I can loosely remember talking to one of my college roommates about moving to Florida after college graduation. Of course, we were all sad because somewhere deep down inside we all knew things would never be the same even if it felt like being college roommates was never going to end. She suggested I start a blog about my new life that was going to be several hundred miles away so everyone could keep up with me.
I, being a person who loves to talk, thought it was a great idea. But what was I going to write about? And would anyone really care? Would I really be doing this a year later?
A year later and here I am, still writing. You guessed it, today is my one-year blog anniversary of my first post! (you can check it out here Side Hugs Are For Third Graders)
Over the course of this past year, it’s been really hard and yet really easy. Sometimes the words just flow naturally and others I can’t think about a single thing to write about. Sometimes the stuff I want to write about seems way too personal, but isn’t that the point of sharing a journey of becoming an adult? Isn’t it a hard, scary and lonely path that we age into without an instruction manual. More than once I have felt like a complete failure. Yet again more than once I have found a way to pick myself back up and keep trying.
It was my second to last semester of college when I had an extra credit opportunity in my advanced fiction writing class to attend a reading. It was late at night, I didn’t really care and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. But I went anyways. We heard a guy read a chapter from his novel, a woman read some poetry, both of which mildly interested me. My grey sweatshirt was one more mediocre word away from being drooled on.
Then Dr Jill Talbot stepped up to the mic. I could tell she was nervous by the slight shake in her voice but she stood confidently. She told us she would be reading something non-fiction. All I think was oh great, this is going to be boring.
Oh, how wrong I was. Her words filled the air around me, drawing my ears to hang onto every last word she spoke. I was so caught up in her voice, the way she could talk about something so personal to a room full of strangers, all I wanted was to be in her presence for just a little while longer, for her to read me just one more story. But it was over.
Luckily for me, she was teaching an intro to non-fiction writing. With one final semester left I signed up. Thus starting my journey to becoming a blogger.
When I arrived in Flordia I was living with family, and while I haven’t blogged much about that (being as it is still a little raw and too personal to my writers’ skin), I did find typing away made it easier to quite my brain.
Even though I had family around, family I never really had the chance to know before then, I felt alone. There is something to be said about having the people who understand you near you.
But I did learn some valuable lessons while gone. I started my first customer service job and got a real taste of being in an industry where you have to serve others, Memorial Day Weekend at Ginnie
Before I became a ‘real’ adult, I had never understood why it was so hard to fit exercise into a routine, then suddenly it all made sense I finally understand why adults get fat
And then with the hurricanes coming I packed up my life and fled home to Texas. It was my first true taste of being in a place where no one really knows the real you. It gives for a lot of self-exploration. Yay, adulting.
Throughout this year of blogging I have had many doubts, feeling that my life wouldn’t be interesting to write about. That I wouldn’t have any stories worth telling. A few nights ago I went through this self-doubt again.
I think on my journey to becoming a better writer this blog has served as a space to negotiate the new world I have found myself dropped into.
I thought turning 22 ( Not Feeling Your 22 ), graduating from college and working in the adult world would have this effect on me. You know the scene in Cinderella where her fairy godmother waves her wand and says bibbidi bobbidi boo and Cinderella is a whole new person, I thought that would happen somehow. But I didn’t feel it.
And then after a lot of thinking and a lot of internalizing (you can go ahead and sprinkle some self-doubt on there too), I figured it out.
I could make my own magic. In the form of words. I just had to write honestly. And I realized that my biggest fear wasn’t if I would be successful or not, it was that I would be writing and it wouldn’t be for myself.
This blog took me to that point. So even if sometimes it seems a little too real and inappropriate (sorry to my grandmas), I would be doing a disservice to myself if I censored me.
College was a very important time in my life. It is where I started to do a lot of my growing up. Of course, things that happened earlier in life also shaped me. But college was one of the first times I got to be on my own.
Yes, I still had my parents close by and they have still been very active in my life. But it was a time where I started growing up. High school was a weird time for me, not sure I’m really ready to honestly and openly talk about it yet.
I look back, seeing as how in less than a month it will have been one year since graduation, and realize that I had already started to become an adult then.
And once again feeling in a slump I challenged myself to write an abecedarian. Which I learned about in Dr Talbot’s class. Each letter is about a specific memory in college. I’m still writing it and sometimes it is hard to pick just one thing per letter or even find a memory. But I think it has been healing in a way and fun/embarrassing/sad to remember things that happened.
I have come to realize that you really can’t go back. Nothing is the same. People grow up, move on, new buildings are built. Each moment, every memory is beautiful. Part of growing up and becoming an adult is learning to adapt and change.
When I first started blogging I would take stands on issues in my head. Too touchy of subjects never felt appropriate to talk about. Partially because sometimes I was ignorant of the topics and partially because I wasn’t sure if I should take a stand.
And then the Me Too movement happened. Lots of emotions later and outpouring support and stories across the internet caused me to let my voice be heard. And it felt good.
Blogging helped me work through my fear of being the odd one out. It has helped me find my voice, not only as a writer but as a person, giving me the confidence to form my own opinion, not letting family or friends sway me.
I know technically my poetry isn’t all about becoming an adult. A lot of it is just stuff I’ve written.
Before my final semester in college, I had never thought about writing poetry (which is funny cause I found a few attempts at poetry in some old files from when I was a kid).
Poetry felt like a dead language. If you asked me back then I would tell you Dr Seuses was my favorite poet. Now it’s a little more complex than that.
I had once again found my voice. But in a different context. I found that rhyming could be pretty easy. I felt that in some ways things couldn’t be said by just simply typing them out but could be expressed in a poem.
And then came a new way to express how I felt about people and things I care about. (BFF, Mom, giving back, diving)
Blogging has given me a platform to express myself in different art forms. Sometimes just for fun, for others, or for more abstract ideas. It’s a little weird to have your hair blow dryer to talk to you in a normal setting right?
Writing a blog hasn’t been easy. More times than I would like to admit the idea of quitting has sounded good. But one thing my dad always told me was that Walkers don’t quit. More days then I can count I have been happy I didn’t.
I do have a lot flaws as a writer, I sometimes forget you all don’t live in my head, I don’t always write in chronological order, and sometimes my spelling isn’t so great. I’m working on it. This past year has taught me that we always have room for growth if we are open to it.
If I could take away anything from this past year it would be that if you write for others then you will never be happy, but if you write for yourself then your writing will bring you happiness.
To everyone who has been on this journey with me, thank you. I love reading your comments on Facebook or WordPress. Sharing this journey with you helps make this such a fun and wonderful experience.