Containing multitudes is a trip

Molly and me during our freshman year at Drake.

Molly and me during our freshman year at Drake.

I tried to pack my excitement and sadness into boxes. Surely they would fit somewhere, nesting among sweaters from college I can’t seem to part with, books I always open to find a postcard or old to-do list wedged between the pages, its tasks reading like a secret English major code.

“Books, office supplies, consuming sadness, TV stand trinkets,” the Post-It on the box would say. “Photo frames, globe, guilt-laden excitement, box of cards I never open.”

It’s been a bizarre last few weeks; I had a different blog post written, one about Europe and adventure and contentedness and the electricity of meeting Twitter friends in real life. About bargaining at outdoor bazaars and souvenirs and making eyes at smoldery European men because I knew I’d never see them again.

Two days after I got back from a nine-day trip to London, Vienna and Bratislava, I found out a friend from my freshman year at Drake had passed away suddenly over the weekend. I started packing for law school in Iowa City a day later, crying on and off as I turned my sadness and anger into an apartment maze of boxes, bags and things that didn’t belong anywhere.

I approached my excitement and grief in much the same way, unsure where to put them, wondering whether I should put them in separate boxes or let them vie for space in the same one.

Hi, I've arrived.

Hi, I’ve arrived.

On Thursday I moved to Iowa City for law school. I’ve lived several lives in the past month: full-time museum marketer, European traveler, grieving friend, full-time law student. The beginnings, endings and transitions are murky, delineated by specific dates, yes, but blurred by going-away cards I can’t stop opening and unpacked boxes I keep finding in my new apartment’s unfamiliar nooks.

I am so many things at once, of course, but sometimes it’s overwhelming. Containing multitudes is a trip.

Random bruises from moving have faded to yellow — one on my forearm, another behind my knee, one on my palm; they occupy odd spaces on my skin. Sometimes I bump them as I unpack box after box. I can’t remember what I bumped into; sometimes it’s OK to feel things without identifying a concrete source, it turns out.

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