I know, I’m psychotic. Sometimes I seriously mess up: I drop mental spoons in the garbage disposal, I curse, and I could be more pleasant towards my brothers. And still, no matter how many prayers I miss, no matter how many nights I fall asleep without thanking you for one more day, no matter how many eye rolls towards my family members...you gave me coconut water. You gave me ten toes, ten fingers, and a beating heart. You gave me a flawless face, shiny hair, and an impeccable personality. You gave me a brain to reflect. A (little bit of a big) mouth to smile at strangers. Ears to hear your wisdom. Hands to distribute flowers to passerbyers, fingers to hold the door handle for three extra seconds to let the pregnant woman behind me at Whole Foods through. And still, I’m an idiot about it.
Make me happier: more carefree, more loving, more observant, more helpful. Through your guidance, let me realize that your opinion of me is the only one that wholly matters. That I shouldn’t worry about what everyone will think if I wear nail polish to the masjid because ITS PERMEABLE, I PROMISE, SO STOP JUDGING ME AUNTY.
Help me appreciate my parents more: Of course I love my parents. Maybe I don’t have the best way of showing it...and maybe I don’t as much as I should. Please help me figure out what exactly I can do to avoid them tsking almost every time I come downstairs in my UNICEF pajama shirt glory.
Help me know: Just help me realize my calling, my passion, what I’m here to do.
Promote overall positivity: I take it that I’m supposed to do good on earth. But exactly how?
Ripen the fruit of my labor: If I’ve worked hard, please reward me accordingly. Help me realize that the blood, sweat, coffee, and random nights my keyboard became my pillow was all worth it.
Appreciate nature: You’ve made a wonderful world. I wish I could see it more. I wish I could love it more.
I know you do everything you do for a reason. The thing is, I don’t do things for any reason. Sometimes I tell the barista “Oprah Teavana Chai, please” when I’m feeling a “Double Chocolate Chip.” Sometimes I shut people out for no apparent reason. Sometimes I laugh during moments I should cry, and other times I pronounce “salmon” as “SAHL-MOHN”. I know I got a lob...but I really need you to forgive me. The good part of this all is, you always do. You loved me at my darkest, and I will love you forever.
DISCLAIMER: I WROTE THIS YESTERDAY BUT AM PUBLISHING TODAY OKAY? OKAY.
I checked my watch for the tenth time.
And so my eyes roamed the empty campus patio for a familiar face, a sign of life. A mosquito bit me then; I guess I asked for it.
There was breezy air surrounding me, billowing through the large oak trees.There were cars zooming past me. I wondered if all of them had destinations.
Occasionally a stranger would walk by me, avoiding eye contact. Sometimes they smiled at me, other times they looked down at their phone screens. It seemed to me that they mastered the art of walking blind.
I slid my headphones on and laid on a bench, and I sighed heavy. Not because I was confused or perplexed, but because I was satisfied. Because, regardless of my pesky back problem, I slept on the floor last night, and without my retainer on. Because I cried for the first time in a long while last night, and it actually felt good. Because yesterday night, I laughed so hard I clenched my tummy and then fell into a laundry basket. Yesterday night I was encircled by the people I love.
Yesterday night I was alive, and I’d do anything for it to be yesterday night again.
There is life outside of our comfort zones and routines. There is joy in not having pumpkin flax seeds and coffee for breakfast every single day. Sometimes you can have sugary cereals, other times you can skip breakfast altogether.
There is life in not sitting with the same people at lunch over and over again; sometimes you should sit next to the weird girl and politely inform her when she has lettuce in her braces. Instead of sitting with those four people you have nothing in common with, find a group of perky freshman. Offer them fruits of wisdom, and watch them blossom. There is so much more to you than you think: if someone has changed your life, you too can change another’s. Latch on to the pendulum and swing it in your favor. Once you’ve taken a few joyrides, roll your head back and close your eyes and think “Damn, I’d do that over again forever.”
There is life in complimenting a stranger’s skirt at H&M, offering half of your Kit Kat to your tablemate, and pretending to laugh at a joke that wasn’t funny...for feeling’s sake. You aren’t going to pass out if you say something nice or hold the door open for someone, and the world will not be over if they forget to mumble an incoherent “Thanks” in response. You did what you could, and you did the better thing. Whether or not they acknowledge it is their own account. Maybe their pet dolphin’s aunt’s sister’s son’s cat’s grandmother’s toothbrush was thrown away that day. Maybe they lost a pen pal. Maybe their lover forgot to text back. Maybe they’re just a big fat meanie head. Either way, buy yourself a lollipop because...you're not so bad after all.
I’m not sitting on the bench anymore. I’m sitting up, typing, and occasionally glancing around for a kidnapper or person to smile at.
And still, a little bit of me is praying that tonight will be a lot like yesterday night.
It was a normal tuesday. Although there was no legitimate going above and beyond of the club, I had Chipotle for lunch, finished my finals for the year, took a good selfie, and was lodging in the ACC Student Life center responding to an email from my pen pal (yes, I have a pen pal. I’m quite lame...I thought you figured out by now). So, besides my SAT in a couple of days, things were looking dandy.
I look around for a second and observe the strangers around me. Everyone’s sitting at their own lunch table: eyes scanning a magazine or tablet, fingers running thru the keyboard with their woes, mouths noisily chewing processed foods. I wonder how much time they, you, and I have spent absorbed in this state of mind we deem “productive work.”I often wonder how much time more.
I imagine my years in college will go the same way, eyes glued to a textbook written by a professor whose last name I can’t pronounce, legs rhythmically shaking to convince myself I’m concentrating, a Starbucks doubleshot in hand. I wonder how many times I’ve been surrounded by these same strangers...it’s odd to think I could be accompanied by the same ones every night and never notice.
The worst part is that I have to accept that this will be my life for many years to come. That the minutes my physical body spends crouched over a laptop, the minutes my brain scatters from essays to labs to theses, the minutes I neglect my mother’s pleas to spend some time together...these are the determinants of success in today’s world. I do not criticize this, I ponder it. I do not scorn this, I accept it. I do not pass you, I challenge you.
Next time you’re in a library, cafe, park, or bus put your device down and breath for a minute. When you chew, chew fully, and really taste your food...every speck of pepper, every weird lump your brother convinces you is chicken. When you work, really, really work. Give it your 110%, and don’t take Facebook breaks. We spend too much time trying to multitask and not enough living in the moment.
And time to time, look around a bit and perhaps you may see as I see.