As I contemplated leaving BYU after my 4 years there, I have thought about all of the good things that have happened, people I have met, and memories I have made. I also considered the hard times I experienced – how I got through them and would like to forget them. But I came to realize something: I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to leave, but it’s not because I have fallen in love with the place. It is because I fell in love. It is because I experienced heartbreak. Because I fell into depression, got diagnosed with a chronic illness, formed bonds and friendships that I will cherish forever, and because I will be leaving a different person behind and becoming the new one I am now.
In thinking about this transitional time of life, I had a conversation with a roommate about how endings are not always a bad thing. That conversation and the aforementioned thoughts about leaving BYU inspired this piece.
Endings can be beautiful. They can remind us of the good times, the bad times, and how; when woven together, it creates a beautiful tapestry of meaning.
When listening to a beautiful piece of music, we don’t want it to end – for fear that the feeling we have whilst listening will vanish at its close. But it doesn’t. The end simply reminds us of how beautiful it was. Makes us long to hear it once more. So often, not being able to satisfy that desire makes it all the more wonderful. The fact that it was only played once. That is beautiful. And that end lets us relish in the awe that it leaves us with. It lets us settle, and contemplate – the happy notes, the sad notes; the good notes, the bad notes – and piece it all together in our head, hearing the faint remnants of the beautiful melody that it created. And carrying that with us as we move on and past it.
Endings can be beautiful. They can remind us of the good times, the bad times, and how; when woven together, it created a beautiful tapestry of meaning.
Do you ever feel
like a stranger
in your own life?
Like you’re walking around
in a dream,
not really living,
not in reality?
Or like you were
in a future version of yourself –
without being prepared
by what came before?
Do you ever look in the mirror,
only to realize,
that who you are
is not who you were,
and no longer
who you want to be?
for my grandma
A distinct memory teases at my brain – trying on pairs of boots in grandma’s closet. Finally being able to fit her shoes. Being as tall as her – something that I felt marked being grown up. When I could be as tall as grammy, wear her shoes, I was grown up – a woman.
I was 12.
I loved the smell, the look, the feel of her boots. They made me feel tall, seem womanly. They made me feel important. As I packed them away in my suitcase, I felt a quiet power, a sense of accomplishment. I felt connected, and loved. I could walk in grammy’s shoes.
I was 5 feet tall.
Those boots no longer fit me, and my height has now surpassed my grandmother’s. But I still feel I can walk in grammy’s shoes. I can love and live like her. I can teach, and give like her. I can fight and endure like her. I can wear her kindness, and her smile. And
for my grandpa
If colors were emotions, here is what I see:
Cool, calm, engaging are the bright blue eyes.
Tranquillity and peacefulness is the white hair, the absence of color.
Warm, joyful, and sweet is the pink smile.
Cheerful, happy, and serene is the tan face.
Sunny, jovial, is the purple laugh.
Multicolored, multifaceted, is the rainbow personality.
A rainbow of colors felt. A rainbow seen.
For some reason, that is something that comes to mind when thinking about my father. Books – that’s another of course. Trips to our “secret spot” to have picnics. Conversations about politics, about life. Quick goodbyes before long trips. Comforting hugs when my emotions could no longer be bottled up and I broke down. Chocolate bars dipped in peanut butter and bags of Doritos. Watching Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek. Smelling breakfast on a Saturday morning. The proud look on his face after a concert, at graduation. The look of love he has for my mother. Sacrificing, working hard, never giving up. Loving, generous, happy, and funny. Selfless, kind, and compassionate.
A collage of words, of memories. That is what comes to mind when I think about my father. A feeling of peace, of love. That is what comes to mind.
That and plaid shirts.
A letter to my mother.
I know I’ve written you lots of texts, letters, cards, e-mails, and had many conversations with you. But this is a special one. This is one we’ve never actually had. One I’ve had in my head, but never shared. You do that right? You have conversations in your head? I know I do.
When one is younger, a child, do they really understand love? Without the same knowledge or experience as they will have when they grow older, only having the basics of recognizing and understanding emotions, do they really understand the depth of love? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean they can’t feel it. Can’t know what it is – what it feels like.
When I was younger, I knew I loved you. A young child who didn’t have much knowledge or experience yet in the world – knew that she loved you. I thought I knew what love was then. Now that I’m older . . . do I understand love any better? Well yes. Do I understand it as fully and completely as I know I one day will? Not yet. I am still learning. Learning from you.
I know I love you. I know it because I know the feeling that I had when I stepped into the car after a long day at school. I know it because I know how it felt when I came home to a kitchen with fresh-baked cookies on the table. I know it because on a bright, hot stage, singing into a dark abyss of faceless strangers, I knew one of those faces was yours. I know it because I know the feeling of being far from home, but feeling closer when I hear your voice. I know it because, when I see you, I am home. No matter where I am physically, I am home.
That’s what love is. Feeling at home. Yes, it is much more complex than that really. More complex than a young child, which I still am, can truly comprehend. Hard to understand, and ever more difficult to explain. But in a swift word; that is what love is.
I have lived a thousand lifetimes in my head.
Within the confines of my mind, I have lived in various different worlds and experienced many different things. I have married several different people, had children, taught school, started my own school, written books, become a politician, won awards, talked to people, argued with people. I have died many deaths, and lived many lives. A thousand lives.
I am no longer fit to have a brain overcast with these other lives. I need it to rain. To let at least a small part of these fictional worlds leak out to the real one. To share these lifetimes, these stories I tell myself. The stories no one else knows.
These stories may sometimes come as narratives. They may come as poems, as lyrics. Or they may come as letters, or conversations. But they will come. These stories, these lifetimes.
Let the rainstorm begin. . .