Saturday, January 25, 2014

Goals and Gummy Worms

Life before College:
Idea: I want to write an essay about gummy worms.

Result: I write a heartfelt, passionate essay about gummy worms and share it with everyone I know, letting them know how much effort I've put into it and how much it means to me.

Life during and shortly after College:
Idea: I want to write an essay about gummy worms.

Result:  I can't write about gummy worms! I have practically zero experience with gummy worms compared to everyone around me, I only like red and orange gummy worms so I can't write from a perspective that covers everything, I eat lots of other candy besides gummy worms so maybe that makes me a hypocrite. I can't even list all the ingredients in gummy worms off the top of my head! If I want to do this, I'm gonna have to do so much more work - hours of research on everything there is to know about gummy worms, trying every brand and flavor of gummy worms out there, forcing myself to eat gummy worms that I don't even like because I need the experience, and giving up all other types of candy that are in direct competition with gummy worms even if I like those other candies much better and don't want to give them up! FUCK THIS!!!! I used to be able to write whatever I wanted about whatever I wanted, but now I can't do anything I want to do and Colby ruined everything! Fuck Colby!!! I'm not even gonna write about gummy worms, I'm just gonna write lots of meta stuff about the fact that I can't write about gummy worms without mentioning a single word about why I care so much about gummy worms in the first place.

Life after College (2013 forward):
Idea: I want to write an essay about gummy worms.

Result: I'm going to do it. I won't do it as freely or lightheartedly as I did in the years before Colby. My brain is still full of unwanted pressures telling me that I have to do a lot more research and give up things I love that oppose what I'm doing before I can even begin to write my essay. I have a lot of fear of judgement for not doing this the right way. I have a voice inside me saying, "You aren't good enough to be a gummy worm writer!" "Good enough" in the writing sense, the knowledge and experience sense, and in the sense of how much of my life I'm willing to devote to this essay. There will be days when the internalized pressures will be immense and I'll wish I never started this essay. But I'm going to write my essay, regardless. I'm going to push through all that pressure. I wish I could do a brain-detox and unlearn everything I learned at Colby, but all I can do for now is push through. I'm going to share my gummy worm essay with my close friends who I know will appreciate it, and I'll tell them how important it is to me. I will have to make a conscious effort to do this, to not fall into the pattern of acting like the essay is no big deal as a defense mechanism so that no one can cut me down or slam me with "But there are bigger things than gummy worms!" when I say how important it is to me. But I will try my hardest to be honest and not hold back.

Everything is harder now, like trying to run while my shoes are weighed down. But I am running. I am actually running! My shoes aren't as heavy as they were a few years ago when I couldn't even take a step. And that's not my own doing - that comes from my friends being so supportive and reminding me that there are validators in the world.

Thank you for helping me run again.

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