While not being productive on our “snow” day this past week, I came across something on my computer that I had not looked at in years.
My Live Journal.
Remember those? The emo high school version of a blog? Back when I thought everyone wanted to know about my emotional issues, read my awkward poetry (mostly about boys who liked other boys and trying to figure out why they weren’t reciprocating my adoration — in free verse) and hear about caring for my water bottle baby for health class or how a few months later I had grapes explode in my backpack (I called them “The Grapes of Wrath”). I also found my Xanga, and fortunately could not find my MySpace.
This trip down my e-memory lane was just as amusing as it was enlightening. It was my pre-Facebook opportunity to be a victim of the Internet overshare, or as I liked to call it, “expressing myself.” But between the exploding grapes, the water bottle babies and my endless longing for a crush to reciprocate (some entries, by the way, said that the poetry were “new songs!” — and this was long before Taylor Swift ever had any teardrops on her guitar), I found something very revealing that is particularly relevant to where I, and most college folks, stand today.
The things that I thought were the biggest deals in the world, in retrospect, are blips on my radar of life. I was basking in a sea of what felt like eternal unrequited love, or grappling with the fact that I saved my physics mouse trap vehicle for the last minute and had to take a day off from school to build it. (Sorry, physics teacher. That’s why I wasn’t there). When I didn’t get the part I wanted in the school play, I wondered why I was intending on majoring in theater someday. And I lied about my height. A lot.
News flash to high school Mallory: you don’t know love from a soy chai latte, and all of those boys liked boys anyway. Physics doesn’t matter in your future, unless you will be an engineer, which for the safety of the world, you should probably not be. A high school play is the first thing that will get erased from your real, professional rèsumè. And you are 4 feet 11 inches.
Moments in college, while critical and obviously shape who we are in the real world, are really just that: moments. There is a whole big world called “real life” after, and one day we will look back at our Facebook statuses of “omg, worst night ever, can’t believe I drank that much” and pictures where we are standing with some people we might not really like, or recall how uncomfortable we felt, or how brutal one class was, or how a Scorpion bowl on your own isn’t usually the brightest idea — and we will laugh. And if we are not laughing, we just won’t care, or pause and think, “Really? That was important?”
Pictures on Tumblr will be informative of our desire to express the heightened emotions of collegiate life, and Formspring questions will make us cringe.
Of course I am, and we all should be, grateful for all the college moments — and the remaining moments that are yet to be enjoyed. They certainly make us into the human beings that we are today. But as much as that mouse trap vehicle and exploding grapes shaped my day and character at the time, they do not linger and haunt me on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I forgot about them entirely until Live Journal reminded me.
The really big things, the things that linger and the things that really shaped me … weren’t things I even wanted to write about. I dwelled on the trivial. Kind of like how Juicy Couture and Kate Spade ruled my middle school existence.
None of those moments of my younger years could have been that emotionally searing, anyway, because lo and behold, after one bawling entry, I was translating Napoleon Dynamite into Spanish. Because at the end of the day, “¿Tienen los pollos las garras grandes?” is the question that lingers with us all.