e n o u g h,
but their imperfection
is a l l
e n o u g h,
but their imperfection
is a l l
`Who are YOU?’ said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’
-Alice in Wonderland
Not that I’m having a quarter-life crisis or anything, but who am I?
I think I’m a semi-smart 21 year old who likes to write and read and look at art, and who has no clue how to be an adult.
To my parents, I’m the middle child with a big mouth and a tendency for overreaction.
To my teachers, I’m the girl who raises her hand since I’m sick of sitting in silence for two minutes when a question is asked because, realistically, we’re too old for that bullshit.
To my friends, I’m the awful joke-telling shoulder to cry on who trips a lot. But even these descriptions of myself are filtered through my own perception.
So, who am I, really? Am I who I think I am, or who you think I am? Is it possible that I can be all of the different versions of myself that everyone else sees? Does any perception matter other than my own, or does every perception combine to make up who I am?
It occurs to me that I may actually be thousands of people at once.
Does that mean I have split personalities or something? DO I NEED THERAPY, INTERNET? Wait. Don’t answer that.
The end of 2013 is quickly approaching, and just like any other year (however arbitrary that measure of time is) you start to think about how much is different, and how much is the same. Thinking about what’s happened in the past 12 months is enough to make anyone’s head spin.
2013 was the year I cruelly and selfishly broke someone else to heal myself, and ran from the guilt. It was the year I hugged some of my best friends goodbye on the morning of their graduation and then cried like a baby as soon as they left their apartment.
It was the year I found happiness in London and spent the 4th of July playing foozeball in a pub with the owners after-hours while Rebecca poured her own beer and Victoria flirted with the bartender. It was the year I turned 21, fell unexpectedly but not reluctantly in love, and discovered a passion for pastels.
It was an entire year without Chris and Mr. G, but a whole year with William and Chase.
So, okay, Rent: how do you measure a year? Is there an equation to determine how much you lost, how much you gained? Is there a way to tell how much you’ve changed? Because I know I am not the same person I was last December- and I don’t regret it in the slightest.
Self assessment: since last year, I’m happier but more scared about the future. I get less stressed about the little things but more stressed about what it all means. I’m better at giving myself credit but just as bad at opening bottles of wine.
Benjamin Franklin, that wise, bald man, said something along the lines of ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.’ I couldn’t agree more, Benny. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much I’ve changed- that I’ve changed is enough. And I’m nowhere near ‘finished.’
Maybe I’ll remember 2013 as the year I was ecstatic that I got to be a bridesmaid at Taylor’s wedding, despite the pit in all of our stomachs that one Donato was conspicuously and painfully absent.
Maybe I’ll remember that The Ionian won Organization of the Year and we celebrated with custom-made shot glasses, a scrapbook, and a gin bucket at Meg’s.
Maybe I’ll think of moving into our senior year apartment the day after my 21st, hungover as only a new 21-year-old can be, my parents pointing at me and saying, “do you see what happens when you drink too much?” to my little sister.
I can’t tell you what will come to mind first when I look back on 2013 a few years from now. But I will remember that these 525,600 minutes have changed me- for, I think, the better. I hope I can say the same next December.
The first semester of senior year is winding down and yet another of my friends is celebrating their 22nd birthday. Where else would I be but the college’s go-to bar? Surrounded by Christmas lights, people in Santa hats and a ton of ugly sweaters, here were some of the texts I sent out into the world last night:
“Cheers to that, dude.”
“The elf midget on the bar at beech is being generous with his shot pours. I miss you.”
“Don’t be worried Bridget it is with me and she is 100% good!”
“Rob is in a Santa suit.”
“You don’t need to fight him he seems like a nice midget.”
“I was going to attack you with love.”
sleep is for the weak
even moreso for the dead
and there are countless other reasons
to spend the day in bed
at least, that’s what his smile said
It’s been exactly two years. I can still remember getting that phone call like it was yesterday…
Well, first comes the text message, but I think it’s just another scare. I’d gotten this kind of message before, and they’d all resulted in no incident. Just a few days of tense waiting, and then: oh, no, crisis averted, carry on with life. But this time is different. She’s sure.
I ask all the compulsory questions- “Who?” “When?” “But really, are you sure?” “What are you going to do now?”
“I’m on my way. You’re not doing this alone.”
She tries to protest, but I shut her down with one question- “If it were me, would you come?”
Check the train schedule, throw clothes in a bag, desperately ask for a ride to the station. No cash? Three roommates thrust twenties into my hands, and I’m in a friend I’ve grown apart from’s car, breathing deeply and trying not to panic.
“Is everything okay?”
“No, not really.”
“Shit- good luck. I’ll pray for you.”
“Thanks.” I wonder if it’ll help? A quick hug, and I’m out, slamming the door behind me and running to the track.
Waiting on the platform, it starts to hit me. My eyes fill against my will and I’m breathing heavy. Where the fuck is this goddam train? Three minutes late.
Fifteen feet away, two middle-aged women saddled with bright red rolling suitcases and the chatter of a corporate friendship are watching me rock back and forth nervously on my heels. I look at them- “The Amtrak headed to Rhode Island will be coming on this track, right?”
One of them nods quickly, her eyes squinted in concern, but not enough to ask. She continues watching me watch her for a moment and then looks away. Finally, the train’s lights appear down the curve and I get ready to get on.
Hand the woman my ticket and collapse into the first available seat, across from a clearly new couple that eyes me accusatorily, as though I’ve just plopped down between them in their own bedroom. “I’ll move as soon as a seat opens up,” I tell them. They inspect my wild eyes for a moment and return to each other while I try to slow my breathing.
Thankfully, a passenger in the row behind me gets off at the next stop, and I slip into the empty seat. Three hours ahead of me, no one to stare, and plenty of time to panic.This is when I let my eyes overflow. Silently, so as not to attract attention- or worse, questions.
I text her: ‘on my way. be there by nine. love you‘
The reply comes: ‘okay, love you too’
Two years ago, and it seems like yesterday. It was only two days ago I was sharing a slice of pie with that beautiful blue-eyed baby boy. It’s cliché as hell, but Jesus, does time fly.