It’s been so long since I’ve written here, the address to this blog has long but disappeared in history. 100+ readers have slowly dwindled to the occasional glance or linked blog post. It’s been months since I’ve posted here, and probably over a year since I’ve left anything consequential on these pixel pages. And yet, I seem to come back today, of all days.
It’s the beginning of Thanksgiving break in the Senior year of my SUNY Geneseo academic career. My, has time flown since I first started this blog, since I stopped writing in this blog many months ago. All this time, I have had so much to say, but the process of sorting through my thoughts is long and frustrating, and the process of writing these thoughts down in coherent words is even more difficult. Thoughts become long streams of never-ending words, and I find it difficult to believe that many will choose to read this anyway. However, it is nice to know that, in some way, these streams of consciousness have been thrown into the wind, available for those who ask. At the very least, it is for my own sanity, that these words are to be published.
And now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, let us begin:
The best, and worst, thing about going home for a vacation break is that past memories seem to flow back. Houses are memory banks: everything has a history, regardless of whether it is remembered or not. Even mundane little things, such as old shopping lists, chewed up pencils, or the broken Snoopy doghouse which kept my change, have a past. A story.
Every time I come home, I usually find something that evokes a story. Most of the time, I don’t have the luxury to sit and reflect upon these stories. I simply move onto the next artifact. But, somehow, I have found myself with the limited, yet valuable, time to go through some old Christmas and birthday cards. Some of these go as far back as 2006-2008 (yes, I still have cards from way back when… I never have it in me to throw away any cards that are sent to me). All of these cards remind me of a moment, a slice of life that I will forever cherish, but I will never get back.
Boy that makes life sound absolutely tragic. But it’s not because, as all things, memories too will fade away. History will slowly start to disappear. And then all that we have are the physical objects around us. And not the cars, or the homes, or the fancy shirt that you bought last week from insert-expensive-boutique-or-designer-brand-here. I’m talking about letters, photographs, scrapbooks, journals and diaries. Grand letters that span over five pages and seemingly inconsequential notes you write to yourself about homework that is due next week. Photographs of friends at the peek of your year, or the subsequent diary post drenched in tears. When the mind has faded, and even the stories have just about disappeared, these photos and letters and journal entries, all of these things, seem to stand the test of time. Why? Because they are written from the heart.
When you create, write, draw, or take a picture of something, truly magical things happen. At least, I always felt as if they did to me. Verbal words can be easily forgotten, manipulated by the cruel mistresses of memory. Pictures and words, things that are created by man and explicitly placed in something physical (such as a letter or a photograph), however framed they are, will last. So long as I can still read a letter, or see a picture, I can remember the stories. They are little time travel pieces, things that bring me back to a place in my life I thought I could not have reached.
When you truly take the time to write something down, or to draw something, or to really hold still and take a picture of something, that’s when it comes from the heart. When you pour your soul, your effort and your mind into something, that’s when these “time travelers” are formed, created by the will to hang onto a memory, to cling to relics of stories that would, otherwise, be forgotten. I think this is why the scrapbooking industry has done so well. Really, they are a time traveling industry.
In any case, looking through these letters and stories, I think about my past year (really my past year and a half). I have gone through a significant amount of change. Even the very core of my being has changed, in ways I would not have expected it to. If the past me met the me I am today, she’d be shocked. Perhaps even disgusted. Not because I am disgusting, but because she would not be able to understand that the person I am today, the person I am now, is the person she is going to become. It’s interesting how time changes everything. You may not think so, but time changes everything. Nothing is static.
Back to these time travelers. I have written many a story, typed out many a letter, and received many more in return. While I do not have them all on hand, there are plenty that I will never forget. Not only because it took an obscenely long time to write them, but because, when I sent it to you, I also sent a piece of my heart. I wonder where many of these things are now. The scrapbook box that took me hours to put together. The long Christmas letter made of comics that I painstakingly drew through the night. Even things I have never sent, like the four page letter sitting at the bottom of my stationary box. Just because they’re not sent doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant for you.
So much has happened in the past year and a half. And, with the hectic nature of life, these stories, no matter how important they are, no matter how much they may have changed your life, they are forgotten at one point or another. Some stories are forgotten for much longer than others. Some are forgotten completely, forgotten until you find the little time traveler that came along with it. That little piece of heart you stored away in the form of words and pictures.
In this past, I have loved. I have loved and lost and loved again… and lost again. I have survived break ups, and slip ups and mess ups and throw ups. I have broken hearts, and have had my heart broken, over and over. I have lost many things, but gained many more in the process. I know this all sounds pretty enigmatic, but there is no simple way to describe this year. How does one explain a year, a year so busy I have not had the time to think until now? A year so busy that my average sleep schedule is about 4 hours a night, so busy that I probably don’t even eat, on average, a meal a day. A year so busy I have had no time to reflect. No time to write in my own diaries, in my own journal. That’s right, there is no way to describe a year like that. Not in simple terms.
This year has been very difficult, for many reasons. Now, I realize that I am writing this, not only because I finally have the sliver I of time I have to write it, but because I have to write this. For me, it is much easier to write something than it is to say it. I think it’s because saying it is temporary, easy to say and easy to forget. Writing, writing is permanent. When you put that pen to that paper (or as you click away on your keyboard), you are truly turning your emotions, your heart, into something physical.
Of course, when you write something or draw something, or create something, you never actually write it for no reason. Things like this, they have to be written for a purpose. I always find that, when I am writing something (note: I will henceforth just use writing, as opposed to all the other terms, since that is my obvious medium), I am not just writing for me, but I am writing for someone. I am writing to a person. I am writing to “Dear Diary.” I am writing in hopes that some day, someone, will find it. Even if that someone is future me, that someone will find it. I tear my heart, little by little, wrapping them up in neatly written words, so that someone, the right one, will find it. That person is not necessarily a significant other, or even a close individual. It’s whomever the words belong to. Whomever they were meant for. Could be a lover. Could be an enemy. Could even be a stranger. Quite possibly, even for you.
I think in the recent year, I have given up much of myself. I have torn my heart many times, placing it into the hands of both the right and the wrong people. Sometimes, these pieces of the heart are reciprocated, possibly with a part of the other person’s heart. But, more often than not, they are not reciprocated at all.
And this goes beyond just the letters, or the written words. Everything that I have done this year, everything is done with 100% of my effort. 110% if I could do it. And, in the recent weeks, I have found it progressively more difficult for me to do so. I’m not quite sure why, although I have an idea that it is really only myself I can blame.
Someone told me, not very long ago, that I can’t be a debbie downer. Not this year. It’s always up, up, up, optimism. Do it for the people around you, they say. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do it because you’re a leader. Sometimes, I wonder if they really mean: do it because I don’t want to have to deal with your bs.
Well, this time, it’s alright. You don’t have to deal with my bs. Because time flies. Time flies, and stories change. And when I have expended as much energy as I have this year, there is little left in me to keep recording stories, keep creating time travelers with no return. It is tragic to think in such callus terms, to think in concepts of “what will I get back?” But I think, for once, I don’t mind being selfish this time.
I look back to the letters of years past, and I can see stories where people have given their hearts to me. I see memories, probably glorified by the work of memory, but grand, golden memories none-the-less. I think of a simpler life, when there were fewer expectations, and fewer disappointments. I look at these memories, and then I look at my life now.
Perhaps when you do put it in to that perspective, life is pretty tragic. The many memories you make, you tend to forget eventually. The few that you do manage to keep are glorified, to make the current life you lead feel much worse. I don’t know what is better: choosing to keep all these memories, only to make yourself wish you lived in the past? Or forgetting it all?
I am not quite sure what makes this year different from the others. I think it is probably because of all the missing pieces of my heart, missing pieces that I will likely never get back. It’s also probably the fact that I’ve been spreading myself thin, making everyone mad at me, because I have accomplished nothing.
But then I can look back to these letters, these stories. I look back to a simpler time, and I try to forget the here and now. I try to use the little energy these time travels have left to keep going, day after day. I know that these little time travelers are not forever, that by over reading them, and over abusing them, their magical properties slowly start to wane. Yes, even time travelers can become mundane letters on a piece of fancy paper.
Time flies so fast, but it is only when time flies away that we truly start to appreciate the few seconds of life we have left. I can see the chapter closing quickly in this part of my life. And what will I have by the end of this year?
I’m not quite sure yet. At the very least, I will have this blog post. This one story. A gift to myself, and to you, a piece of heart preserved in the loneliness of a Thursday night, surrounded by past memories and stories. A reminder that, at the very least, I can appreciate myself. Even in this difficult, busy and demanding year, I still have at least a piece of my heart left, from myself and to myself.
I hope you find this letter. I hope you find this letter, and you understand. This stream of consciousness, it may not make much sense, but it has served its purpose for me.
To all those, who have loved and lost this year, who have struggled through the obstacles of life, barely able to make little time travelers of your own. To all those who have survived a difficult year thus far, I commend you. I appreciate you. I care for you. And, most of all, I am here for you.
And to all those who have survived reading this note: thank you. Hopefully, you will enjoy the piece of my heart that I have just given you.