For the first time since I graduated, I started writing seriously and for publication. Of course, I have no idea how or where I will try to get what I’m working on published, but it feels good to be back in the game.
“Moon & sun are passing figures of countless generations, and years coming or going wanderers too. Drifting life away on a boat or meeting age leading a horse by the mouth, each day is a journey and the journey itself home.”
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Sometimes you just want to calmly say, “fuck it,” throw your book down on the floor and walk out on 8th period. Sometimes meaning everyday you see them.
Sometimes you just want to look a kid in the eye and say, “Lebron was already being featured on ESPN by the time he was your age. Get a clue,” wait for them to shrink at the realization that certain dreams really are just great hoaxes; fictions we create to keep our mind off the savage reality of our own lives.
Sometimes you just want to laugh at them, not with them, because you want them to know that you know better. That you can see through their half-assed attempts to undermine you, to disrespect you and temporarily be “the man,” and that through all of that you see the scared boy whose starting to realize his “I don’t give a fuck, suspend me” attitude is what will keep him roaming the streets for the rest of his days.
Sometimes you want to scream at them so that they know you could have been something else. That for you, this life isn’t one of certainty nor one of necessity: it was one of choice.
Sometimes, though, you go to the football game, not to see the 0-6 team lose again, but to watch two of your students perform in the marching band. To see them light up with pride when you tell them that you didn’t go to watch the team, you went specifically to watch the band.
Sometimes, when one of your students is a bit more than nervous, and you talk to them before they perform, and you see them absolutely own the performance, well sometimes that makes the other sometimes a little more tolerable.
But fuck. This is hurts. A lot.
“I think about the events of that day again and again … Whenever some blowhard starts talking about the anonymity of the suburbs, or the mindlessness of the TV generation. Because we know that inside each one of those identical boxes, with its Dodge parked out front, and its white bread on the table, and its TV set glowing blue in the falling dusk, there were people with stories. There were families bound together in the pain and the struggle of love. There were moments that made us cry with laughter. And there were moments, like that one, of sorrow and wonder.”
Best description of growing up in the suburbs I’ve ever heard. The Wonder Years, best show ever? Probably.
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This is it. Day 1 without a cigarette. I’ve been reading a lot of shitty motivational books, how to be the best you and what not, and I’ve had my moment. Smoking cigarettes is a thing of the past.
Week one, I was like,
Week five, I was like,
“The capital-T Truth is about life before death.
It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
‘This is water.’
‘This is water.’”
-David Foster Wallace
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I thought I was heading toward a very sad, nostalgic goodbye to Berkeley. After my graduation today, my thesis adviser came up to me and told me I did a great job with my revision and how proud she was of me. The all-nighters, the copious amounts of coffee and cigarettes — they all make sense now. I’ve never walked with my head held so high than after she requested we take a picture together. She, not me, mind you. I admired my professor from the moment I met her, and I begged her to be my adviser this year. Seeing her today, hearing a few simple words of praise after the longest, most stressful academic endeavor of my life, well it put everything back into perspective.
I was sad and still am sad about saying goodbye, but I’m so fucking proud at the same time. Writing my thesis was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and more than a few times I felt like it wasn’t worth it. Hugging my professor after I walked today made me realize why I did it in the first place: Today, I am a proud graduate. Nostalgia can wait.
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