On embracing life’s lingering tensions

After baking another round of apple cinnamon muffins while watching “Mean Girls” (and reciting the Kevin G. rap with alarming finesse, I might add), I felt the compulsion to produce some sort of epiphany, proof of my personal growth in the past year. I’m 22 today, after all.

Naturally, that quest led me to life writing, a realm in which I am at once challenged and comfortable. I have no grand epiphany or a syrupy sweet list of, “The 22 Things Every Girl Should Learn by Age 22.” (Hey, fellow 20-somethings, can we please get over the how-to-live-your-life article format?)

While it does not feel like a perfect night to dress up like a hipster (though I am on board with the whole breakfast at midnight thing), per Taylor Swift, one part of “22” is on point: the word “confused.” As the dreaded question, “What are you doing after graduation?” swirls around me, I admit I’ve been feigning certainty, that I have my proverbial adult act together.

“I’m going to continue working part-time and continue the post-grad job hunt,” I reply with a smile, quickly changing the subject to how awkward I look in my graduation gown or how I plan to continue learning Arabic after I graduate.

All the while, I really want to say, “Uh, um, ah, not sure yet. Please let me flounder and fret in peace, thank you!” In my work in autobiography/memoir, however, lingering tensions and unresolved issues are not problematic. They’re positive, enriching and strengthening the act of capturing oneself in writing.

My entire life feels like a lingering tension/unresolved issue at the moment, and that basic principle of life writing challenged my perception of uncertainty. I’m not a failure, despite the uncomfortable, obligatory response of, “Well, I’m sure you’ll find a job in no time! You’re a good writer.”

From now on, I think I’ll reply, “I don’t really know,” to the formidable, menacing senior-year question. Because right now, the only thing I’m certain about is that I’m passionate about writing, journalism and telling stories (and inhaling pancakes at unconventional hours — thanks for the tip, T. Swift). And that’s good enough for me.

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