Note: I wrote this back on MAY 25, 2011, fresh after my final high school graduation. Due to its significance and notion of onward movement for me, I felt it important to re-post it here and share with you all.
* via rachelannc.tumblr.com/post/5860287718
So, this is the end…
No more sleepless nights, no more back-to-back events, no more rules drilled down my neck, no more busy work, no more forgotten locker combinations, comforting faces, “cherished halls”, prayer services, lit-up hallways, and no more Carondelet.
Let us remember…
It’s taken me a while for things to sink in. Like all things at Carondelet, I’ve been getting pushed into doing things and attending things, dressing certain ways and wearing certain things, and, for one last time, leaving without closure. I guess closure only comes when you yourself have accepted closure, but I can’t help but feel things are left unfinished. I know I’ve already said it: “Our work here is done and over,” but graduation only makes me feel, in a way, rushed out of here. This past year, I’ve felt times where I was at my lowest to times at my bravest, feeling as if I were on top of the world. Those times were short-lived, just how “every single moment only lasts once.” With that thought at the back of my mind, I’ve only lived each moment to its fullest. I’ve embraced each tear, each laugh, each choking cry to every blissful memory. I’ve hurt people, I’ve comforted the lonely, I’ve disappointed friends, and I’ve made those dearest to me proud. I’ve lived and I’ve loved, and I’ve died and I’ve cried. “Life is change. Growth is optional.” And, when looking upon that shy little down-turned girl with her hair covering her face and voice cracking when asked to speak up 4 years ago, I can’t help but be immensely grateful for what this community has offered, and given me.
There have been countless times where I’ve felt lost and confused, lonely and depressed. The feeling that something was missing was only because I was missing. I’ve lost my soul and hurt my heart, escaped only in hopes that someone will come find me. I ran away to make me feel better about myself and have an excuse to not get hurt. The smallest things made me happy, the littlest jokes made me cry of laughter, and the short conversations made me feel as if I belonged. Connection is what I thrived on and when I felt I had no friends, I held onto that hope that things will turn around. I befriended my music and writing, but those intangible connections only sufficed half of my heart. I yearned for more, but little did I know it was only right in front of me.
I remember sitting quietly on that couch in a room full of 9 other lovely women, each battling with a battle of her own–disappointment, loss, depression, failure, overcoming work, fear… “I feel like there’s something I have to say… I just don’t know what it is.” It’s hard to pick your way through your own story when nothing visibly tangible has really hit you, huh? Reaching out only for air, when everything you are is only inside of you. Stop looking out and start reaching within. “Beauty within,” right? Even at our ugliest of times, that’s when we rise to become our most beautiful of selves. The fight, the pain, the heart, the emotion, the humanity that breeds within you… It’s beautiful because it’s life. and Life goes hand-in-hand with love. and we all know that Love itself is Beautiful. “Beauty within.”
Just like how it takes me a while to finally sink into things, it takes me a while to fully open myself up to someone. It’s not that I’m afraid or scared, uncomfortable or insecure… The familial feeling just needs to grow and be there. And, like all things, it takes time.
Looking back on all these photos and videos I’ve taken with people of all sorts–from those I’ve gone to school with for 13 years, those I’ve lost touch with and regained, those new-found ones or brief relationships to ones I’ve had the immense pleasure of truly getting to know and becoming friends with–I can’t help but feel so… Thankful. Appreciative. Glad. Sorry. Sad… The look on my face. Full of vibrant energy and intensely, yet purely, happy joy. The smiles, the complacency, the happiness and joy that springs from my heart from being with these people… The memories I’ve made with these people, and the sides of me I’ve shared with them… I’ve been seen through (almost) all different angles with (almost) nothing left to hide, I feel… I’ve laid my heart on the line, wore my heart on my sleeve, flashed my big giddy teeth at whomever did make me smile, and carried my hands through all different walks of lives to comfort those who needed it. I was a living and breathing message–no words need be said or actions need be done. I was just Me. And there came my glow. My “light” from within me to keep my “soul burning”, just as a funny motherly Spiritual Journey teacher would say…
There’s really no other place that can become the equivalence to my time here. Everything’s changing, everyone’s moving, and memories can never be repeated. In the midst and vicinity of this environment, something truly magical has happened. And, I’m not only speaking on behalf of myself, but, I’m sure, on behalf of hundreds of other girls who have walked through these hallways. The ability to finally create a Home for yourself in a place where you’ve gone through days on days feeling as if you didn’t belong, as if you were invisible or just another mindless body filling that seat or girl frowned upon… To finally make your mark and message across to people, and to finally have the confidence to speak up, say Hello, and shine your joyous smile on faces unknown… You were no longer a lifeless soul walking through the hallways, but someone who served as a reminder of the emotional and joyous times you’ve shared with these people you pass by. As you hide away in your little coop again–like old times–the challenge is to live on without that special little reminder breeding through your life’s hallways. It’s easy to Love when you see the one’s you’ve come to Love. But when Home is stripped away from you, and the faces you’ve become acquainted with are no longer around–the teachers you’ve finally gained without the “Mr” and “Mrs” titles, the classmates you’ve shared souls with, and the ones you’ve touched indirectly–you have to learn to live on without the training wheels set in your path. Your sheltered community is no longer in your hold. The world is a big and scary place, but it’s time to spread the work you’ve done here, elsewhere. Expansion, Travelling, and Inspiring. “It’s time to explore, what the inside of your heart looks like.”
Only for love. “Love will slide your backbone into place.” Only for love. Love can travel through all boundaries and is found universally. Like closure, once you accept it, then will you finally feel it.
So, this is the end. Flashbacks to nights in those two-bedroom dorms at a comforting yet disturbing hour, to days under the sun on the bright green- and love-filled grass, to mornings sitting on hallway floors and nights dancing away under the technicolor lights and prayers in the close and personal classrooms… The laughs that made you cry when a fly flew into your eye as you ran to hug and congratulate a friend or a pregnant woman being comforted by a clown to make her pain less painful, to even sitting on top a bed as the fan’s gusty winds blew through your hair as the music you created filled the room… Flashbacks and memories like these will constantly haunt you. These times can never be lived or repeated the same, or ever re-enacted, because your station, and the station of all others’ lives, have moved. Changed. The mental state that you are where you were is gone. Everything from now on will be different. Things will be looked at and sought from a different light. Situations and events will happen differently. People will never be all at the same place at the same time ever again. You’ve bid Good Riddance and had your last final Hurrah. Things will suddenly become dreadfully slow, and the friendships you wished you had made even stronger, are going to become more difficult. or, even worse, never happen. You’ve accepted all that’s happened and appreciated every last moment. “Yesterday is History. Today is a Gift. Tomorrow is Mystery.” Tomorrowland definitely is looking mysterious, for you have no clear vision of what it is, or will be. “Fear of the unknown,” yeah?
Only for love. Love will take you places. It will bring you back Home, and, at the same time, bring you new opportunities rising on your doorstep. But, yet again–once you accept it. Then will you finally feel it.
Have a good look at the vibrant and glowing faces you’ve made. You’ve never felt more high off of life. Cherish it. Love is breeding through your lips and hiding under your eyelids. The creases of your smile and marks around your eyes are indented with the dust from those you’ve touched. The fatigue to the fresh spring awakenings. The sleepless nights to the flesh-filled warmth from an embrace. This was only your Cocoon. It’s only time to break free now. Who knows what you’ll see, find, experience, breathe, live… Only for love.
So, this is the end…