Dear fellow Babblers,
To be back in the blogosphere. This is almost too much. I have forgotten how to come back to my keyboard so the fact that I’m here now writing even this much out is already too much. The thought of writing a post! But what fear that creates in me! Who will read? Did anyone even notice I was gone ? What’s changed amongst book reviewers lately ? What’s everyone been reading ? Are we still hung up on Adam Silvera or is there already someone new ? And writing to y’all ? What can, should, do I even do I give a life update that no one really even cares about? I mean, come on, I’m not Selena Gomez here. Well hey, I’m supposedly a book reviewer, right ? So why not write a book review ? Yeah, no. And why ? I really just cannot. There are too many thoughts, feelings, meaningless intentions pulsating in that dark and shallow corner in the back of my mind. I just cannot focus on critiquing any sort of thematics, language, or structure of the world spinning in another writer’s mind. So if this post is not a banal life update or a sophisticated book review, what is all this nonsense doing floating on your screen trying to get across ? Not even I, the thoughtless scribbler behind all of this can give a clear, to-the-professor’s-point response. All I know is I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed interacting with other bloggers. I’ve missed pouring my heart into my keyboard. Being away has brought me back. Fear has kept me away, but nostalgia has lead me back. What I have seen, done, thought in the past three months not writing, whether it be on this platform or another, is what has lead me to discover that writing is one of those hobbies, obsessions, outlets – call it what you will – that give me my spirit, soul – life…
…And so here, for this post is what I have seen, done, thought in the past three months of not writing:
I have left a fixed term job contract in France.
A bittersweet reminder of the fragility of time and the way in which it dictates our choices and in what direction our lives turn, be it in the path of freedom and fulfillment or destiny and decisiveness. Ask me one year ago where I saw my life. I would have envisioned a small cottage, surreal with grapevines wrapped around white paneled windows, giving shade from a blistering summer sun. A small little dwelling on the countryside, just a few kilometers outside of Aix-en-Provence where I could lead a life of peace and solitude, far from any possible danger or disturbance infectious from the outside world. A garden of fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention colorful hydrangeas and wildflowers lining an aging picket fence what would nourish me and give me the strength I needed to step out of bed each morning and follow a similar, yet blissful routine. In short, a simple life in France where I could live my life free of fear and free of chaos that has of late seemed to plague our world. Graduating from UCLA with a degree in French and Comparative Literature along with this allusion lead me to France and throughout this time I expected myself to do everything I could to chase a dream that would keep me not with wings spread but with wings closed, in the same place. But, evidently, this is not what happened. Everything for me, has changed …
Being a young, university graduate with big plans of becoming a school teacher in France, easing my way into French society and culture. Applying to big, prestigious universities in hopes of following a plan that was never my plan to begin with, but rather something I figured would make sense and give me something to believe in. But no… everything has changed…
I have seen the world.
From the moment I came to France back in October of 2017 up till now, July 2018, I have stepped away from my usual corners in coffee shops, book in hand, fictional lives in mind, and have lived outside of stories. When I was not teaching or tutoring students I was out there, no longer the hermit dozing with my favorite stories on replay in my head. I traveled throughout my region. I wandered beyond it throughout France, past France, past Europe, past seas and borders, beyond anything books could have given me. Books have always been there as my comfort and outlet in times of pain throughout my childhood and ultimately came to lead me throughout adolescence and university. They are still a part of my life but no longer dictate it. Now, I have my own stories to tell. Stories coming from far places beyond all my dreams. The old taxi driver with the rough accent and clever humor in Belfast, Ireland. The strange shepherd losing his teeth who guided me through the Sahara Desert. That intention I had to take the train to Germany but ended up in Switzerland instead. That day I turned into a beautiful bird and flew in the sky in Austria. The young boy who almost pushed me out the hot air balloon in Cappadocia. The terror of almost rolling off a cliff while backpacking through Iceland. The warmth I felt watching my sister walk through the doors at the airport in Paris to come visit me for three weeks. The agony I felt paralyzed to a hospital bed on the Syrian border upon discovering I had been infected with Typhoid. The moment I fell in love in Istanbul and then the heartbreak I felt in coming to the reality that this love could destroy my freedom. The anxiety that sent chills up my spine when I left Turkey for Los Angeles only a week ago, coming to the realization that everything that I have lived for the past year could be completely taken away from me when I came back to the place that I should be calling “home.” All of these scenarios are real. They have become my story. They have become me. It is only now a matter of telling.
I have committed to a Masters degree program.
As of September of this year I will be a masters student at New York University in Publishing: Print and Digital Media. This could end in success or failure. My confidence is low but my hopes are high. My faith is trickling but my trust is lingering. Before, when I was still living off the stories of others a masters in publishing seemed the right thing to do – continue studying, revolve your life around books and your life will always be books. This seemed like a plan before but I have changed since then. The me of now, in this moment seeks wings, flight, freedom, like a bird. I fear containment. I dread plans. I runaway from all that could commit me and bind me to a place, a time, a person, a life. Creating my own stories has become somewhat of the dream I have always been seeking but have never had the strength to fly towards. But this dream has unexpectedly flown towards me and guided me away to a place where elephants dance, the grass is blue, the sky is pink, and I have wings – everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.
So why am I still committed to this masters ? I want, even if it isn’t all so clear to me right now, to mend my dreams. To do something about the dreams I’ve always had, even before I left for France, even before I met the world. I always told myself I would create my relationship with books, the one thing in this world that has never let me down, into my profession. Committing to a two year program may cage me for a little while and prevent me from booking spontaneous flights across the continent. It will make me at times feel locked and controlled by everything but my spirit. But I know, even the me with all the stories, that it will make for even greater stories because it’s another one of my dreams that I’ll be following.
I have seen the world. I have done everything that before I could only ever read and imagine. I have thought about everything that I am and was and could be. Everthing that, in the past year I have seen, done and thought has stayed with me and become the story of who I am which is who, or at least for, who who is me, all of me exposed to an audience I am not sure even exists. But, should you have made it down to this point in my post, thank you for reading and welcome to my life, my mind and who I have become. I really hope, for anyone struggling with who they are, all those lost in their own minds’ can read here and feel that there is someone who understands what it feels like to want to escape from oneself. What it feels like to look for something beyond ourselves, always searching but not sure what for. To have all these stories but not one to call your own. This past year has given me the strength and confidence to build my own stories, follow more than one of my dreams and live free with no plans, no ropes to detain me and no cage to contain me.
From here on out my blog will return to book reviews, being, as before mainly Young Adult and those with themes of mental illness. If anyone has any comments, recommendations or questions feel free to comment below or send me a babble via email.
(I own the rights of all photography featured here)