Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

The girl I forgot to be

 First final exams, then fall break, and now a new term. So much happening, and I haven't written. But I have no real excuses, except that my mind has been pacing like a caged lioness, unsettled and searching in vain for a feeling that even she cannot define.

Tonight, after a too-short dance practice, I went for an aimless drive. It's been a while since my last escapade, and though I cannot get above the city here, like I can in the hills of California, it was easy enough to find darkness and sparsely-driven roads. Out there, I think that if I break down in the cold emptiness, I might have to stay there until morning, with the silent woods, startled deer and mottled sky as my only company.  I think I'm far away from it all, until I turn the corner and there's a Waffle House and a Sheetz, with their familiar neon signs and parking lots that still mill with people. And I wonder if they're lost, too. I find I'm disappointed when the road I turn down leads me back toward home, but I take it anyway. It's gotten late.

I often find that in moments of unease, I can take solace in my past writings. But when I read through my first-term posts, I feel some different person's voice reach out from the screen. Who is this? I wonder, bewildered and not a little bit startled. Where did this force of spirit and ease of energy sweep in from?

Then, through the haze of my un-selfness, I remember. When I wrote those words, I was trying to do it all. I had no sense of boundaries, of limitations or of priorities. I was exhausted, all the time. But I was also exhilarated, and ambitious. Now, I'm prioritizing. I'm letting things go because they're supposedly less important. Although I sleep more, am more alert in class, and more on top of my schoolwork, I've also somehow become less fiery and less emotive.

Turns out, I don't like this prioritized person very much. 

It's Fall Term 2 now. The workload seems easier, so far. Marketing builds on econ, Finance builds on accounting (kind of), Management communications builds on itself. We feel further along, we're also splitting away from cohesiveness, little fissures opening up between us like the cracks in desert clay long after the last rain. You're consulting, and you're Wall Street, and you're social entrepreneurship. We go our separate ways, once classes are over, and suddenly when we do meet, our conversations turn into the same five lines: Hi, how are you, how was your weekend, are you going to company presentation X today?

I look at myself and find I am wrapped too closely inward. Each day has ceased to be about getting to know each other, and begun to be the individual job search, and the individual grades, and activities. I find myself not taking the time with the wonderful people who I came to care about last term. I'm away from the library. I end my days feeling flattened.
That isn't good enough, Dean Sheppard would say to me. This school brought you here because you wanted to contribute and make a difference. And because we knew you would make your classmates interact in a different way.
I didn't come here to forget everything else for a job search, I came here because I loved the people and I knew I could be a better person when I left.

So, I tell myself, Center. Renew. Exhilarate. And for goodness sakes, pay attention every day. Anything less is not good enough. These are, after all, our days. And these days make our lives. And my life is one to be given.
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