The Deception of Charm—and What to Make of Prince Charming

I’m not writing to throw sticks and stones or to sulk about how love can be a broken hallelujah. And I’m not even writing in hopes that you’ll pay attention to the neon “Caution” signs we tend to blatantly ignore, strung out along the highway of what we call life.

Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out if I’m a feminist or not, and what sort of advice is good medicine versus the kind of advice that just sticks a Band-Aid on something that needs stitching.

I’m writing because I think we live in a face-value world that overlooks deep, freshwater wells and forgets what icebergs look like underneath—and I think we can look at life, and live it, in a different way.

There are every-day examples upon examples to offer in support of this, and you know what they are. I don’t need to tell you.  You know the surface orientated world we live in and the language we speak. You hear it every day.

You hear it when we say things such as, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” When you hear this, you know we’re not talking about the importance of knowing an individual. We’re talking about acquaintances that could potentially pass on some fluffy statements about us to help get us from point A to point B. Here, the journey of life and the individual in context are overlooked in exchange for a quick outcome.

We’re constantly in search of the outcomes—whatever the means it calls for, and I think we lose our individual substance this way. I think we lose a lot of it.

What looks pretty, successful and shiny can lure us into forgetting what matters, and often times, when we finally get there, that iceberg we’ve hit is a whole lot larger and life threatening than we thought.

In the short-span of life that I’ve lived, the people, theologies, institutions, programs, methods and situations that have often appeared the most promising to the majority—charming, in fact—have oddly proven to lack a lot of substance, character, truth, genuineness, sustainability and well, promise.

It’s a sad story our society is writing, and sometimes it seems to me that we’ll never be able to rewrite it.

Of course, the simple solution here is to just get out of it. Fall off the grid. Don’t trust anyone or anything. But then where does that lead us? Lying in bed all day underneath the covers with no hope for humanity?  Fearful of anything that involves living, breathing people?

This won’t do. This won’t do at all. But there are sincere, genuine (and hurt) people that will try to steer you in such a way. People who have gotten out of bed before to greet the day and everything that comes with it, only to be driven back beneath the covers with a fractured heart and a mind full of “good advice.” But that dark and dreary way is just how it sounds. Lifeless. Purposeful-less. Empty. And false.

In a way, choosing to lose hope and trust just presents you with yet another counterfeit way of “life.”  It’s a Band-Aid choice that never truly stops the bleeding that your heart was simply meant to do for the sake of love. (That glorious, heart-wrenching, maddening thing called love that for some tormenting reason we can’t live without.)

Simply put: Don’t set your hopes on the Prince Charmings, but don’t lose your hopes because of the Prince Charmings.

If you’re like me, you’ll have your bright days and your dark days with this. There will be days when you feel as if you have all your hopes, treasures and priorities set exactly as they should be, and days where you simultaneously feel as if you are not good enough and yet too much for surrounding people and this world in which we live.

Tricky is an understatement for describing how we discern what to desire and hope for.  I think this is where we watch, wait and listen. We take our time determining what we really want. We examine the fruits, we watch how the Prince Charming treats the commoners when no one is looking and we distinguish what’s being said from what’s actually happening.

And then we have faith.

We let go of the fleeting false hope in a façade and hold fast with all that is in us for what is true, what is good and what is lasting.

And once we’ve decided that this is what we will search for and long to know and what we will settle no less for, we will truly know it when we see it—and the Prince Charmings will cease to reign in our hearts.

I don’t think we’re meant to banish or bash the Prince Charmings of this life—the people, institutions, programs, etc. I just think we’re meant to find the strength of heart to desire something more.

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Joyfully Fearful

Today, I’m excited for the one thing I’m dreading the most, and I’m reveling in the strangest combination of joy and sadness.

The last first day of school for me means the last fresh start to a collegiate year of a life I’ve unknowingly and clumsily fallen in love with over the past three years. Despite the inevitable mundaneness of homework and studying that is to come, I’m feeling like I could pretty much do this the rest of my life.

Today I purposefully chose to sit and sip my Americano in the central, busiest coffee shop on campus instead of my favorite, out of the way, intimate coffee house— just so I can fully immerse myself in the happenings of this day.  I’m consistently interrupted by the familiar faces that pass through, but I don’t mind.  Feeling confidentially informed after leafing through three newspapers (student, local and the New York Times), I realize this is perhaps the one time this year I will have three solid, blissful hours of wide-open time to kill.  And then it hits me that this will be the fastest year I’ve ever lived, if only because I want it to be the slowest year I’ve ever lived.

I tell people all the time the only thing I’m really good at is being a college student, and I mean that with all my heart. I’m going to leave this place kicking and screaming—which really only means I will probably cry, which I’ve come to find is my personal, pitiful version of “kicking and screaming.”

However, for now, it’s back to two cups of coffee minimum per day, late night studying/procrastinating, class lectures and professors that will spark genuine thought in you long after you’ve physically been in the classroom (or is this just me?) and primary support from the dysfunctional family of friends that you’ve miraculously formed out of this campus’s sea of individuality.  And I’m going to do my best to embrace these very things, one day at a time.

These feelings are typical, I know. I wish they weren’t. I wish my experience was rare and completely justified and the big man upstairs would take pity on me, turn back time and give me another year or two. (Yes, I just used the phrase “the big man upstairs.” I’m just as confused as you as to why.)

Yet here I am, and here I’ll stay.

Here’s the thing though: the beginning of the end is still the middle. We all know the middle is what counts, and this is how I’m coaching myself through this.  Although I know the end is nearing and I’m dreading it with every fiber of my being, I know better than to waste the rest of the middle with worrying about the end. If I worry my way through the middle, than I’ll have regrets—and I’m aiming for no regrets here.

It’s true when they tell you that you should make the most of every opportunity in college. But what they usually don’t tell you is to choose your opportunities wisely. The truth of the matter is that there are opportunities that can leave you confused, damaged or regretful. But there are just as many that will stretch you, inspire you and catapult you for something more. Those are the ones you need to look out for. Choose thoughtfully.

This academic year, I welcome with fear and excitement, tears and dancing. (Quite literally actually. Just ask my roommates what I was doing last night at approximately 11:00 p.m.) In an attempt to abandon my anti-hype tendencies, I’ll be the one talking about her senior year of college like it’s her first-born.  You might question my emotional stability and get sick of my stories, but I doubt it will be enough to stifle or tone down my affection for these years.  At this point in my life, it’s both the least and most I could do.

Here’s to dancing through the fear.

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What We Don’t Have to Prove

The human race truly fascinates me.

If you look close enough, you’ll see that we all essentially want the same things.  We all hope for the same things. We all strive for the same things.  Success, love, approval, admiration, acceptance—whatever you want to call it, it all comes down to this: We want to be appreciated for who we are, even if that means cultivating the exact opposite and completely disregarding who we really are.

It’s really not too much to ask for, to be appreciated for who we really are, aside from the reality that not everyone is going to appreciate who you are or who I am.  (That’s not a bitter statement; it’s just how it is.)

Life gets to us. People don’t really see us. People hurt us. People leave us. People who genuinely try to love us misuse us. And it’s here that we start thinking maybe we aren’t worth loving. We think, that perhaps we were wrong in thinking that everyone should just be appreciated for who they are.  We feel foolish for just wanting to be ourselves. It starts to feel as if something is wrong with us.

Our circumstances, afflictions and reoccurring patterns begin to send the message that who we are isn’t good enough. Our demons deem that we aren’t acceptable, and our hearts grow heavy with the weight of all the things that construct our cages—rejection, abuse, abandonment etc.

And so begins the great race for appreciation: in the eyes of the desperate girl who clings to her abusive boyfriend, in the countless dollars earned by the overworked businessman, and in the endless search for the perfect car, or outfit, or—you get the picture.  It simply manifests differently in the lives of everyone. Often, it requires wearing some sort of mask (the kind that keeps slipping from our face that we have to continually adjust.) We’ll find someone to imitate. We’ll find some sort of decoy. We’ll find something to reflect other than the face that actually appears when we dare to look into that framed, frightful glass fixture hanging from the wall.

It’s exhausting really, trying to prove that we’re worth the genuine appreciation that comes with loving someone.  We work to prove this to “friends”, parents, significant others…anyone’s attention we can get and keep. Furthermore, the prime person we try to prove this to is ourselves. It’s a weighty task, convincing yourself you’re worth something.

But what if we just didn’t?

There’s a beautiful line in a Sara Bareilles song that says, “What if I don’t want to be like you, just because I was made to be exactly like me?”

These are beautifully, freeing words to me.  It reminds me of my favorite scene in the third Chronicles of Narnia movie, when Gael tells Lucy that she wants to grow up and be just like Lucy, but Lucy responds with; “When you grow up, you should be just like you.” (I think my heart literally danced out of my chest the first time I saw that scene.)

What if we all just got that? Would we really be so concerned with success and fame? Would we still compare ourselves to other people? Would we really care all that much about finding a significant other? Would we actually just be ok with who we are for once in our lives?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self development, character growth and everything that comes with such expansive processes, but sometimes stepping back to recall our roots, to remember the core of who we are and what we’re made of, is exactly what we need. It can give us wings.

The other day I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine. I was grumbling about having been single for a number of years (probably completely uncalled for considering my age, but I often really do feel as if my heart and soul have leapt years ahead of me,) and I was asking her to convince me that I was going to be completely fine if I never found anyone. I wanted her reassurance, and she gave me the opposite. “You’re going to find someone,” she said. “You’d almost be wasted if you didn’t. You’re too…you. Like, distinct.” I laughed this off in the conversation as if it didn’t hold meaning, but then I got to thinking.

There are over 7 billion people in the world, and yet, there are no duplicates. None. There is only one you. There is only one me.  People can look like you, act like you, but they cannot be you because they aren’t you. You are you. Period.

Illustratively, the concepts of fingerprints and DNA, mere physical aspects, astound me. And the endless amount of personality combinations that exist, the soulful aspect of human being distinctions, is nearly beyond my comprehension.  (Seriously, the minute I start to really think about it I’m kind of a wreck.)

I don’t know if I believe in the whole “soul mate” concept (people choose wrong people every day, and when people are willing there’s a way to make nearly anything work), but I do believe that people are uniquely made in such a way that they can naturally bring out the best (or worst) in others.

So think for a moment. If people are so uniquely made, and there are so many of us (this number growing at a fairly rapid rate), then chances are you are exactly what someone (or more) is looking for.

Anything that is the only one of its kind is unquestionably irreplaceable, and that is how you need to calculate your self worth. If you are here, what’s beating in your chest is worth unconditional, fearless appreciation. If you are alive and breathing, you are worth loving.

And sure, maybe you won’t find someone, but I think we can all agree that it happens more often than not. Either way, there’s no reason to compromise, hide or facade what you really are in the meantime. Indulge in your self-development. As long as you’re here, you’re an endless piece of artwork that won’t look exactly like anything or anyone, no matter how hard you try.  So run with it.

If loneliness should creep in, fuel your heart with what sustains its life. For me, this could mean connecting to the Creator of my Heart (who understands it far better than I ever could), listening to certain songs that incite hope or re-reading the promises whispered to my heart that I was instructed to put in writing for my own human sake.

You could do these things too, or you could simply look at your fingertips for a heartfelt reminder.

Whatever you do, hold fast to you. You’re the only shot we all have at having you here.

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Sifting Through the Diamond Mine of Pain

It’s been awhile since I’ve let myself really ponder the depths of life, and it’s taken quite a trial to bring me here.

After five long years of battling cancer, my beloved grandma left this earth a few days ago. In addition to my grief, I’m dealing with the anger of not seeing her healed in this life, as she and my family prayed so desperately for.

Growing up, I was somewhat of a grandma’s girl.  I lived next door to her until I was 18, so I stayed over at her house countless nights and she spoiled me just like any grandma does.  Our relationship began in a very vulnerable place for me though. Right after I unexpectedly lost my daddy in a car accident when I was four years old and my little world had shattered, her home and her love served as such a safe haven to me. I’ll never be able to describe what she (and other members of my family) was for me at that time.

Even though I’m not exactly a stranger to seemingly unfair deaths of close family members, I still wrestle with the same questions. The heart breaks just as deeply as before. The pain and the injustice you feel can never get old. It’s something you have to sift through, throughout the years. You have to ultimately be ok with not knowing all the answers.

I’ve come to find that one key explanation for why bad things happen is simply the fact that there is opposition. There are free wills within people that often clash with God’s heart for humanity, and there are evil spirits who are capable of influencing people in this tangible realm. There are choices people make. God didn’t create us to be robots. (C.S. Lewis beautifully describes this concept of choice, free will and real love. Essentially, God—wanting to experience true love with us—allows us to choose Him or whatever else we wish, because love without choice [i.e., forced love] is not love at all.)

But what I have trouble grasping is why bad things happen that seem completely out of reach of human will.  And this is where I have to stop thinking and analyzing and simply remember what I do know: We don’t always know why something happens or what’s working behind the scenes, but we can recognize the fact that things do happen behind the scenes (that is, in realms we might be incapable of physically seeing.)  There’s a reason that everything happens. (I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. That kind of logic explains nothing to anyone. This life operates on cause and effect.)  And we’re capable of recognizing this, even if we aren’t capable of identifying the reason. Attempting to identify the reasons ‘why’ can lead us to dangerous conclusions or leave us an exhausted, fearful mess.

While my grandma’s last days were some of the most difficult, emotional days I’ve experienced, they were also probably the most beautiful two days I think I may have lived thus far in my life.

To fully explain the beauty I saw in those two days, I must remind you of the most profound truth regarding humanity and this life:

We’re a broken people.

We’ve been hurt. Disappointed. Abandoned. Neglected. Rejected. Abused.

This list never ends. But the pain can. And beauty can surface. It’s like mining for diamonds—something so pure, unique and stunning that we couldn’t unearth any other way.

I witnessed God extracting a diamond before my very eyes in the words, tears and hugs of my family when we all needed it most. For a family who only sees each other three times a year for holidays, we loved each other well in our darkest hours.  My grandma, the heart of our family, pulled us together in a way I can’t really describe. Despite the common, life-long family dysfunctions, emotional baggage and unspoken hurts of the past, I watched my family selflessly pull together to make my grandma—and each other—as comfortable and comforted as possible. My heart was overwhelmed. I’d never felt so much love in one tiny house before. It will stay with me forever.

My heart has been heavy with gratitude that I was able to be with my grandma in her last days, despite the painful circumstances. Throughout this experience, I’ve decided that braving the trenches of pain, suffering and grief is worth it.  I’ve decided that it’s just the kind of person I’m going to be. I think I have to.

While I firmly believe we should embrace pain and grief, I know it’s never God’s heart for us to stay there, of course.  It’s His heart to take us through the pain and show us how to find what’s really beautiful and true—to find true love and life, to know what life really is and to know what makes a heart pure and alive. We don’t find this in the blue skies and sunrays. We find it in the valleys and in the darkest of nights. We find it in the diamond mines.

Sure, this is where we’re made stronger. But I think it’s more than that. (What would a God—who desires us to make the conscious choice to love Him—want with mere muscles and a steel chest void of a heart?)  It’s where we deepen. It’s where we’re shaped. It’s where we become.

Understand that recognizing all of this and trying to live it out daily is not a walk in the park for me.  It’s easier for me to believe that God isn’t there and doesn’t hear my cries. Much easier. But, it’s when I dare to believe that He’s holding my heart through it all that I finally feel like I don’t have to be so strong. I don’t feel like I have to have it all together when I let myself believe He’s holding me together. Call me weak, but it’s the one place where I feel as solid and secure as I ever have and ever will—and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.

And I think this is where we win and evil loses its power—where we stare darkness and death in the face and tell it that we’re still going to love, believe and live, no matter what.  That’s where my grandma found herself with her unanswered prayers for healing. And that’s where you’ll find me right now.

The darkness is there. It’s undeniably there.  And it will often seem like it’s prevailing. The pain is inevitable. But it’s when we’re willing to dig a little deeper where we realize that the seemingly never-ending dark tunnel is really just a diamond mine we’re meant to search out.

Maybe I’m a little naïve to believe there’s always a precious stone to be found in the depths of pain, but I don’t think I am.  We just have to choose to mine for the diamond. I refuse to believe that there will always just be brokenness when it’s all said and done.  From watching my family pull together to witnessing my grandpa kiss my grandma’s bald head, dry her tears and and say “I didn’t marry you for your hair” (amongst other life experiences)—I’ve simply seen too much beauty come from brokenness to let my heart wither in such a lie.

One day, after I’ve gathered all the precious stones that I let myself dig for in this life, He’ll make something really beautiful out of it.  And that’s what I can’t wait to see. It could be a one-of-a-kind crown or a castle that glimmers by a sea.  All I really know is that He’ll intricately craft it for me—my favorite kind of gift.

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Being the Change We Wish to See

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it really takes to achieve the profound words of Mahatma Gandhi that many people are familiar with. (Perhaps this is because the words are painted around the door frame outside of my dorm room, thanks to a former RA’s programming endeavors. They serve as a constant reminder of why I even decided I would be an RA at one of the top party schools in America. I really am grateful that the words are there, especially on the bad days when I question nearly everything I’ve ever decided to do.)

At first thought, the task seems pretty daunting. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I’m fairly certain that just about anyone would agree that this isn’t exactly light life advice. I mean, it’s calling us to become what we think should be, and that can be more than difficult when we look at what is.

But the more I think about it, the less challenging I think it is. The words sound as if they require great sacrifice, and for some maybe they do. If someone wants to see African countries fed, that takes work. Time, money and energy are most certainly sacrificed. However, if you talk to those who give their life to such a cause, they usually aren’t going to complain to you about all they’ve had to give up. They’re usually going to talk to you about how they’re brainstorming other ways to give more of their life to the cause.  It’s really beautiful to see if you know what I’m talking about. Those kinds of people really delight in being the change they’re hoping for.

On a personal level, I’ve found that being the change I wish to see in college students and journalists really isn’t any harder than knowing the change I wish to see in college students and journalists.

As your typical ramen-for-dinner-again college kid, I want to see students stop drinking their stress away and being consumed by the pressures of academics and job searches. I really do. I want to see students feel good enough.  I want to see students search for real truth. And most importantly, I want to see students know who they are. In deciding that this is what I want to see in spite of what I do see, within my own life I’ve had to tell stress to “get behind me” and cling to Who I know is true in order to be this change. Sure it’s not always an easy mindset to maintain, but it’s not exactly a mountain to move either. It’s not a mountain to move simply because I really know this what I want to see. I know this is who I want to be.

As a student journalist, I’ve decided I don’t want to see people as simply a means to an end, or rather, a means to an assignment.  Interviews are essential for articles. I understand this. But they need to always be treated with a sense of reverence. I cringe every time I hear a fellow student or advisor say, “Just get what you need” or, “We really need a good quote from him/her.” I understand that people are sources, but they’re still people.  When you’re on deadline this can be easy to forget, but it shouldn’t be.

Last week I was working on a final assignment for a class with a deadline quickly approaching. As part of the assignment I set up an interview with a local, developmentally disabled children’s author. (It’s pretty incredible what this young man started.) Having limited experience with autistic children and young adults, I was pretty nervous for this interview. I was nervous because I know how keen individuals who are developmentally disabled are on discerning who people really are. (If you haven’t noticed, they’re very intelligent when it comes to sensing who’s good news and who’s bad news.) Specifically, I didn’t want this young man to sense that I was nervous about how this story was going to turn out, if I was going to make my deadline on time and if the interview would be helpful for the story or not.  (I also didn’t want him to sense that I was nervous to interview him.) I didn’t want him to feel like a means to an assignment.  I wanted him to know that I was genuinely interested in his accomplishments and who he is as a person, and that I was going to try my hardest to not let my deadline and specific questions get in the way of that.

After I met this individual and we settled down for the interview after some small talk, (something I’ve yet to become even remotely good at,) he immediately eased my concerns. Midsentence into his discussion about his favorite spot in the library, he reached out to touch my hand and said: “—Wait a minute. I’ve got to tell you something here. You are a very kind person. I can tell. What is that thing that they say? The eyes are the window to the….to the soul. Yes. That’s true. You are a beautiful person. I just know it. You’re whole persona is just lovely. Go ahead and ask me all your questions. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”

Needless to say, my heart melted. It made my week. Well, no, it made my year. I don’t think I’d even been with this young man for five minutes. He didn’t know me from the next person who passes by on the sidewalk, yet he spoke so beautifully into my life at such a precise time.

I only knew how I wanted to approach the interview. I didn’t even get the chance to really work at approaching the interview the way I wanted. And I found that if I just know how I want to approach a person as a journalist, then that’s probably how I’ll end up approaching him/her, and hopefully how he/she will perceive me.

Certainly, all journalists work hard to be genuine with people, at least to some degree. I’ve simply decided I’m going to work extra hard at this. And certainly there are other fellow college students who want to see the same things I want to see in the lives of other college students. (I have the friends to prove it. Without them I’d brave a lot of late-night study sessions alone and Friday nights with just my T.V. and whatever food I happen to order that night.)

I’ve just realized that if I know the change I want to see in the world around me, and I mean really know what I want to see change and why I want to see that change, then I’m going to end up being that change. And that really isn’t so hard. It’s practically natural, like the generous souls who constantly think of ways to continue their efforts to help the people they’ve devoted their lives to. You kind of start to genuinely delight in it.

It’s only when we start to waver about what we think should be that we’re in trouble. If we don’t know what change we want to see, or we’re unsure about how certain we are about wanting said change, then the task will prove more difficult.

So I think I’ll keep my head up with this one. It always feels good knowing I don’t have to make things any harder than what they have to be.

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Starting Something

Perhaps I’ve always been hesitant to blog because I subconsciously think blogs are egotistic.

And being the journalism student that I am, the previous sentence may have been on the brink of blasphemy in the eyes of the journalism industry.

Understand that I love opinion writing. I really do. I’m addicted to Thought Catalog and other blogs just as much as the next person. I’ve kept a personal journal since I could write. I’ve even considered writing a book or two based entirely on my personal views of, well, the world I guess.

Also understand that I’m not entirely hypocritical.

What I struggle with is the idea of actually publishing these writings, specifically in the simple form of a blog. It’s easy to fantasize about writing the next great American autobiography or philosophical work. But releasing your extensive personal thoughts on an ideally consistent basis over the web to readers that may or may not even come across your blog URL (and even if they do they probably won’t read more than the first two to three words on the page) is a bold move to make in my mind. There’s no way said thoughts are even halfway developed. Seriously. It takes time to know what’s really right and what’s wrong. And even then we can’t be too sure. What makes us think we’ve experienced enough? What makes us think that we have something that original to say? What makes us bother with blogging?

Truthfully, I don’t think we can help it. We really can’t. We’re too curious. We’re too eager to see what thoughts will resonate with whom. We want to know if we have something to say. In a way, our “confidence” in our perspective searches for some sort of validation. Think about it. If we weren’t seeking some kind of resonation, we’d be perfectly happy with keeping our perspectives to ourselves.  Wouldn’t we?

I’ve only recently really been in touch with this need to feel a sort of resonation with readers, fellow writers, anyone really. And I think it may be because I’m simply expanding my scope of writing.

I study journalism because I have a need to write and a need to find out. I can’t communicate any better way and I don’t really feel like I’m worth much unless I’m in the process of figuring something out. I can’t explain it, not even in writing. It’s just how I am. For me, journalism satisfies both of these needs. A journalist is constantly learning, and I love that.

Furthermore, journalists clarify. We don’t just discover and report the facts. We relay the information to people in terms that will make sense to the average reader. And the world needs this. Oh, do we need this. Distortion runs rampant today. You’ve noticed this, right?

So I most certainly see the need for journalism of this sort. I suppose I just struggle with seeing the need for the other sort—the sort based on those fragile and often underdeveloped things called thoughts.

Maybe I do think blogs are egotistic, but it doesn’t explain the sincere enlightenment I often get out of reading blogs. And it doesn’t explain my quiet admiration for the brave hearts that consistently update the virtual sphere on their thoughts—the fragile and often underdeveloped things that practically shape our lives for better or worse.

Perhaps I just don’t believe I have anything to say. Maybe I think my thoughts will drown in a sea of the same (but better articulated) thoughts already put out there. And maybe they will.

Even so, as extreme as these explanations for my once blogless (I’m already making up words) life are–­my pride and insecurities colliding at high speeds­­–I think I’ll just step out of the battle and let the explanations cancel each other out for now.

Maybe I’ll wish I’d never started a blog (consistent personal journaling doesn’t come easy for a college student.) Maybe I’ll hate myself for starting a blog (reading past journal entries can incite self-betrayal that I think only writers are familiar with.) Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll be ok with just figuring out life as it comes and sharing it with the virtual realm like everyone else.

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