M.K.Harlan

Storyteller

I’ve been struggling for the last week or two to come up with something to write here. There’s a lot going on right now with my mental health, my physical health, and trying to figure out the future and what I’m doing with my life.

It’s been a whole year since I graduated college and I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to be where I’m at.

I didn’t expect to be working at Lowe’s still.

I didn’t expect to be living in northern Indiana still, let alone at my grandparents’ house.

I didn’t expect to have taken out a car loan.

I didn’t expect to have to go to my doctor 4 – almost 5 – months after the fact to have my back injury treated and to talk about my mental health.

I didn’t expect any of this.

But, I look back and I don’t even know what I expected.

I thought I’d have a better job, be living on my own – possibly not even in Indiana anymore.

God has a funny way of working in our lives. He puts us right where He wants us, whether or not we want to be there or intend to be there. He forces us into these situations, into our lives, for one reason or another.

I don’t know what His reasoning is behind where I’m at. I’ll tell you right now, though, that I never would have done talked to a doctor if I’d been in another city or state and not near the doctor I have right now for whom I am able to shake off my anxiety long enough to place some trust in her.

I’ve been having problems lately because while in my head I know that there’s a purpose for what’s happening in my life, for the way things are shaping up, it’s always a long journey – that 18 inches – from the brain to the heart. I can’t always make the little chemicals in my brain cooperate and reassure me that it’s okay.

When I was a kid I would spend hours and hours planing out my escape, my runaway. The day I turned 18 I was going to disappear at midnight and I was going to drive west, or east, or anywhere but home. I was going to have a life. I was going to join the Marine Corps or travel across the country with a dog and a truck and pretend that I wasn’t terrified of people. I wasn’t going to go to college, I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me what to do ever again.

Now – I don’t let other people dictate my life. I’m an adult and I make my own choices. But, I’ve started planning again. I have at least a dozen different escape plans typed up and ready for me to try one of them. Maybe they’ll end up in a story I write one day…

Or maybe one of these days someone will say or do something and I’ll just go. Just throw a few sets of clothing into my backpack with my gear and just disappear for a while, following one of my plans or making one up as I go.

It gets harder and harder, the more I hurt, the more stress I’m under, to not just pass by work and keep going – driving until I either run out of gas, money, or both. Whether or not I like where that takes me.

As a writer, and as an artist, this appeals to me. This idea of freeing myself from the responsibility of every day life. Of taking a new and exciting path.

As I want to do this – I’d prefer it be thought out and planned a little better. I’d prefer to do it on my terms, rather than terms set by the chemicals in my brain that aren’t doing their job the right way.

I’ve been asking myself all year, and especially now that Facebook has so kindly reminded me that one year ago I graduated college, what I’m doing with my life. College is done and over with and I’m still in the same spot – at least geographically and professionally – that I was 12 months ago.

Heck, I’ve barely been able to bring myself to create most of the time. I’ve been getting better, getting things to where I want them, working hard on making myself create again. Let me tell you, it’s awesome to feel that again. But, there’s something missing.

I don’t feel motivated. It’s harder than it should be to dig out and dust off the passion I once felt for my creative work.

There are days when I don’t even know if I really remember what it was to feel normal to feel like I could get out of bed in the morning and tackle the world. It’s an odd feeling – not knowing what I’ve rally felt, what I’ve really done. Not truly remembering years of my life.

It’s kind of depressing too, knowing that I missed out on so many milestones and experiences in high school and college that everyone else got to have while I was in a haze, convinced I was fine, but really I wasn’t.

I find myself worrying about younger me. There are times when I want to go back in time and take her in my arms, no matter how much she fights being embraced, and tell her that it’s not alright and that she needs to get herself together and figure out what’s going on before it’s too late and all of her chances to be a normal kid are gone.


I read this back to myself and I ask now, why I’m writing this. Why I’m going to share this on my blog. What’s the significance of it? It’s not something I’m looking for encouragement or reassurance on, and I’m at a point where reassurance and encouragement would just make me angry.

(Ever felt that way? It’s a ridiculous feeling.)

This is my state of the union speech.

This is my update because I know that there are people in my life who care.

This is me telling myself that it’s going to work out.

This is me just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

In the last year I’ve said that I want to go back to school for teaching, so I can teach English on a high school level. I’ve said that I want to go to graduate school for creative writing, or maybe literature so I can teach on a college level, or maybe just for the heck of it.

I’ve even thought about pitching an idea for a travel column/food blog type of deal. (Not completely out of the running yet.)

But, let’s be honest, none of those feel right. No matter how much I pray, no matter how many times I ask God what to do. I always seem to hear a “I have something else in mind.” kind of response.

I apply to any job I can find that I remotely qualify for that uses my degree in an interesting way, but I never get any calls back. I never get asked for an interview.

That’s okay, but the discouragement is real and there’s not much I can do about it but keep trying, keep praying, and hoping that it works out.


Right now, my greatest joy in life – teaching first grade Sunday school.

There’s nothing quite like it when you see something start to stick in their heads, when you start to see them understand God’s love and how they need to have it and show it in their lives.

And, honestly – I think I sometimes learn more applicable things from the Kids’ lessons than I do from going to the adult service and sitting through a sermon. (Even though I’ve been trying to do both.)

God’s got a plan, and while I’m antsy to figure it out, I know it’ll work out. There’s a reason I’m where I’m at, and a reason I haven’t had all the experiences I think I should have had by now.

There. Is. A. Reason.

It. Will. Sort. Itself. Out.

God’s. Got. This.

I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Today has been a day off. I haven’t gone anywhere, or really done a whole lot. But, I have done one thing. I’ve been creating. (I also applied for my first car loan *shudder* and searched around online for cars within my pre-loan budget… b/c I haven’t been accepted yet, DUH!)

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Going analog with The Disappearance of Clara Summers, in the background you can see my Intuos Art sitting on my computer that I’m using to draw digitally.

(I also shared some work that I created previously. Here, here, and here.)

I can’t tell you how good it feels to create again, and not just because I’m sitting with a heating pad on my back, on and off, while I do it. I wish I could do this all day, every day. Sadly, I only get eight days a month to devote to creating. (That’s 25% of my month… less!)

This last week I’ve managed to talk myself into working before I go in to the day job, or to sit down after I get home late at night. Yeah, 10pm isn’t late to most people, but I’m like 80 years old when it comes to the time I want to be in bed. #DefinitelyNotANiteOwl

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life. I’ve tossed around the idea of going back to school to get my teaching license, going to grad school like my friends from BSU English and getting my Masters in Creative Writing, and I’ve even considered just dropping everything, moving to New York, Seattle, or Chicago and just seeing what happens.

Teaching License: uhm… I like teaching Sunday school, but the education system itself is really screwed up and I’m just not ready to handle that.

Grad School: How in the world am I supposed to get the money for that/apply for grants/scholarships? I’m probably the most skittish person in the world about applying for things. It’s taken me a year to convince myself to apply for a car loan, and that’s only because I don’t have a lot of options at the moment. Let alone, I’d have to apply to actually get into the programs. (Let’s face it I’m a ball of skittish neuroses and I don’t like sticking my neck out there.)

Which is exactly why I can’t just up and move cities without like a decade of planning, some counseling, and a tub of ice cream – actually ice cream sounds really good right now, but that’s beside the point. In other words, that’s DEFINITELY not happening.

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Clara Summers – My latest and most favorite creation.

Yet, as my brain starts itself back up through the rust and dust, I can’t deny that it’s been a year (minus a few weeks) since I graduated college and I’m starting to feel antsy. I hadn’t planned to be living with my grandparents and still driving one of their cars by this time. I certainly hadn’t planned to have done so little creative work over this last year. You saw how I was at the beginning of 2018, I was all fired up for, like, the entire month of January! And then I fizzled again.

 

I feel like I need to do something, that I’m supposed to be somewhere else, doing something with myself. I’ve been blessed that God has not only given me a job, but the endurance to keep working that job – even if I complain a lot, don’t enjoy it like I did, and hurt all over. But, there’s more to life, to my life, than the garden center at Lowe’s. On top of it, just after this last weekend, with our season really starting with the break in crappy weather, I can’t help but ask myself how much longer I can keep up at this job before my body just drops.

Right now, looking forward to my daily creations and my daily devotions are the only things that keep me going to work every day and not giving in to the depression.

Knowing that there is something else I need to be doing – even if I don’t know what that is just yet – is pushing me out of bed in the morning. I may not look forward to going in for the day job, but I look forward to getting home and creating something, continuing the creation I began that morning, or have been working on for a while now.

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Charlie – My favorite doofus. (Don’t tell my brother.)

I have my favorites playlist going on my iPod every time I sit down at the computer. I’m getting into a routine with it. I’m getting to the point where I can shut off the rest of the world again. Well, except for doofus, he doesn’t like to be shut out with the rest of the world, so he hides under the desk while I work whenever he feels like he needs to be noticed.

 

I think he’s happier too, now that I’m creating again instead of lying in bed on my phone or watching Netflix all day when I’m off. Tomorrow morning I was even thinking of taking him to the park or to the pet store for a “field trip” with just the two of us before I go look at a car in Mishawaka in the afternoon.

Creating again is like a drug in its addictiveness. I’ve been focusing for so long on what I want to do with my life and where I’m at that I set aside my skills as a creator, as a storyteller, and let them get covered in dust. That was a dumb mistake, because I know one thing for certain: whatever it is that this drive to do something with my life is pointing me towards, I’m going to be creating when I get there. I can’t see myself doing anything else in the future. No matter what my day job is now, or in the future, whether or not I travel or go to school – in my daydreams, my creativity is always there, even if it’s not the main subject, it’s there.

Whenever I think about the future or about the past, I can’t imagine putting it aside, not after all the work I’ve put into it, going to school and getting my degree in writing, investing in art supplies, I can’t give up.

So, yeah… I’m creating again, and I’m excited, and I’m going to do anything I can to keep this going. I don’t want to let this go again. No matter how hard it gets to drag myself out of bed in the morning, it’s just not going to happen again. I can’t let it.

The year is almost a third of the way over and I haven’t been where I wanted to be creatively for the last month or two. I haven’t even kept up with this blog like I intended. When I started the year I had intended that I would be looking for my passion again. My will to create, but it’s been harder than I thought. My depression and anxiety have fought me every step of the way and I’ve let myself fall into the trap of work and letting my job drain me so much that I can’t think when I get home.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been trying something. I’ve been trying to say no to my bosses, not taking on the burden of everything at work. There are ten other people in the department now. They have responsibilities too. They can take care of things. It’s not completely on me if things don’t get done. I’ve been beating myself up for months about things not getting done. I didn’t take breaks, I came back early from my lunches. I got frustrated and angry to the point that it was leaking into my personal life and I was snapping at people that had nothing to do with any of that. I let myself get so drained by the stress at work that I forgot to have a life outside my job.

I stopped writing. I stopped drawing. I didn’t really even read or watch T.V.; I spent hours and days surfing the internet and Facebook. When I did read anything or get into a T.V. show I got so lost in it I forgot what the real world was.

On the bright side, I’m starting to recognize the symptoms of my spirals quicker. I’m fighting to get out of it again. I’m trying to be more faithful in my devotions, and in my creativity. I’m forcing myself to keep going, to keep improving, and to let it all go. I’m forcing myself to let go of the world and cling to my God and the gifts He’s given me.

I’m searching for me again. I’m searching for my creative spark. The one I’ve had since I was a kid. I’m not going to let the daily life of my job and the world to beat me down. I’m not going to be some complacent cog in the machine.

I’ve started teaching myself to play the piano. My grandma has an old upright in the living room that almost never gets played anymore, but I’ve been practicing whenever I’m the only one in the house because I’m still shy about playing around other people.

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Clara Summers, my OC

The last few days I’ve been drawing again. I’ve been getting myself reacquainted with Clara Summers, the character that inspired me to start drawing so that I could see her face outside my head. I’ve even started working with my art on a digital level to see what I can do with these tools. I’ve been trying to do it without using too many functions beyond a charcoal pencil, just because I want to master drawing before I master the tech, but it’s proving to be fun.

I can honestly say that not letting my job, my anxieties, and my frustrations control my life has been the best choice I could make for my creativity. Sometimes it’s harder than I would like to be able to set it all aside and leave work at work, but I keep telling myself that it’s not my circus. I have no authority at work, and I am not the only one there so I am not responsible for picking up everyone else’s slack. I can pick up some of it, but I have my own tasks to accomplish and I can’t push myself to the breaking point anymore for people that won’t do the same for me if I’m sick or hurt.

My back has started hurting again and getting worse. I’m moving a little slower, refusing to do things that I know will hurt me. My boss had an issue with that because he thought I was telling people I was back on a weight limit, but I haven’t been doing that, just saying that I can’t lift it on my own and that I need help. I’m not going to beat myself up anymore. this is my day job. It’s just temporary and I’m not going to lose everything else for it.

I am a storyteller. I tell stories through writing and art. I’m learning to play the piano and eventually I will tell stories through music too.

I am not just some grunt laborer at Lowe’s. I have to keep telling myself that. I am going to be so much more, but only if I focus on my creativity. Only if I strive outside of work to achieve my goals. I can’t let it kill me, it’s just temporary.

Like a side quest in a video game, it isn’t part of the main story. It develops me as a person and it will build something in me. What, I don’t know. But it will help me on the long journey as long as the main story, the big journey, is what I keep on my mind because I’m better than that. My side quest, my day job, doesn’t deserve to kill me. If anything is going to get me, it better be a monster on the main storyline, not some side fight.

I am 22 years old this year. I remember too many school shootings having happened. In wake of the most recent shooting in Florida, I don’t know how to respond anymore.

As a young conservative, I believe in our right to bear arms – for defense.

But, the ugly truth is, weapons weren’t all designed for defense, many were designed for offense. They were designed to kill.

At the moment, I’m all in favor of taking every weapon on the face of Earth, putting them on a rocket, and launching it into the sun along with all the blueprints, instructions, and any information on how to make these weapons. Outlaw, the creation of them and the idea of violence at all.

But that’s a dictatorship that I can’t begin to imagine beyond this. What’s more, it would be wrong to impose my will on anyone. But, the thing about not tolerating violent acts like this, is that at some point you have to impose your will on someone or something.

At some point, legislation has to be enacted.

At some point, we have to do something!

Death is never acceptable.

This morning I woke up with the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas running around in my head.

It’s a poem that I feel speaks to us all now as loudly as it did when it was published in 1951. “Wise men at their end know dark is right,” these words are what draw me to this poem. This is talking about wise men at the end of their lives. But, people who die prematurely, this line isn’t about them…

Thomas’ poem isn’t a call to old men, it’s a call to young men, and women, to fight against what’s happening to them. To fight against early death, against senseless death. It is a call to those who realize that they had so much potential, but didn’t go through with it and accomplish anything with their lives – to rage against the dying of the light, to not go gentle into death. To not just stand their as they are cut down and killed. It’s a call to fight, never to take anything lying down.

I see so many young people being bashed for “being liberal” and “too easily offended” – but what’s really happening, is young people fighting back in the only way they know how.

When I hear someone crying out about gun control laws, and our need to implement them, I don’t see a liberal young person fooled into thinking that guns are killing people instead of people killing people, I see a human being, afraid that they’re not going to survive because there have been 18 school shooting in 35 days.

I live in a very conservative household, and I myself am a conservative. When my grandparents – usually my grandfather – hear anything about gun control, there’s usually something to be said about it. Something about taking away the people’s rights and about how legislation is already in place against murder, and things like that. Anything that can possibly dispute the need for gun control, for better legeslation to keep things like this from happening again, and I can’t stand by it anymore. I can’t listen to that anymore without saying something.

We have to do something. While I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking away all firearms, I’m also not okay with anyone, anywhere, dying when they don’t have to. Dying when they shouldn’t.

I normally stay out of politics, but enough is enough. Something has to be done. I don’t know what, but we can’t continue like this. No one deserves to die before their time, before they have a chance to live and do what they need to do to make this world a better place.

I have people in my life that will tell me that we’re going into the end times, if we aren’t there already, that it’s going to get a lot worse, that we can’t fight it, but Jesus will come back and then everyhting will get better. Basically, what I’m hearing from these people is that we shouldn’t fight. While I believe that Jesus will come back and that this will get worse before it gets better, that doesn’t mean we can’t fight.

We have free will. God gave us that. It is our responsibility to stand up for what is right.

It is not right to go gentle into that good night.

It is not right to stand by and watch innoccent people die.

Jesus preached love. Total, unconditional, unrelenting, and sacrificing love. Is it any way to show love by watching people die just because you weren’t willing to give up your guns?

So, from one conservative to anyone who will listen: take the guns, put better healthcare in place for those that have mental illness. Quit holding onto weapons designed to kill, just because you think one day you might need to defend youself. There are other ways of defending yourself, non-lethal ways.

Do not go gentle into that good night! Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light!

Do not let anyone else die needlessly. Don’t tell me that God wants us to just stand by and let it happen when there is a possible way to stop it right in front of us. I don’t care if it hurts you or me, if you saved a life in doing it, that’s love. That is true, unconditional love, sacrificing something of your own in order to save someone else, even if it hurts you in some percieved or unpercieved way… that is love.

Do not go quiet into that good night.

Fight, fight to stop the fighting.

Sometimes, the only way to win is with a sacrifice of your own.

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He takes a slow drag –

an unfiltered cigarette.

There is no one around

the night is cold as he walks alone.

The dark city streets

menacing enough to keep the toughest men inside their homes

Another drag

slow and long

he doesn’t look before crossing the street.

He walks on,

lighting another cigarette

on the end of the first.

Standing out against the dark

a cherry red glow

Like the dying glow of a midnight campfire.

He should go home

he knows it.

He takes another drag

smoke fills his lungs

he ignores the surgeon general as he lights one more on the end of this one.

He lingers on the street

but he does not enter the bar.

If he drinks with people

it won’t be the same.

At home

he opens a bottle

alone

where no one can see.

He does not use a glass.

He takes another drag,

not caring that he is falling asleep.

Another drag.

Another gulp.

His eyes start to close.

He doesn’t put out the cigarette.

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So, last night I officially launched my Patreon Page on Twitter. patreon.com/mkharlan I have a page pinned on my blog roll about it, but the official launch happened on twitter last night. I’m going to be promoting it more and more this coming year as I continue with my journey to rediscovering my passion for my work, and do my best to be the writer I want to be.

On Patreon you can subscribe just to get updates every month about how my writing is going, or you can get involved with my work and see more of it before the rest of the world sees it, possibly even some work that the rest of the world will never see because I want to give fun things to you, my loyal patrons. I have the rewards up for January, except for one… I mean, I launched it last night and the reward is literally about me overcoming my anxiety to make a video for you guys. I have no motivation to do this right now so my anxiety and I are quite happy where we are.

As the year goes on I will be focusing on creating art and writing, and getting better at both. I’ll be reading more, writing more, and creating more. Patreon is the front row seat for this journey. You get a chance to interact with this journey of mine on a more informal and personal level, and you’ll see more than the average readers of this blog see. You’ll get monthly updates, sneak peeks, and fun conversation and discourse that the rest of the world doesn’t get.

PLUS you get to claim the snazzy title: Patron of the Arts… along with several members of the British Monarchy, past and present, Elenor Roosevelt, and many other prominent historical figures.

The idea behind Patreon is to bring back the old system of patronization where artists, writers, actors, musicians are paid by people who appreciate their work to create more of it. You are not our employer, but you allow us to focus on our art and you get a first look at it before everyone else does because you are the reason we are able to create.

Shakespeare wouldn’t have been writing as many plays as he had if he hadn’t been patronized by people like Queen Elizabeth.

You can support me by following this link: patreon.com/mkharlan

If you decide not to support me, there are plenty of amazing artists, writers, and creators of all types on Patreon that deserve to be supported in their dreams of becoming full time creators. Who knows, you could support the next Maya Angelou or Ursula K. LeGuin… then you’ll get bragging rights to say that you knew them when they were just starting out. How cool would that be?

I know this is a long shot, and I’m relatively new to the literary world, and extremely new to the art world, but I sincerely hope you see potential in me to become an artist and writer that you can be proud of!

I hope to see you join me on this journey!

Best Regards,

M.K.

This article inspired by a recent initiative from DePauw University. Shared with me by a Ball State English Professor and amazing literary citizen.


So, a few days ago I went looking for something on the #bsuenglish blog. Back in October they were providing this really nifty page on the blog where every Monday they added a new prompt for blog posts. I wasn’t using it every week, but it did spark a couple of articles for me that you can read here and here. It also sparked my motivation to get this blog rolling again after a dozen false starts and a platform change from Blogger to WordPress in the last 4-5 years or so.

To my surprise, I found that the prompts page hadn’t been updated since October 2017. So I sent out a tweet…

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Because, let’s be honest, I’ve committed to a new blog post every Friday at midnight, I HAVE A DEADLINE, and sometimes I just can’t get the writing juices flowing for anything that isn’t supposed to be a short story and turns into another attempt at a novel. So, I was really hoping for a prompt. As you can see from the screenshot above, I got one reply. It was from Professor Cathy Day, an amazing writer and professor in the Ball State English Department. I never had the pleasure of joining one of her classes due to scheduling conflicts, but she was still an amazing help when the insane schedule I had caused me to break down in the library at 1am during my third all-nighter in a row in the second week of my last semester… so, yeah, I LOVE Cathy!

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When I saw this, I read the article and sent a reply.

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And that was the end of the conversation. This happened on Tuesday, today is Thursday. In all of my college education filled intelligence, I didn’t realize until about 9am this morning (It’s 9:21 as I write this part.) that Cathy gave me a prompt the same way the BSUEnglish blog had been doing last year. All I thought about was 2 things:

  1. What did she mean not a lot of participation? That was gold right there. People doing part of the work for you, providing topics and inspiration relative to today’s world! Why wouldn’t anyone want to jump on it and take advantage of the discussion provided right there?!
  2. Why doesn’t Ball State do something like this? I mean, as someone still working at Lowe’s and really in a rut with my art, writing, and really everything, this seems like an amazing opportunity and I wish I had access to it.

So first, let me state again: I LOVE Cathy! She is an awesome and supportive person, even if you didn’t take any of her classes. She is a literary citizen extraordinaire.

This article isn’t really a Cathy Day love fest, though. Maybe I’ll write one of those later this year when I’m strapped for ideas. 😉

Neither is this article entirely about the initiative from DePauw University she told me about, though I’m sure that’s what she thought.

In the link Cathy gave me, DePauw University is announcing to alumni, which Cathy is one, a new commitment they are making to parents and students. If after 6 months their graduates have not found employment or entered graduate school DePauw will provide “an entry-level professional opportunity for them (at no less than six months), or give them an additional semester of education tuition free to further hone skills and knowledge.”

One of my first thoughts about this was that parents should keep their noses out of it and if a student wants to pursue a liberal arts education rather than a STEM degree, let them. It’s their choice, their life. But it was the commitment that DePauw is making that really floored me.

As a recent graduate who did not go to grad school right away, if at all – I’m still thinking about it and would probably really love to, and I’m still working a retail job that is trying its best to make me physically incapable of performing the tasks it provides me, I would love it if there was a support like this for me.

I won’t lie, I’ve been really depressed lately, some of it is hormones, but a lot of it is that I’m watching people I consider friends from college publish, get jobs in their field, go to grad school, move to the city, travel, doing amazing things with their lives. Meanwhile I barely have a presence on social media, I’m in constant physical pain because the job I work is a manual labor job with almost no use of my degree outside of the critical thinking skills I learned… and I may soon be unemployed because I don’t think I can continue this job without permanently injuring myself if I can’t get my body to heal. I’m 21, that’s too young for a permanent back injury. I’m still living at my grandparents’ house, and while I pay rent, it just isn’t being independent enough for me to be a person.

And that’s enough of the pity-me-fest… I told you, part of it is hormones, I’m 21 and only just figuring out who I really am outside of the structure of school – what do you expect?

But, without the amazing support of the #bsuenglish community, the Stars to Steer by Facebook group that Cathy has going, and the amazing friends I made at BSU who are encouraging me, recommending books to read, and just generally being awesome people, I’d be lost!

This post is kind of a thank you to them, as well as a way for me to understand what’s been going on in my head lately with all of these topics.

Support after college is one of the most important things any graduate can have. Even if you don’t get the job, just having someone who is constantly sharing job postings, letting you and all the other alumni know that hey, here’s a position/internship/whatever you should qualify for after going through the department programs.

No, BSU doesn’t provide me with an entry-level position. Neither are they giving me an extra semester tuition free to further hone my skills and knowledge to get a job. But, they are all there as a support group.

When I’m feeling down or like I’m a failure. I message a friend that also went through BSU English and has been through the same spot I’m in and I find encouragement, a few laughs, and solidarity.

It all makes me wish I’d done more to get out and be a person in college. I would have loved to hang out with these people, get to know them better in class, and join the clubs and causes they were in. I let my introversion and fear of going outside my belief system keep me from that. It was stupid because these are amazing people. They support amazing causes, and they support each other. I really wish I’d done better to get out there and be more interactive, but these people support me.

Even if it’s just with a book recommendation… or a list of books, in reply to a Facebook post.

So, this is my long-winded and rambling way of saying thank you to the friends I made in BSU English and to the community that is #bsuenglish for being there, for supporting me, and for just being a group of awesome people. Community is so important for everyone, not just writers and post-undergrad students who are feeling more than a little lost.

I love you all, and thank you!

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