Goodbye.

ImageI have now reached the point in the semester I have dreaded the most: saying goodbye to my a cappella group– my family, my friends. I joined DeCadence in the second half of my sophomore year and the journey with this team of talented and inspiring performers has given me so much since then. DeCadence gave me more than just an outlet, it gave me a group of unforgettable and irreplaceable friends. 

Looking back, I have so much to be proud of with this group: from winning the quarter finals at the ICCA quarterfinals last year, to arranging and choreographing one of our most popular and well-known pieces last semester, to actually being one of the leaders responsible for the group’s success this semester. I’ve grown with these people so much and it has been such an honor to give back to the group all that it’s given me. I will never forget the lessons I learned as a member and leader of this group. I walk away from DeCadence full of love and respect for everyone I’ve met in this enriching and inspiring community. Thank you to everyone I have worked with and performed with- you have all shaped me into the person I am today. Know that I am better because of you: a better friend, a better leader, and a better performer. These are things I pray I can continue sharing and developing with others on this new and exciting journey after graduation. 

It is time to say goodbye, now. Goodbye to so many opportunities and experiences I have taken full advantage of. Goodbye to the peers I have so much respect and trust for, to carry on the progress and excellence we’ve worked so hard to create the past few semesters. Goodbye to my friends who I love dearly- your love has held me, lifted me, and inspired me in   ways that words can’t begin to explain. Goodbye to a semester of hard work and accomplished goals. 

Goodbye, and from the bottom of my heart– thank you for everything.

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What Went Away

To China, we said
we’d never quit
we’d dig through sand
deposits.
Through rock, we said
we’d never stop
despite denim
dirt pockets.
Our nails, we said
could claw and grip
the grains like spade
composites.
With hands and feet
we dug and built
our castles, holes,
conduits.

 

But sandbox shovels break at beaches
The lands stretched far too wide
My hand upon your handle still
Digs all this wet sand dry.
The shovel the pail, the try the fail-
One tool more useful than the other;
We could not dig forever if
You’re not a digging lover. 

I’ll build myself a castle then
(a fortress with a moat!)
At times it seems that I am sure
but I miss help the most.

The waves will come
they come alway
they see the holes
and fill.
The tide will rip
our towers too
but grace will ease
the spill. 

You never know:
what went away
could have it’s joy
here too
And oceans push
and pull one way
could send me back
to you. 

The wrong thing to ask is ‘why?’

Why- when all I’ve done is open my heart, and give, and love, and pray, and try, and connect, and reach for good, and listen, and share- would I continue doing so after so much failure? 

What is the point? 

Why carry on seeking romance, seeking education, seeking responsibility and leadership when all of it can come crashing down at any moment? 

I have failed in my relationship. I have failed to get into graduate school. I will be leaving my team of friends in less than a month. So much failure at once demands an explanation. I needed a ‘why’; I needed a reason to carry on and to keep trying.

After a while though, I realized it’s not about the ‘why’. I get up and I keep trying and sharing and seeking good because I simply must. Because as scary as it is to keep failing, good is always right around the corner. 

Holi cow!

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For how many days I’ve spent in grey spaces and dark places the last couple weeks, yesterday’s colorful Holi celebration was a very graciously received gift. I had never been to a Holi festival before, so this first-time experience was something I couldn’t have even prepared for. I knew it would be fun and colorful, but the extremities of those two characteristics stretched farther than I could’ve dreamt.  

I walked onto the designated painting grounds empty handed. I didn’t have time or money to purchase any color powder, but fortunately my friends were willing to share with me. I walked through the developing crowd, my white shirt and jean shorts thirsty for color, and before I knew it I was being splashed with water, and hosed with color from all directions. Smiling strangers greeted me with a splash of yellow to my face, or a dash of purple to ruffle into my hair. With joyful music painting an aural canvas over the crowd, my friends and I danced for hours amongst ourselves and with our overjoyed neighbors. 

The beautiful thing about Holi was the bliss uniformly felt amongst everyone in the crowd. Sure, someone must have been disappointed with a mouthful of dye or a dusty eyeball, but the energy was unmistakable. We danced and we sang and we laughed and colored…and for what? Because it’s spring! Because life is good, and beautiful, and now,and always. It was divine in a way, sharing joy with people I loved, and people I didn’t know at all but still seemed to love anyway because they were sharing their joy with me. It was harmonious and unforgettable and I loved every minute of my experience.

I want to find this joy in everything. I want to look for it in places that are hard to find. It’s something I need to train myself to see, because it’s there in every person, place, or event I will experience in my life. There is something good to be seen anywhere I go. That joy that I felt and held witness to yesterday– it didn’t go away. The color may have washed from my skin, but it’s left a stain on my heart. 

Finding Faith In New Places

“Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” -Abraham Lincoln

If there’s one thing I want people to known for, it’s for finding faith in the bleakest of situations, and for seeing even the littlest bit of light in the darkest of places; the good in the hardest of hearts.

One thing I’ve learned in the past months is that goodness is everlasting. There will always be love and light and goodness in the world- it’s not going to go away unless you stop looking for it. I’ve stopped looking this month because it’s harder to find now. I was so blessed to have a beautiful relationship, one that put the light of the world in the palm of my hands, and like a little lightening bug, it’s flown away from me and faded back into the darkness.

I now have the choice to grive over my losses or look for light in other places. Sometimes, it feels better in the dark: alone, quiet, numbing. But life is never going to be easy. Nor is the love that we need easy to find. But it is always worth the effort.

It’s time now to find faith in new places.

Dirty Laundry

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Getting over someone is harder than it looks– kinda like doing laundry. What at first seems like just an overflowing pile of clothes, comes the responsibility of organizing each article into separate smaller piles of darks and lights, taking a couple trips to and from the washing machine/dryer, and hunting for hidden quarters around the apartment. Maybe the worst part of doing laundry though is that it stays with us for hours. Depending on how many loads we have, doing laundry can take up a chunk of your time. Sure, you can do work while the machines are running, but every 30 minutes to an hour you have to stop what you’re doing to move things around. When you’re doing laundry, it doesn’t really leave you until the clothes are folded up and ready to go for another week or two. 

Like laundry, getting over someone seems simple at first, right? All you have to do is give the person space, accept that you can “just be friends”, talk it out, smile and be grateful for the great times you used to share, right? Well, maybe it’s a little more challenging than that. Maybe it doesn’t have to be, but when you’re in love, not everything is the way it should be, and things don’t always make sense. 

You see, like doing a load of laundry, getting over someone usually entails a sort of taking stock of all the things that used to be. We take these articles, the pieces of memories and experiences and we separate them into different piles: the dark, the light, the colors; they all come back to us. And we’re responsible for dealing with them one at a time. 

Since my breakup was pretty recent, as I dug through the heap of clothes in my closet and organized everything into darks and lights, I came across clothes that were last worn when my boyfriend was last over. When we were still together. It sounds trivial but I almost convinced myself that these clothes didn’t need to be washed. They still smelled fine. I could smell little traces of him and his aftershave. Part of me didn’t want to wash that shirt or that cardigan or those sweatpants. Not yet. 

I did, but it wasn’t easy. I saw some of the clothes he lent me too, some that he gave to me on a whim because he was feeling generous. Even my dirty laundry had memories of him;  memories begging to be recognized and revisited. How annoying. I’m one of those people now. 

But there’s something else that I learned tonight. If there’s anything to take away from this extended metaphor it’s that like laundry, cleaning out the dirty laundry takes time. It’s like…I’m doing fine, I can do work and move around and I can function fine without him, but then every so often I have to stop and move things around again. It never really leaves me. I’m still making piles, still digging in the cracks of my heart for some little quarter of hope, still running up and down, still trying to clean up.

And it’s going to take some time. 

Friends in Ruff Places

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 Friends come in many shapes and forms. Some friendships are simple and make sense, while others are complex and difficult to navigate. Some friends are easier to talk to than others, and in some friendships, talking becomes less important than actually sharing an experience, or a fit of laughter, or a bedroom. But most friends we keep because we learn from them. Most friends keep us rooted in something while we blossom and grow, becoming who we’re meant to be. 

When I was going through my first official breakup last week, I knew that my best friend Sophie (a 2 year old golden-doodle puppy) was what I needed more than anything. Sophie doesn’t say much but she’s a good friend. She doesn’t need me to talk, she simply understands. When I’m sick she cuddles with me, when I’m mad she leaves me alone, when I’m sad she tries to get me to play ball with her, when I’m happy she’s happy too. She epitomized the unconditional love that I needed this last week. 

I never expect to learn much from our time together, but she always manages to teach me something new about myself when I visit home. This week she took a spontaneous break in the middle of our walk to sit in the shade and observe the world. She wasn’t waiting for anything- she was just still and she looked happy (as she usually does). I sat with her and we enjoyed a quiet moment in the park together for a brief moment picking at yellow flowers in the grass and watching cars zoom by, before getting up and walking home. Immediately my problems felt smaller and I was grateful to be a moving passenger on this earth. 

My friends taught me a lot of things this week. So many of them reached out to support me in my time of need. All I can do is be grateful, feel their love, and reciprocate the best that I can. How does that song go? “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” And so it is written. 

Friendship does indeed take many forms, and it approaches us in different ways than we expect. I was blessed to have a very mature conversation with my new ex-boyfriend tonight about the development of our relationship away from our relationship. That is, we were able to discuss and identify the qualities from our romantic relationship we hope to carry over into our newly platonic one, and which qualities we’ll be leaving behind. What a blessing and a privilege to transition gracefully into these new roles. 

I’ve come to learn this week that friendship is indeed what you make it. There will always be love for you if you need it. All you have to do is ask for it, define it, and nourish it.