“The second story I turned in to my writing class was just as bad as my first. But this time, I’d tried to write a ‘true’ story, rather than a ‘great’ story, and it failed only because I was a beginner and I had a lot to learn.” – Adam Johnson
In my creative writing class, my professor has been teaching us try to write a “true” story, instead of trying to write a “great” story. My professor, Adam Johnson, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer. As a fiction author, his work, though often heavily-based on research, is definitely not all factual nor limited to things that have actually occurred in real life. In fact, the job of a fiction writer is to create, imagine, even completely make things up and tell compelling stories that, hopefully, move readers and make the world a better place. Although fiction is exactly that – fiction – my professor says that it can sometimes hold greater emotional truth than reality.
This got me thinking about the concept of truth in writing. While I enjoy writing fiction and hope to become better at the craft, this blog “Delbasid” is a writing outlet where I use strictly non-fiction, specifically non-fiction experiences related to my life as a delbasid person. By no means are any of my posts fictionalized, or untrue to my thoughts or feelings. However, I do think that my posts so far have been structured, in a way. They usually follow this form: I have some kind of experience related to being delbasid, I reflect upon it, and then end with some kind of positive takeaway. And this is great, and it is true. But I’m working on making my writing truer. And the truth is that sometimes being delbasid sucks, and there is no positive takeaway.
Last week, I FaceTimed my best friend crying for the first time since college. Everyone told me it was going to happen – the homesickness, the out-of-place feeling, the overwhelming transition that is going to college. For most, it happens during their first weeks or months, but for some reason, I didn’t feel it then. First quarter, I was “thriving,” as they say. Instead, it hit me now. Perhaps it’s because the excitement, the whirlwind, the craziness that is first quarter of college is gone, and school has now settled into being my day to day life.
A friend and I recently talked about how it is sad – when we first got accepted to Stanford, we thought we would never face a day when we weren’t absolutely thrilled, indescribably thankful to be here. Not to say that I’m not absolutely thrilled or indescribably thankful to be here, but everything has become more “meh,” for a lack of better word choice. In a short five months, I’ve gotten used to Stanford – the wonderful weather, the brilliant professors, the humble students, the quirky school spirit. (In essence, I’ve become spoiled.) All in all, I’ve come to realize that “getting used to it” is a sad, sad thing. It is proof, I think, that no worldly thing will ever satisfy us.
Last week was particularly bad, however. I had the constant feeling of holding back tears – that feeling when even just dropping something on the floor makes it seem like the world is going to end (not to be dramatic, but, yeah). And I couldn’t pinpoint why. I see my parents often, and am close enough to home where I can go home for a day whenever I want to. I’ve made great friends here and do feel like I have a solid support system at college. Of course I miss my high school friends, but we FaceTime often. I’m being kept busy with schoolwork and extracurriculars. God is good and always there for me. So why the heck was I so sad?
I blame it on this: I hate having to live with caregivers. I love the caregivers that I do have; they are all sweet young women that I’m thankful for. But I hate the stress of figuring out a schedule that works for all of them and for me. I hate the awkwardness of introducing them to my friends: “This is my…helper, caregiver, person.” I hate having to plan exactly what time to put my coat on, when I know I need to go out in the cold after my caregiver leaves, but if I put it on too early I’ll be hot. I hate having to email my professor that I have to leave class literally right when it ends at 5:50 every week since I need time to get back to my dorm before my caregiver goes home at 6:15, even though my professor is gracious and understanding. I hate that my parents need to be my caregivers and not just my parents, even though they’re happy to help. I hate that I have to consider the fact that I’ll need to pay for a caregiver for the rest of my life when I’m picking my career path. I hate that without a caregiver, I can’t do simple things like taking my laptop to do homework in the lounge instead of being stuck in my room. But I hate that with a caregiver, I have the constant pressure of someone waiting for me. Even now, I hate having the feeling that I should hurry up and finish this piece so that my caregiver can get me ready for bed and go to bed herself, even though I know it’s her job to be available for me. I hate knowing that living with caregivers is not just a temporary thing for college – it is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. And I hate realizing how much I hate living with caregivers, as I did just now while writing this.
So here we are, at the end of my rant, and here I am, trying to think of a positive twist, out of habit. But in the spirit of truer writing, I won’t do it.
Instead, I’ll say this: Sometimes, being delbasid sucks. But truly, I thank the Lord for bringing peace in such times when negative thoughts flood the soul – for healing us all. I know the day will come when I’ll be in my heavenly and eternal home, where I’ll put my coat on and take it off whenever the heck I want to.
But for now, I’m going to hurry up and finish this post, so that my caregiver and I can go to bed.