups and the new classes… What about all of those things that maybe I will want to be a part of too?

Call it a Millennial theme or simply figuring it out for ourselves, but I am beginning to understand that we do not need to fit into one group or another. I’m the kind of person who says, “why not do it all!” I feel like that’s the point of college, other than education of course. It seems like this is our chance to branch out and meet new people, to try all the things we’ve been curious about or wanting to understand better before it’s too late and we no longer can. This is our opportunity. As my parents like to say, it kind of goes like this: Minor in what you love, major in what you can pay the bills with. Translation for college as a whole: try everything out if you want to, take some chances here and there, but keep your grades high and your spirit even higher.

Right now, I’m a chemistry major but soon enough that will change to a Kinesiology major with an English minor. Hopefully. Most people ask me why the drastic add of an English minor, it’s so different from those two major choices. Well, as most of you already know, I love writing and literature and just the idea of it all. I want to learn about it and study what I am passionate about, so why not make it a minor and go from there. It almost seems like I have a plan for where I want to go, I’d like to think I do. But the other thing about plans is that a lot of the time, they end up changing. Earlier this week I was already thinking aboutballoon-1373161_1280 how acapella practices would fit into my schedule— talk about counting my chickens before they hatch right? Now plans are changing and I’m moving on to join other things and fit other activities into that time slot, like studying… Or taking a nap. There is nothing else to do than to simply adapt to what is going on around us and sometimes, just hope for the best. One foot in front of the other, step by step, and day by day.

I know that I’ve only been here for three weeks, but if I had to sum it all up in one word, it would be adjustment. It is almost a reality shock to be surrounded by people who don’t know you or your story, while you’re all in the same place to learn and figure out what you want in life. It is a chance to maybe put yourself out there and redefine who you are compared to who you used to be. I have already done probably one of the most daring and un-introverted things I have ever tried— singing in front of 57+ people knowing they were all sort of judging me. But I had fun, I enjoyed it. At the end of the day, I feel like that’s what matters.

Time goes by slowly here, but also quickly if that’s possible, and I’d like to say this was a crazy week but it is starting to look like they are all going to be that way. From joining new clubs and meeting new people to learning new things and trying my hand at something different, this is college. College is a learning curve, an adjustment, full of rejection or acceptance as well as newfound passions and amazing people. From what I’ve heard from a lot of friends, it takes a little getting used to but soon enough it’ll be the time of my life. And I can’t wait.

So maybe the night started with a “no” after I put myself out there, hoping to join this awesome experience that I wanted to try out. But also at the same time, I could feel a resounding “yes” of warmth spreading through my heart while I sat there with a new group I had just become a part of. It’s the up and down story of our lives, just hoping to find some stepping stones to lead us in the right direction. Maybe some of thosesunlight will be the rejections while others are the acceptances, before we know it, they will create the path to lead us into a future we want to be a part of. I guess that’s the point, the learning curve of college; the ups and downs or the yes’s and the no’s. We go through it all to find ourselves heading in the right direction. And if that direction is anything like I’ve heard from so many other people, then I know that each and every one of us will make it through all of this just fine.