Like my good friend Stephanie said, “Why are we having four seasons in one day??” I think that’s a pretty accurate description of the weather right now. But in between Mother Nature’s mood swings, I’ve gotten a taste of autumn here and there, and it tastes golden. All that’s left to do is to spice it with some pumpkins and good friends.
For the first time in weeks, I felt full, of joy, of peace, of love. I had been trying to get myself back to this point, but it was rough. I tried self-care, tried treating myself. And while a bite of chocolate, a new sweater, new candles, and marathoning TV shows worked for the time I was doing it, I didn’t feel any better afterwards, and sometimes felt even worse because I felt guilty. These were just distractions, a way of denial, a way for me to escape my responsibilities.
But this time it was different. Here at Bryn Mawr with Ami and Victoria, running around in the autumnal sunlight, simultaneously dodging the camera and trying to get in shots of each other, I did feel better, better than I had felt in a long time, good even.
This past semester has been a period of adjustment. I’m living off campus for the first time, cooking for myself, cleaning for myself, etc. On top of that, my apartment is located near Haverford College and all four of my classes are at Haverford this semester, so I’m only ever at Bryn Mawr once a week for a cappella rehearsal. Am I even a Bryn Mawr student anymore? But it’s weird, because I don’t feel like a Haverford student either, even though I’m there all the time. On Instagram I joked that for Fall Break, I took a vacation from Haverford and spent it at Bryn Mawr.
Coming back to Bryn Mawr in broad daylight over Fall Break, I simultaneously felt like I was back home and also felt like I was seeing campus for the first time and was struck by its beauty all over again. Especially deserted over Fall Break, it felt like my own secret garden.
For that moment, I had no doubt in my mind that this was where I was supposed to be. I think many people have that fear coming into college, that perhaps they had made a mistake in choosing this place, or that perhaps the admissions office had made a mistake in choosing them. Even though I litter my Instagram with photos of my gorgeous campus, the truth is, I’m not always in love with this place and I’m not always in love with what I’m doing or how I am.
Even as a junior, I still have these doubts. You’d think that with more years of experience, I’d be more sure of myself, but actually it kinda feels like the opposite is happening. The more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn. What I was once so sure about and seemed so simple, I’ve discovered to be much more nuanced and much less straightforward.
I’ve lost my mind in all the twists and turns. All I want is for the walls of this labyrinth to sink straight through the ground. Take me back to when these towering vines were just cute lil sprouts, when everything sparkled in the sunlight. Take me back to when things were simple. Simple needs. Simple wants. When hustling meant nothing more than speeding down a hill on my bike with my hair blowing behind me and only the wind rushing past me. When the most I wanted was a Ring Pop. You know, rather than wanting an alternate life or something ?
The simple things. Feeling glam in a floppy hat. Wearing a socially acceptable blanket out in public, aka a scarf. Swinging on hammocks. Trying to get as high as we can. On the hammocks. Picking beautiful foliage. Carrying baby pumpkins around just in case. Looking for four-leafed clovers. Hide-and-seek. A game of chase. Climbing trees. Pirouettes. Stretching our bodies to soak up the rays. Catching the sunset. Singing along to songs we love to hate but really just love. Just a couple of girls telling bad jokes, dad jokes.
It was a simple day. A perfect day. One that didn’t need the escape of a greater adventure.