I hurt my coccyx on Monday. Yes, my coccyx. It’s such a funny word, or rather, body part. It’s also referred to as our “Tailbone”, because it’s the part that curls under, a bit like a tail, at the end of our spine. Weird. Peculiarities aside, you might be wondering how I hurt this little bone. Well, I was doing pirouettes (turns) on pointe (those shoes that allow you to be on your tippy toes) in ballet class and just when I thought I could get another turn in, I lost momentum and toppled over to the floor, landing butt first. Mamma mia! What pain. I was forced to stick an ice brick under my tushie and sit out for the rest of class, sigh. New week, new injury, yaaay.
I therefore had to miss dance class for the past couple of days. I can’t tell you how much that affected me. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone, don’t yah? This coccyx injury (CI, for short) really put some things into perspective this week, things that had been starting to pile up in my head recently. It’s so easy to go about your life wishing you had something more, or something else, anything but what you currently have. And then, when we get that something, we’re still not fully satisfied, we look back and yearn for what he had in the past or wish for something better in the future. We humans, man…we’re never satisfied. We can rarely live fully in the moment, cherishing everything we have and everything that is happening to us—good and bad.
We just began working on a new play in our acting class: “The Three Sisters”, by Russian physician and dramatist Anton Chekhov. The story revolves around one idea, that these three sisters want to return to Moscow, their hometown, really badly. *Spoiler alert* They never do get to Moscow. But getting to Moscow isn’t really the point–it’s the dissatisfaction of their lives and the illusion of Moscow that creates this idea interesting. All of the characters in the play express their frustration for something they don’t have, and instead of trying to search for what that is and giving action to their desires, they spend their time reminiscing about the more glorious past and dreaming about a more hopeful future. When they do succeed in going after what they want, it still doesn’t satisfy them, and they are left wanting what they had before. In summary, they are all swimming in a pool of illusions, and they are drowning in it.
In Three Sister mode, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future (kind of inevitable, with graduation coming up and whatnot). I’ve been saying how ready I am to graduate, to start a new life, to live my dream, but I just realized this week that this future doesn’t include Bryn Mawr in it. In other words, in order for this life to start, the one I have now must cease to exist, and that is really sad. I’ve been studying all my life, and this September will be the first time me and my fellow seniors will not be returning to school (ok, unless you’re going to pursue your graduate studies. In that case none of this applies to you.) I’ve been taught all my life…now I will have to start applying everything to real life scenarios, and have responsibilities and ahh! Life used to be so simple (see, there it is, I’m acting like one of the Three Sisters, glorifying the past!)
Alright alright. In reality, I have already been applying things that I have learned and dealt with ongoing responsibilities, but this new cycle will be the next step beyond that, the turning point into adult life, and everything that this new beginning entails. I feel ready, I do, but I’m starting to miss this life that has been so important to everything that I have become in the past 4 years. The routine, the classes, the overall atmosphere and the people–I cannot even say how much I will miss so many of the wonderful people I have gotten the pleasure to know here. By having to sit out of my dance classes, I realized how much I cherish them and how I’m never going to have that again–not with the same people and not in the same place. I went to my French class yesterday and the same phenomenon happened. When is the next time I will be in a classroom full of bright, eager students and an enlightening instructor talking about feminist woman writers from the middle ages?? I think we can say not very soon. Still, it’s so easy to get sick of the things you love sometimes, especially when you get sucked into an ongoing routine. When you’re able to stop and take a step back, however, you realize why you loved them in the first place. The reason they become overwhelming is because they are hard work, but you wouldn’t be going through it if it wasn’t worth it.
All of these feelings emerged when I watched the movie “Admission” last week, with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. It was a fun and entertaining movie, but the fact that it talked about the process of getting into college brought me back to a time before Bryn Mawr, when I was so clueless to where I was going to be in the next 4 years. I had no idea what was gonna hit me. I spent so much time preparing for those years, and now that they are over, I find myself at the next critical point in my life, at a crossroads. Will I be looking back to this moment 4 years from now? I will let you know….
Time is such a funny thing. Today we took our senior portraits and I couldn’t help but travel back to the time when I was taking mine for high school. A photo is such a representational tool, not only literally, but figuratively, representing more than just a physical appearance. It’s a way to capture and freeze that moment in time that is loaded with memories. I am sure you can recall looking at a picture and reliving that moment in the past. I’m so curious compare my senior portraits from high school and those from college side-by-side. I’m sure they would both speak so much, and I know for a fact that so much has changed. But in a way, those years and those memories have never left me. Probably for the same reasons I mentioned before, a lot of nostalgic memories of high school have been coming back to me over the past couple of days.The hilarious inside jokes, that one crazy trip to the countryside, that time when everybody would sing this one song or that one art class that was turned upside-down. And when the time came, I knew it was going to be over. I knew I was never going to have that again. But the end of those years meant that I would be able to create new memories, new friendships, just as I have here at Bryn Mawr, and just as will continue to happen when I leave my beloved school this May. In a way, missing home and missing these “simpler” times has also been my way to escape this fearful future full of novelty. It’s easier to live in something you know than to plunge into the darkness with faith, even if this option will bring you more fulfillment than the first one.
In the end, we can reminisce, we can relive, we can recreate, but we can never go back, and we can never stop time. It’s inevitable. It’s like when I was falling out of my pirouette and headed to the ground: I felt it happening, I knew that there was a risk that I could get hurt, but there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to sit and let it happen. Even though I literally fell on my butt, without it I would have never gotten this eye-opening experience. Sometimes, we just have to get a view from down low in order to get the right perspective of things. And then, there is no where to go to but up.
Luciana Fortes, aka soon-to-be Bryn Mawr graduate