by Mellisa Mulia
Blank. I draw yet another one as I stare at the blank word document sitting in front of me, waiting to be filled with words.
Blank, like the walls around my room when I wake up every morning, fumbling for the alarm clock.
It’s rather unsettling, but as I fill up this document with words and more black ink, it slowly becomes filled. It is splotched with experiences and emotions. It holds my deepest secrets and becomes the tissue to hold my “word tears” when I need it to.
But it all started out as nothing, not even a single scratch—pure blankness.
However, as the “scratches” accumulate, colors are added, and as I sit here nearing the end of my senior year, I realize that the document and wall I started out with is no longer all there is.
Freshman year. Boy was I scared of being pelted by pennies. As Kerry (my infamous sister), left me to find my own classes and I pulled the straps of my bright red backpack closer to my back, I felt lost.
Like the rest of the student population, I circled around C-Building a bunch of times, fumbled with the lock one too many times, and tried to see if people broke out into song like in “High School Musical” (it never actually happened, but then again, the movies don’t get everything right). I was new, I was fresh, and most importantly, I was lost. Here I was, quiet, shy and reserved Mell trying to find a niche in this school.
Being intimidated, I didn’t join clubs immediately, not until Kerry told me to join the club whose members keep shouting while wearing tutus, or perhaps the kids who love to write and stay up ’til ungodly hours.
Needless to say, I joined such groups with wide eyes and curious tenacity.
As I stepped into the journalism room (one week later than everyone else because I had just gotten back from vacation), I was immediately pierced by Ms. Langevin’s stare. I could have backtracked and hi-tailed it out of there, but instead I straightened up and marched straight to her.
“Hello! I would like to join journalism.” What was my first assignment? Write about journalism.
Sophomore and junior years were the beginning of an existential crisis, dealing with the difficult subject of chemistry, and questioning my ability, or inability, to dance.
There was no doubt; I hated P.E. I was not the type of gal to enjoy running for fun, which is why I decided to join dance. The sports my friends joined were unfathomable. The swim team was out of the question, due to my inability to stay calm in the water, and the tennis team too, because I am much more likely to trip over my own racket or get pelted by tennis balls (much bigger and more imposing than pennies) than actually succeed.
I resorted to dance. Who could have known what would happen as I stepped into that gym, besides becoming more flexible and actually touching my toes? In addition to the flexibility, I found more confidence in myself.
Although I was not good at dancing, I kept working on it and improving. Eventually, I found out that I could do a body wave instead of the awkward stop motion movement I had mastered. It was progress, adding yet another splotch of experiences onto the blank.
Senior year. Finally, I could graduate. I could drive, I could stay up later. I could do anything. But…not everything went my way. In reality, senior year became the perpetrator pelting pennies at me all year long. As I took leadership roles in my extracurriculars (organizing practices for Musicians United, writing for the paper, snapping pictures for CSF, trying not to trip in dance, nor break a string in orchestra), I realized just how much I did in school.
People began to look at me and say “Are you crazy?” when they realized I juggled that many APs with that many extracurriculars, but I liked it.
Perhaps I was crazy, but if I loved music, writing and dancing so much and did not want to give up one for the other, why should I feel burdened by doing all of them? Rather, I did not see things as “too hard” but rather a challenge to do more. It was a constant change in the quest to improve. As Henry David Thoreau advised, I had to find myself to find the things I needed.
The blank began to be colored in, splotched with experiences and memories, and eventually all of these marks began to add up to the me I am today. The blank walls I woke up to in the morning are filled with pasted on write-off awards, polaroids and BTS pictures. The document I end this very moment has way more words than when I started.
I am at the same place, I am still in high school (albeit not for long), but I am not the same person.
I have the best of friends, new friends, the greatest supporters, a fellow reader who decides to remain anonymous but makes my whole month much brighter when I receive another letter from him/her—I have found my niche; I have painted the blank with color. I have been through emotional turmoil, existential crisis and have shed many tears, but I am no longer afraid of being lost and inexperienced.
To my readers who have been with me on this journey, I hope your blank will be filled in whatever you choose; holographic, rainbow, glitter or matte, and is so covered that the blank is not seen underneath. Do not be afraid of being afraid, as change is constant and time will flow.