A few months ago I began writing this blog. At the time, I had a vague idea that writing was something that I enjoyed. Immediately after publishing my first post, I was surprised at how satisfied and empowered I felt. The idea of publishing is something that I have discussed in my English Education classes. Making cover art, binding ones work together in a greater portfolio, posting it on the walls (or as a parent, on the refrigerator or even framed), or publishing in a class/school publication is a great way for students to feel that their work has greater meaning outside of the class/report card. It can lead to empowerment, and greater self motivation.
The awesome thing about this is that publishing this blog has done just that for me. I do get a thrill from seeing how many people have viewed our blog, and especially from seeing representatives from different countries (shout out to Nessa, and my friends in Japan- I can’t guess who it is, but I hope it is Yumiko, or Masanori Hashimoto- my host parents whom I love and think fondly of often). Amazingly, clicking on the button that says, “Publish Post” has been enough of a closing remark to make me feel satisfied that I have completed something that has lived up to my standards.
I know that there is a lot that could be improved, but this is just a beginning with an unknown end. If I had been more vigilant about updating, you would have noticed a big change in the way I view life. The blog is a part of it, but I have gone through a low point, and grown steadily in my personal friendships, and the way I view myself.
Yesterday, my darling sister, Marjorie, excitedly recounted to me the ways that she is growing. I laughed, but she misinterpreted my response (understandably) as an unappreciative older sister kind of poking fun. In honesty, I laughed because we share the same enthusiasm and amazement. I discovered this vlog today, and it explains a subsection of the aspects of my life that I have been contemplating lately. (Bonus: it is by John Green, a phenomenal (read: PHENOMENAL) young adult author.)
Meanwhile, my friend Nate loaned me a book by Henri J.M. Nouwen called, “With Open Hands.” (another phenom-bomb suggestion). While I have only read one chapter so far, I am already committed to buying my own copy and re-reading. It is beautiful and universal– the kind of information that must settle in, and then refreshed over the years. In the Foreword, Nouwen explains how the book came to be. He says of his personal thoughts and experiences:
But what does this have to do with anyone else? Aren’t my own experiences so personal that they might just as well remain hidden? Or could it be that what is most personal for me, what rings true to the depths of my being, also has meaning for others? Ultimately, I believe that what is most personal is also the most universal. To arrive at this point, however, friends are necessary, for they are the ones who help you distinguish between superficial sensations and deep human experiences. (1975, p.7)
This quote resonates with me because like Marjorie, and Nouwen, I have found that the thing that most excites me, is in fact, universal. I recently learned that I, as an adult, can choose who I want to be, and in fact, will continue growing as an individual! Zowie!! It hit me like a hot air balloon, and I am transported into the stratosphere. It is so delightfully clear in this moment. In this time of transition- post college, post wedding, pre-backpacking through France with my partner, pre-“settling” in Missouri- I can choose who I want to be at each stage, and I will continue to learn about myself, and with intention, to grow into the person I want to be. I am thrilled.
So far I have learned about myself: what I need from friendships, and what I am best at sharing, that I love learning, and I love beauty. I have a desire to create something that will improve peoples lives. I am learning what I want as a future dog-owner, and who I am as an adult-child of my parents, as well as how I fit in to my new family-new parents, and new siblings. All these things allow me to feel proud of the decisions I make, because I know they fit in to what I believe. Perhaps most astoundingly, I am learning through this self recognition, how to love myself.
I would be incredibly honored if you, dear reader, would share with me what you have learned about yourself lately- likes, dislikes, interests, passions, or apathies.
Comment on this post, or in a facebook message, or to emilie.maierhofer (at) gmail.com.