Move-in day. Jittery and nervous beyond all belief. But I choke it down and pretend like I’m fine. A first day of fresh independence. I need to put my money where my mouth is. But when it all comes down to it, I am scared and afraid of being alone. What if I forgot something? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I hate it here? These immature little questions that reek of inexperience and naïveté. The teenage worst fear that this moment will be forever and I will be unable to change it and I will just have to suffer through it. Because a lot of childhood/teenage years are like that.
My heart is pounding, palms are sweating. I’m introducing myself and being introduced. Getting the last things in my room, arranging things just so. Parents leave. I am left with my roommates and we smile and laugh and talk with each other. We’re trying really hard to be chipper and get to know each other. The threshold of social conventions. Our togetherness lasts for a few months, but start to fizzle out when I grow apart. I remove myself. I’m the stoned artist, insecure, and studious.
I know what that campus feels like in the densest of heat and the coldest winters. Numbness from mountain wind, instant sweat on summer days. It’s all vague watercolor now. Dotted on a timeline of landmarks of specifics, that are probably triggered by memories I have boxed and stored by now. Playing the piano very late at night, where no one is awake but the building was open. Wandering around the forest, avoid Public Safety. And of course, hanging out with friends and finding camaraderie. But my anxiety was so bad then.
Over-accomplishing so much in four years, coming in the top of everything, and yet could not find a job. But maybe depression is just a slingshot. I think as teenagers we sometimes made things harder for ourselves with our realizing. Always so obsessed with unspoken social codes and conventions we thought we needed to follow. And maybe that’s just how we all were. And the real lessons lie in growing older and realizing we don’t have to act like that anymore. Because Life is precious and we are worth s