On Storytelling

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I’ve been moping around this blog for a quite a while talking about what I want to do and how I’m not doing it. I’ve literally been feeling INERT, LISTLESS, and INVISIBLE.  So, I’ll use this space to not necessarily make wild proclamations of what I’m going to do.  Instead, I’ll focus on what is. …

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I first listened to Alicia Keys in a secluded college cafe. Every time I hear her sing I think of those days. You see, I went to a rather large university of over 30,000 students and a half a dozen undergraduate colleges. Each of my core classes had at least 200 students each. Every few days I would make my way over to this secluded campus and attempt to do my homework, learn a theorem, write a paper, read a chapter, you know. This was before wifi.

And I would be alone. So I would eat. Whenever anxiety gnawed at me, little did I understand that I could nourish her with a workout, an hour with a writing tutor, or an hour co-working with a friend. A coach??? They were for the popular athletic kids. A tutor??? But I know how to write and study! Studying *with* someone? Whom?

So I ate. Being vegetarian, I mostly ate bagels. Lots of bagels. Bad bagels, fresh bagels. Bagels with butter. Bagels with cream cheese.

This continued years later in graduate school. I would go to a local cafe to procrastinate — I thought I was being productive (long hours at the cost of everything else = success, right??). Many days I smoked, too.

Fast forward to today. In times of anxiety, I find a secluded cafe where no one knows me and I eat. I drink fancier coffee, eat real bagels, and vegan pastries. But I eat. Sometimes I light a cigarette, but mostly I just eat.

The next few days are an attempt to actively turn each eating opportunity into an exercise opportunity. A healthy meals opportunity. A nap opportunity. A phone a friend opportunity. My work will go on in chunks of 2 hours. I will eat, but with loved ones — amidst laughter and a beautiful memory.

Hiding away. One last coffee break – one last opportunity to indulge in time one’s own. One last page to read. One last menial task to finish. Alas, the end of an illustrious weekend full of “now isms” that inevitably keep one from here … That is until now. The 10th hour is approaching fast.

“I want to do this. I want to make this happen. I’ve taken too many steps to turn back now,” she said.

“What are you waiting for, then?” He asked in an off-handed manner, half listening and half peering into the distance, looking for the horizon to his boredom.

“I can’t seem to get started,” she admitted. “I don’t know if I will be good enough. Will this be in vain? Will I shame myself once and for all?”

“Look Amanda,” Jared snapped out of his semi-checked out state. “You want this thing so badly. Half ego, half legit, but wholly yours. This thing, it’s meant for you. Channel your energy into telling them why you want it. Write for your life.”

Now it was Amanda’s turn to look away. What am I waiting for?