[There’s no hidden meaning to this picture. They’re just goats. Running through the streets. Enjoy.]
Can I be honest? I really hate writing these. I hate imagining every single one of you passively scanning the words that I sat and broke literary bread with for days, agonizing over whether their connotations are accurate portrayals of my experience. They’re not. They never will be.
I hate the tweaking and modifying and snipping and pruning as I remind myself of the depths of the Internet and its perpetual accessibility.
I squirm at the thought of others perusing my recklessly sculpted prose the way I sifted through those who went before me, searching for collected artifacts of wisdom.
I hate trying to say everything and being left with nothing. With a buffet of the breadcrumbs of my frenzied mind.
I hate the minimalism and insufficiency of an enlarged moment. I hate sharing myself in shattered fragments, of living, loving, and giving in percentages.
I hate the unintended insincerity of the questions “what was it like? How was it? How are you?” I hate that I lack whatever kinesthesia I wish I could download into everyone else’s consciousness.
I hate that you can skim my words. I hate that I disappear when you switch browser windows. I want to sit you down and make you care so deeply that it pulls at the recesses of our physical distance. I hate that an infinite number of uploaded pixels could never make your heart question it’s rhythm the way it did mine. I hate living in “Temporarily”, in a purgatory of a stepping stone to “back to normal”. I hate that my life is supposed to be changing and that I have to prove my growth to you for you to acknowledge it so that I can somehow validate Alexis Version 2.0. I hate the qualifications and comparisons and equations between our lives, that I imagine going through every single one of your minds: these planes are parallel lines that could never intersect, and they will remain so no matter the location or endeavor. I hate that this is dually vulnerability and censorship. I hate that the most visceral connections are perpetually torn down, a child’s delight in the crumbling and rebuilding and fluctuating of sandcastles.
Mostly, I hate that the moments I truly want to bottle up into an intoxicating essence are not the stories or sweeping grand metaphors or profound contemplations that you want to hear. Oh, well. I’m sharing them anyway:
Nights spent rapping the words of news articles over a random chord structure, making up nonsense songs for the sheer pleasure of hearing our voices ricochet off the walls.
Nights when I lose track of time swapping ideas and stories with my roommate, the quality of my Spanish comprehension and locution an inverse correlation with the hour.
Car rides that somehow never end in death (yet).
Lazy mornings that start with the unabashed potency of Vietnamese coffee and end in siestas.
The menacing invasion of personal space from overzealous kindergarteners.
Sitting under a tree in the rain, tossing rocks into a luscious lily pond, for the childlike joy of listening to their plops and splashes.
Feeling electrified with the technicolor world of Oz of loving with parts of you that you didn’t know existed.
And no, these tiny moments aren’t larger revelations masquerading as the everyday. Sometimes, life is mystical, and other times, a rock is a rock. Sometimes, it’s both and neither at the same time. That’s what I hate the most: the perpetual oxymoron of being alive and open — that you can’t read this and absorb this not-knowing-knowledge by osmosis. That the very act of me writing this is supposed to signify that I have learned something and therefore am entitled to share it, that I can’t meander tangentially through uncharted territory of ambiguity.
So, I’m doing it anyway. I know nothing other than what I have perceived, and even in that arena, I’m dubious.
That’s all; you can go back to whatever more pressing tasks you surely have to do, or believe you must, at least. If you wanted a heartwarming story about how meeting new people and dwelling in a juxtaposition of cultures has made me an enlightened, endlessly tolerant, wise, and overall more productive or interesting human being, you’ll have to look elsewhere. But don’t worry – those stories are as copious in quantity as they are in overblown grandiosity and trite superficiality. For now, I’m just being. And being okay with just being. And for just right now, that’s enough.
This blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Alexis Dumain.