All semester I’ve been challenged to put my thoughts into words:
I have had to write to respond to two creative prompts every week. I have written argumentative essays, close-reading essays, journal reflection essays, and research papers. I have written a literary autobiography. I have written a collection of photo journals. I have written reflections on my experiences in the classroom. And then I’ve spent time on my own writing in my different journals.
My days have been filled with writing.
Within that, I’ve also been pushed to share my writing. In many ways, I had no choice. My professors were going to read what I wrote no matter what. But, I had a choice to share only bits of me or the rawness of me. I could withhold my voice in my writing or I could instead share my real voice and let my professor’s in on my honest thoughts. I chose the latter. The vulnerability seemed worth it even though it seemed scary.
And let me tell you… it was in ever way worth it.
I realized that, though writing is deeply personal and often hard to share, at the end of the day it is powerful to let someone in. If we are all being honest…we want to be heard. We still want someone to read our words that flow from the darker places because we want to feel fully seen in the messiness of it all.
At the end of the day… we want to be known. And I’ve found that one way of allowing someone else to know you— to really know you— is through sharing your drafted out creative writing pieces. Allow others to listen to your thoughts. Leave the fear behind and allow the freedom of sharing enter in.
With sharing my writing with my professors and classmates my voice has been validated and heard. I’ve been pushed more into my voice. I have been pushed to see the value in my thoughts… even the drafted ones.
Through being pushed into the discipline of daily writing…I have written and shared more of my writings than ever before. I have finally written out stories and memories that have been boxed up within me for so long. I have finally allowed myself to be creative again. I have finally put words to some of the thoughts that have been tangled up inside of my mind for so long.
Yet, within that, I have learned that we can never fully put all of our thoughts and experiences into words. Some moments and thoughts are inexpressible. But we try to write them out anyways. And I guess that is what I am trying to do now. I need to some how get some of my thoughts of the semester onto paper. I don’t want to forget these past few months. Remembrance is a powerful tool and as one of my professors said this semester… “Literature is the memory of the people.”
Here is the slow start to my ongoing process of trying to put this semester into words:
I think we are always growing and changing and molding into who God has created us to be… but I also think that some seasons of growth carry more weight than others. I know that I have been living in one of those seasons of my life. I know that the healing that has been had in this season and the freedom that has been felt has already changed the trajectory of what lies ahead of me.
If you have spent any time with me this semester than you have heard me ramble about my classes. You have seen the impact they’ve made on me. You have seen my heart break. You have seen my weakness manifest itself. You have seen my insecurities exposed, my fear on display, and my moments of courage arise. You have seen me heal. And you have seen how I really am not the same because of it all.
And so, in my last class on my final long Tuesday, my mind was drained. I couldn’t participate in any more medieval romance discussions. So, instead, I opened up my notebook, pretended to be taking notes, and wrote out some of the tickets of wisdom my professors and classmates gave me this semester:
- There is great power behind being believed in
- You simply can’t not be changed by someone telling you for six-months that they believe in you
- There is an incredible value and need to use your voice— because your voice is only yours to claim and to share. Your thoughts are needed because no one else can express them besides you.
- There is a risk in coming before others vulnerable and honestly. A risk that involves removing the masks that cover the mess. A risk that feels terrifying. But a risk that is ever bit worth it and needed. There is power behind all of us admitting our insecurities and our short-comings…. It reminds us all of our humanness and our common ground. When we know our common ground… we can begin to see one another fully and lovingly.
- Listen first. Having an open-mind takes patience and often inserts yourself out of the picture…. And this is a good thing. A mighty tool towards creating restoration amongst one another.
- The point of education is to not know the answer, but instead is to question. Curiosity is key… and brings us back to the elementary days of learning and discovery. We must not lose that desire to discover.
- See those around you. See the brilliancy in everyone you meet. See that they too have a story.
- Discomfort will will undoubtedly change you… so let it. Embrace it… don’t run from it
- Share your writing— read it aloud. Allow yourself to be heard. You need that. We all need this.
- Self-expression. Enough said. Do it… because no one else can do it for you.
- Have courage to create. Stop believing the lies that you are not creative. Stop letting the fear of coloring outside the lines hold you back. Be free to be like your five-year old self that once lived in color and imagination. The freedom of creativity is incredibly healing.
- Celebrate mistakes. Invite them in. Build off of them
- Just keep writing.
This semester spent as a student has been a lot of things. It has been about operating with others in a third-space— spaces where people feel safe to really be themselves. It has been a time of stories being told. Lives being shared. Opinions opposing. Disapproval occurring. But respect remaining. All voices being heard. Discussions being free to be what they want to be. And learning taking place within it all.
My classes have been an emotional investment to say the least.
Tears. Frustration. Beauty. Healing. Freedom. And a whole lot of humility.
And at the end of it all… I still do not have the adequate words that fully express my thoughts on the past few months. My classes were not just classes. My classmates were not just strangers I sat besides for a short bit of time. My writings were not just assignments I turned in for class.
It was all so much more.
And that is the potential that education withholds.