300 Words

I keep having these dreams about breathing underwater.

Every time, I fall from the sky, at terminal velocity, before plunging into the ocean. I sink deep, fast. The impact empties my lungs. I try propelling myself to the surface. I’m too slow. I end up inhaling water. I gag, and the salt stings my throat. However, I’m not drowning. My lungs accept the water like air. Thriving, I explore my aquatic world.

One early morning in May 1976, a typhoon crashes upon Olongapo City, Philippines, hurling rain and lightning at a small clinic. Maybe sometime between thunderclaps, I am born.

My military father moves our family every two to three years, from the Philippines to Florida to Guam, then to Florida again, where he retires. I adjust to new schools, new cultures, new friends. I learn to excel socially, and especially academically, graduating salutatorian of my high school class in 1994.

In February 2003, I plunge into New York City. It completely surprises me. I have no job; I know two people among the 8 million surrounding me. I end up finding work lasting more than six years. I flourish under pressure, form strong friendships, and freely pursue my passions. I own two rabbits. I become an American citizen.

In January 2010, I sit poised at a desk, writing. This is not my first time at BYU. This is a return to familiarity, but this time I am different. My life isn’t a dream. I have been awake the entire time. I once respired amniotic fluid, and now as I break through to open air, my breathing is the same.

We may be creatures of habit. We grow accustomed to routines, sameness. The air may grow stale, but I remember I can breathe water.

I am a creature of change.

I know, people. Not very consistent of me.

The above may look familiar to some of you when I asked for feedback on it last September. I’m just having a little trouble breathing. I’m trying to figure out if my attitude now is really different. I’m trying to dig deep for that little extra kick for getting me through the next two weeks.

I’m trying to remember.

Why I’m Here

Last night I tried venting to a friend on the phone. Common back-to-school feelings, I suppose. Overwhelmedness, inadequacy, social shunning, public speaking. She was patient with me.

Hey, sorry I kept you up.

Doing homework right now, 5:30am. Well, not right now, but you know.

Came across a quote from our friend, Wordsworth:

What we have loved,
Others will love, and we will teach them how.

The first female ever to be named a University Professor at Harvard, the first female MLA president, Helen Vendler, included this in her inaugural speech. She also said this:

Writing is a different profession from teaching, a different profession even from scholarly research and discovery, a different profession from the profession of critical thinking. Writing demands different impulses, different talents, a different temperament. Writing not done out of love will never serve to teach others how to love what we have loved.

This may help to explain my fear of speaking/reading in front of a class of my peers – because a lot of love goes into what I write, no matter what it is, and I want to protect it – but above everything else, this reminds me what impulses I have, what talents, what temperament, what love. I am a writer. Those who love it have taught me as much; they have brought me here, and I am here to learn more, and love it even more.

Time to stretch.

Back to work.

I can do this.