This, and who I used to be

“This, and who I used to be, don’t matter much at all to me
To pin you down, to plant your feet, ‘s a far cry from my destiny”

I don’t know why that quote makes me feel better right now, but it does. If I were to guess, I’d probably say it’s because right now, I feel like a speck. I tiny speck floating in time without much meaning, without much worth. In reality, I know that’s altogether true (and yet, not true): but that’s a thought for another time.

There are a number of things I should be doing right now, but I can’t seem to think much past the fact that my Dakota bracelet is, yet again, gone from my wrist and pressing in on my heart. It wouldn’t press so hard if I had just kept track of it, made sure it was there! The empty space on my wrist wouldn’t feel quite so bare if I had paid more attention to it. I should have realized that it was likely to fall off– hadn’t it gone “missing” two days ago, and ended up on top of my sweater sitting in the chair? HOW it had gotten off or WHY my wrist is so small are questions at the very top of my miserable list of things to do tonight. I checked everywhere in my room. Frisked my coat, emptied the scarf drawer, scoured the floor and my bookshelf and under my bed and rug. Rummaged through my bag until I was sure, absolutely sure, it wasn’t there.

I just don’t understand. I had been checking it, on and off, since that moment two days ago when the bottom of my stomach lurched away and I’d noticed it gone. I’d been thrilled when I’d found that purple bracelet again.

Now, it could only be in the practice room where I’d spent my time from seven to eight; or else in the street? on the floor of the dorm lobby? in front of the main desk? I wouldn’t know where to begin searching on this campus: the likelihood of it NOT being trampled or picked up and tossed by cleaning staff is really, really slim.

I asked my mother to mail me another one. If I have to staple it to my damn arm I’ll be keeping this one.

The only upside to this is, I think of Dakota constantly. I remember him how he used to be, and how he is now. I remember how he looked when I saw him with Kenny and Jon on Sunday (so much better than the time before, as always!); I think of him as I sit here now, and I think of him every time I look down to see where my bracelet is supposed to go. I think of him, and I toss out hope with my heart. And look forward to a time when he can cut my bracelet off of my wrist himself.

And when they ask you what you’re living for, say love

I wrote a song earlier (it’s not that uncommon for me, nowadays) that questioned, really, why we’re here. It referenced the grieving process, and the endless cycle of life, and death, and life again. It’s bizarre to know that my heart just ached when I wrote it. And now? It still aches, some, but I have my answer.

Funny how those things work out. It’s also funny, and by funny I mean bizarre, and sometimes annoying/frustrating, that sometimes, the more you think you can handle how you feel about something, the more it gets away from you. That happened to me tonight at the vigil: I was silent and respectful during the ceremony that consisted mostly of hushed speakers and a pathetic microphone and the wind in the courtyard, mirroring our breathing. I wrote my message to Victor, maintaining that respect and composure.

Then I saw David swoop right in to hug Katie and for some reason that embrace, one of friendship, support, and communal grief and understanding without words, took me right back. I thought I’d grown from my experiences with the fucking brutal unfairness of life. I thought I had grown from my experiences losing those I hardly knew, and those I knew well.

Well, I didn’t. I got back to my room and absolutely lost it for a little while. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights. I don’t feel bad admitting it here, but I’m a really ugly and disgusting sobber– I was a wreck and it would have been humiliating to be below with my classmates. So I cried alone. I cried, selfishly, because I was here and Victor wasn’t. I cried, still selfishly, because like Dan, Victor was only nineteen when he lost his life, with so much potential in front of him. I cried because I knew his family was coming in from China for the memorial service this Saturday. I cried because I know that those who loved him– and perhaps, even some who barely knew him at all– will be forever changed in one of the most painful ways.

I cried some for Dakota, even though he’s improved so much, because he’s lost a lot of time and a great deal of opportunities. I cried because his situation is truly heartbreaking, even though there is hope for him to recover even more than he already has.

And I cried a little bit for myself, because there is still so much life to experience, and I haven’t yet. And, stupidly, because I had pretended not to need a hug. My own stupid fault, but I couldn’t cry there. Seriously.

I realized afterward, after I’d written some lyrics and established a melody both haunting and pretty, that the communities I live in– both at home, and here at Eastman– are so strong and reseliant. People are there for each other. Like just a little while ago, when the sad knotted ache under my heart wouldn’t leave, and I had to talk to someone for just a few minutes. People here listen. People here care.

When Saturday rolls around, I cannot imagine the overwhelming situation Victor’s parents will be facing– having to say goodbye to their son. But I do know that this community will do all in its power to ensure that they have the strength, support, respect, understanding, and love they need to make it through.

That’s why we’re here. It’s not because we’re some science experiment, it’s not so we can make money and rot into the ground. It’s not for material gain or networking or technological advancement or to see if there’s life on Mars.

We’re here to love: whether in jubilation or darkest misery. We are here to accept it, to revel in it. And most especially, to give it.