I really love writing. Probably too much (if that’s a thing…still up for debate). On the pro side, it helps me sort out the things that are lodged inside my head but that I can’t quite visualize until they’re on paper. On the con side, my real time communication skills can suffer–always room for growth, indeed.
But one of the things about writing is that even though I love it, sometimes it’s hard to do. This weekend I went on an excursion to Moravia with several of my classmates— the trip ranks as one of those incredible ones I’ll smile back on for years to come. But as I sat in my room on Sunday night engaging in a series of arbitrary tasks like folding and re-folding my clothes, brushing my teeth multiple times, etc. I couldn’t deny that even this was a step too far in procrastination. I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t write my blog post. (Yes eventually I did but it ended up a brief anecdotal study of my roommate’s days).
Fast-forward to Monday night. It’s 7 pm and three of my classmates and I are sitting in the second level balcony at the State Theatre in Prague, eyes glued to the performance of “Swan Lake.” It was a feast for the eyes, and in a strange way, an unexpected reflective experience. As the music crescendoed and fell in that mesmerizing tune, and the dancers wove across the stage, I suddenly fell more into the “real world”.
At intermission, myself and my classmates turn to each other dumbfounded and absolutely taken aback by this shared feeling of awe. My friend Gaby and I sitting next to each other spent a good three minutes exchanging dumfounded ‘Wows” and “Oh my goodness, did you—wow, that was just, wow” which eventually morphed into a more coherent conversation on the way the performance opened us up to memories and experiences we hadn’t visited in a long time.
It was in that conversation that I realized why I struggled to write, and why I ended up spending my Sunday night re-organizing my laundry instead of working on a blog post.
Part of it is that when I put something in writing, it’s suddenly very clear that it happened. Happened. Past tense. Writing is (in a less “Ode on a Grecian Urn” way) the vehicle I use to make sense of and to preserve the experiences. But it also can have a sort of finality to it. As Gaby and I related, it’s like that one weekend or event that we look forward to for months, maybe even years. And then in all its bliss it’s here and gone, and when we write what happened and it doesn’t quite capture it all, we begin to doubt the value of our experiences. And sometimes, we’re just downright depressed that it’s come and gone.
I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. Yes, I do have a piece of the beloved yellow-shag carpet that was in our living room until I turned seven years old, and the drawers in my dresser are stuffed to the brim with old notes and books (I promise I still reference them). I just don’t like the idea of forgetting. I don’t like the idea that what happened, those brilliant moments, those ones we look forward to and lived in, mean nothing for the present. It’s the fear that after all the hype, all the planning, all the looking forward to, that it somehow wasn’t enough. And more importantly, that what we do with it in the future won’t reflect the things we’ve learned.
That’s why it’s hard to write. It’s a challenge in black and white—look at what you did. Look at who you were. Now, how are you going to use it?
Enough of that—Today is Fat Tuesday! Because you really want to know, here’s what my meals have consisted of thus far: Breakfast—yogurt and banana (healthy enough right?) Second breakfast—Three spoonfulls of Nutella. Elevensies—Czech sausage from a kindly Carnivale street vendor. Lunch—Chocolate-caramel cake (excellent nutritional value). Dinner—Potato pancakes and a few stolen bites of some questionable meat from a friend’s plate. Dessert—Coffee gelato. 2nd Dessert—well, the night is young…
Classes are going splendidly, thought it is quite odd that most of my peers back home are already taking midterms while I’m still in the add/drop period.
More on those classes later!
‘Til next time