If this were a movie

College was not what I expected in any way. That’s not really a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just the truth.

Today I went to a choir concert and there, I released the emotions I had held back. I started crying in the middle of a choir concert for reasons I couldn’t quite identify.

If this were a movie, it would fade to black right there, with me sitting in the back row of a crowded, dark concert hall, directly in the center and crying as the singers slowly and soulfully repeated, “no one’s gonna hurt you.”

And I thought, “well, that’s where you’re wrong.” I sat surrounded by people yet alone. So close yet distant, so many accumulated moments leaving me with nothing but empty yet crowded rooms and vague songs in the background.

I thought about how this year was so many things then nothing. And people did hurt me. And memories hurt me. And fears hurt me.

When movies end that way, I often interpret it as the main character being broken, as life just not working out the way people want it to, as nothing making sense.

Nothing makes sense. I don’t know what I’m doing. The artsy films I watched in class last semester feel like my own old, distant memories. “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift takes me to the deep and vivid fall colors when I thought I was starting to understand. “Style” takes me to spring when I drank lots of coffee in the weak sunlight, everything slowly unraveling around me. The artsy movie would make it seem like I only went backwards. Like I knew who I was before I came here, and then all of that was ruined.

But the truth is, college taught me that I never really knew. I’m not back where I started. I’m starting somewhere new. I sit in the back of a dark auditorium. And I think the guys singing know that people will hurt me. I think they know that not everything will always be okay. But I think they know, and I know, that in these moments, we grow.

connecting with stories

Recently, I watched a movie that I love with one of my friends. When the movie ended, my friend asked, “so why do you like this movie?” Initially, I was shocked that she didn’t see the same power within that I did. That she didn’t like it all on her own, without asking for an explanation. I fell in love with the movie throughout each scene; my connection with it built and stuck with me. But as I thought about it, I couldn’t really explain what I liked about it. 

“I guess it’s hard to verbalize,” I said. “It’s something you have to feel.”

When a story strikes a chord with you, trying to describe why is like trying to describe what you like most about the universe; it’s too vast, too complex, too all-encompassing. It’s an array of magical and heartbreaking and dead and alive. It speaks on its own, with no one being able to hear each whisper. Each whisper that tugs yet another chord and makes us feel like the story sprawled out on the screen in front of us is one we’ve been living ourselves. Our own journey. And in a way, it is. We connect it to our own journeys; we take away the pieces that mean something to us, the pieces that feel all too raw and familiar, and let them touch us. We match it with our feelings and experiences, creating meaning not just from the scenes we can see, but the ones we’ve felt and lived. The ones that belong to us.

That’s why stories are personal; they tug each of us in different directions, mold us each into different versions of ourselves. They build us and break us at different points, taking us on a completely different ride.

We can watch the same movie and yet watch something different. I could say I like a movie because it’s raw or real or emotional or happy, but those are all just surface features. And if I say I like a movie, I’ve sunk much, much deeper into it than that.

Truly, that’s why I want to write; to create stories that entangle people, that take them somewhere, that make people feel a whirlwhind of emotions that they could never completely explain. To give a voice to the universe’s whispers that I hear. To find a place in and make sense of this vastness.

Why do I like this movie? Why do I write? Why do I overanalyze every experience and create stories everywhere?

Because I feel exactly what I feel. The rest just happens in result, when I entangle my emotions and weave them into sentences that could form into someone else’s comfort blanket and another person’s broken friendship bracelet.

We don’t know where stories will take us. But they make us think and learn and explore. They make us discover new facets of ourselves and the world. They give us the courage to let go of our old, worn-out friendship bracelets, or the hope that maybe, just maybe, we can piece the strands back together. 

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Dream big,

Paige