Let me tell you a bit about what I’ve done today. I’ve read, drank tea, read, drank more tea, and came to the realization that it’s okay to not do anything. Eat, Pray, Love is doing wonders for my mind right now. With every page that I read, I become more inspired to do everything or NOTHING, if that’s what I feel like doing. I wish that I had that woman’s courage to drop everything and explore the world for awhile. Of course, it would also be helpful if I could get advance pay for the fantastic book that I would eventually write, considering my JcPenney paycheck probably wouldn’t cover anything more than a couple of meals and some souvenirs, if I bargain shopped. If all of the “what ifs” and obstacles were somehow crystal clear, who wouldn’t want to travel in such an experimental manner? The truth is, however, that I don’t have to leave my humble state of Ohio to do self-searching. Last year, at OSU’s campus, I would get all dolled up just to walk High Street to visit the Barnes and Noble or sip black iced tea in the Oval. I read Virginia Woolf in the sunshine and paid way too much money for a haircut just because the decor and advertising of the hair salon somehow spoke to me. I clumsily slipped on the wet sidewalks with no one to laugh about it with except for a passing stranger, who was also caught in the rain, spoke up, and quite frequently, during workshops in my creative writing class, and browsed Urban Outfitters for cute, cheap Christmas gifts for friends. I did all of this alone. In high school, I didn’t want to do anything alone. I hated it so much, and I used the buddy system as much as I could; I always needed someone to lean on so I didn’t look ridiculous. Every year I grow more independent and in love with myself. I don’t say that in a cocky, “I’m so amazing,” type of way, but in a way that allows me to embrace the facts that I’m a little awkward sometimes, that I don’t exercise as much as I should, that I burst into tears some nights for virtually no reason at all, and that I almost always say the wrong things.
As much as I admire Elizabeth’s courage to live in three different countries in order to reach some sort of peace of mind, self-discovery starts at home, and it starts with you. If I feel the need to shake things up a bit, that’s fine, but I’m not going to read a story like hers and think, “Wow, that’s great, but I can’t afford it, so that’s that.” I’m going to do it my own way by reading, writing, drinking tea, cooking food, looking out the window, lighting candles, putting ensembles together, vintage shopping, loving, and living a small town life in an enormous way, even if those things don’t seem enormous to anyone else.
This is why I love literature so much. It honestly makes me breathe a breath of new life in a way that nothing else can. Some people come alive through sports, politics, or business discussions, but for me, it’s words. I can be anyone or do anything when I write. I can create characters that have the nerve that I’ll never possess or say things that I could never say; they can do anything, even when it seems like I can’t, and reading & writing is something that I’ve never, ever grown tired of, and I hope that I never, ever do.