As One Door Closes...

I have this horrible habit of putting off writing posts that are about things that are difficult for me to let go of. For this one, it's been really hard to think of the right words to say. So instead of thinking about some elaborate and structured way in which to write them, I've decided just to write it all out. All the facts. I know I have a pretty amazing year ahead of me, with Chicago, London, and Florence coming, but in order to get there, there are a few things I'll have to overcome first.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but many of the friends I made this past year in college were seniors - some of the best. They're all wonderfully passionate, driven, loving, inspiring, and welcoming people.

Oh lordy, here I go crying again. The littlest things have been setting me off lately. I cried almost the whole drive home from the airport. The latest glee episodes about graduation - forget about it. I used to take a little pride in the fact that my emotions were so under control until I realized that expressing emotions is healthy and relieving. It makes me feel like I'm actually a living, breathing human.

This is what those seniors have helped me realize. That a living, breathing human has emotions. They have wants and needs, passions and pursuits, family obligations and personal desires, and it's okay to express those - all of those. It's okay to have those all at the same time and be one, whole, unique person. Sure, sometimes you have to be a bit of a different person to different people, but that's just the way people communicate. You don't need just ONE way of defining yourself. In fact, that's unhealthy. The more open you are to new people and new experiences, the more you rid yourself of stereotypes and impressions and, overall, I think that makes you a happier person.

I got the tattoo. It's on my foot, and yes, it was very painful. I was delusional for most of it, actually. I'm sure my friends will be making fun of me forever and a day: my cussing them out one second, and telling them how much I love them in the next. The funny thing is that I really, really meant it. Not the cussing, the love, of course. The pain and momentousness of the occasion I never would have been able to endure without them there giving me the support and courage I needed to get it. No, I didn't get it for them or to prove anything to anybody, except myself, I guess. The tattoo I got for reasons only me, myself, and I can explain. But one of those reasons is most definitely the commemoration of my love for these people and of our comradeship. It's a symbol of how grateful I am to them for giving me courage that everybody needs throughout their lives. It's that courage we pull out when faced with confrontation about our identities. The courage that makes us stand up and say "I am who I am and I'm proud of that." I'll think of that every time I look down at this image on my foot, and can guarantee that there's no way in hell I will ever stop striving to achieve my goals and dreams or to becoming the caring, whole-heartedly loving people who inspired me everyday this year.

They've now graduated, and one by one, we each said our painful goodbyes. I can remember each one clear as day, and they still hurt. It hurts to think about the fact that we'll all be scattered across the states next year, and it hurts to think about the fact that I don't know when I'll see them again. But still, I know we will see each other again. Life is long, and certain people come into our lives at certain times to help us in ways we didn't expect. And even though they leave, we carry them with us in our hearts everywhere we go. They become a part of us and are present in the ways they've changed us.

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