Feb 1, 2021
You have knocked on my door after a long time. I can’t necessarily say that I miss you in an “addict-misses-heroin” kind of way, but I miss you in a “people-miss-vacations” kind of way. I miss resorting to you when I am sitting alone in that gloomy corner of my room and being my dancing partner when I am jumping with joy on getting into good colleges.
You and I have had a rocky relationship since the beginning. Rather than fall in love with you when we first met, I probably just ran away. I still remember the first time I had to write a 200-word essay. I was 12, and I sat at my table, looking outside the window for two hours wondering whether I should start my essay with a ‘Once’ or a ‘When.’ I probably cursed you a lot in my head because my mom was mad at me for not writing a single word after so long. She finally told me to begin with a ‘Once,’ and then my pencil worked its magic on its own. My hand glid along the paper, writing about my most adventurous vacation. You took me back to the moment when I held my dad’s hand so firmly, hiding behind his back, standing in line for the huge roller coaster in front of me. When my mom refused to go to the “huge spirally thing,” and 6-year-old me excitedly pulled at my dad’s sleeve to ride it. Reminiscing about that time in Disneyland, I finished my essay in about an hour. (Give me some leeway. I was a child! Writing 200 words took time.) I did feel pretty proud of myself after writing, though.
For years after that, you didn’t stop poking me like a needle in the eye. In eighth grade, you made me cry. I remember breaking my right arm and having an English exam the next day. I had a scribe to write for me, but words just wouldn’t come out of my mouth. I had to write about my most embarrassing moment and what I had learned from it. I had several experiences I could have written about (Yes, I am a clumsy person!), including the time I smashed my head into my own cake. In my defense, I was only 9 and saw other people smashing cakes on people’s faces on their birthdays. So, might as well be independent, right? But I was afraid to embarrass myself in front of my scribe and go into major details. Not surprisingly, I received a very low score on that exam, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t maintain any contact with you unless I absolutely had to, which was for exams and assignments.
However, do you recall the beginning of 9th grade? You came to me in the form of a poem by John Donne: “Lover’s Infiniteness”: “If yet I have not all thy love, / Dear, I shall never have it all.” It astounded me to read a poem so full of emotions, so complicated yet so meaningful. Every stanza in the poem ended with the word ‘all,’ and every time it meant something different. It amazed me to see how a three-letter word could embody love in so many different ways. To be honest, I didn’t truly understand the poem the first time I read it. In fact, it took me multiple readings and discussions with the professor to finally unpack every line of the poem. Unlike my expectation, I truly enjoyed unfolding every little piece of you. I felt like a bird learning how to open my wings and take that initial jump to fly. That reading led me to believing in you for the first time.
I wished to be a magician of words, play with words and create art. I wanted to express unspoken feelings, and that is when I truly sought you for the first time. A month into my relationship with my boyfriend, I felt my heart urging me to look for you. I am grateful I did. I took a shabby piece of paper and a pen, and I just wrote down what I felt. The rhythm emerged as I penned more and more words and created what will always be for me a masterpiece. Even though it was a 4-stanza poem with a basic rhyme scheme and not the best of diction, it WAS me. I felt like you embodied me. You helped me understand my own feelings in a way I never did before. That is when I started to fall a little for you.
At first, I was too insecure and afraid to share you with others. I wanted to keep you secure in my arms, but as I wrote more, I felt a little urge to introduce you to my mom. You think I wasn’t hesitant? Boy, oh, boy, only I know how my hands trembled giving her that piece of paper. But you didn’t betray me. My mom loved you. More than that, my mom loved that I was in this beautiful place with you. She encouraged me to bond with you deeply. So, yes, you might want to say thank you to her someday.
Poems seemed insufficient after a point. I wanted to write more words. I wished to fill pages with my thoughts. So, I did. I started writing a book based on my life with a few twists, using different names and adding a little spice to my story. I wrote about my friends, my parents, my sister, and, most of all, my feelings. Whenever I felt like I was drowning in a sea of my brain’s madness, you pulled me out. You made me witness the sun rising at the edge of the shore.
That light didn’t last for too long, though. A dozen assignments a week and a trillion tests pulled me in different directions. I wished to be with you, but gradually I was so short on time that I ended up forgetting about my book. I tried to write another chapter, but too much time had passed for me to return to the way I felt then. I am sorry for letting you go, but you should know that just because I let you go doesn’t mean I wanted to.
I occasionally came back to you in my times of need. I realize how selfish I was to ask you to be there only when I felt alone, helpless, and sad. You aren’t just my cushioning pillow but also my cheerful buddy, and I disregarded one of those aspects. I realize today that I want you back in my life, but not just in the form of assignments. I want to have meaningful conversations with you. I want to be able to cherish you with my friends. I can’t promise I’ll be able to devote an hour to you weekly, but I can promise to not forget you till the end of time. Today, you have made me realize your importance, and while I am sorry that you had to, I am thankful that you did. I’ll see you soon!