Well, here we are. The dreaded cap and gown are close enough to touch, and the pollen is coating the sidewalks on the days without the infamous April showers. The end of the year is upon us, and with it, the end of life as we seniors know it. Our time at MSA is bringing it’s Twilight years to an end, and I figured that warranted one final return to the blog world.
Firstly, I am sorry for my extended absence. To say that my senior year has been chaotic is the understatement of a lifetime, and that’s coming from someone who had the junior year that I did, so you know it’s saying something. I have done so much growing this year in so many ways that I don’t even recognize myself, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I am looking so forward to getting to know this new me, and I thought that should be recorded.
Truthfully, I’ve avoided writing this blog for quite some time. The infamous “goodbye blog” has been on my mind since I read Lauren’s at the beginning of junior year. But the idea of actually sitting down to write mine brought me so much sadness. Writing this meant that it was real, that it was truly almost over. I avoided the blog when I accepting scholarships, on Awards Day, at Prom, at my senior showcase, through all the big milestones. But I couldn’t make it go away. I cannot escape goodbyes. So, I may as well say them with as much grace as I can.
I’d like to wish the most complicated goodbye to the most convoluted place I’ve ever been. MSA, for better or worse, was the first home I ever knew. It was the place where I first found people that not only loved me for who I was, but who I would become. The first place that allowed me the opportunity (and the catalyst) to grow into someone that I would be proud to meet in the mirror today. MSA was the place that I discovered who I was. It was the place where I finally found, or rather learned how to create a reflection I was proud to meet in the mirror every day. It is, in every way that matters, the origin of me.
Granted, it wasn’t always the happiest of beginnings. MSA has been the sight of some of the most taxing, challenging, heart wrenching emotional battles of my life. I have known heartbreak and strife here like I have not anywhere else in my life, and I have had more than my fair share of experiences. MSA has broken me completely down more times than I can ever count, and it has never been gentle about it. But it has always built me back up into someone better.
If you would have told me when I first got here that the platinum haired hopeless romantic gay boy in skinny jeans that walked in on New Student Day would graduate a gender-nonconforming, emotionally mature, mentally aware, self-loving, kind, brown-haired enby, I would have thought you were absolutely insane. I would not recognize who I am today, and I could not be more thankful for that fact. Who I am today is someone who’s beauty was beyond the imagination of who I was when I walked on this campus for the first time, and I cannot fathom something more miraculous.
This place and the people in it, in every way, good, bad, and messy, have changed me so completely that I quite literally cannot imagine the path my life would be on if I had not come to this place. Who I was is gone, and who I am is better than they could ever have imagined being, and I am so grateful for that fact.
So, a thank you to everyone I’ve met here. Whether we hated each other or were the best of friends, whether we spoke once or every day, whether you didn’t even know my favorite color of if you know my deepest, darkest secrets: thank you. Thank you for the part you played, however big or small, in the wonder of helping me becoming who I am. Thank you for helping me learn to live and love my life.
And to anyone who reads this, from my fellow soon-to-be graduates to the juniors who will take our place next year, and even those who will come years after me and find this blog on an old, dusty webpage in the twilight years of the literary program, my words of wisdom to you are this:
Embrace everything about this place. There will be good, there will be bad, there will be beauty, there will be ugliness, all of it to degrees you could not even imagine, much less survive. Don’t let that scare you away. This place has the potential to grow you into someone you could not even imagine being. It can hold some of the most beautiful, pivotal, formative, miraculous experiences of your life if you let it. Don’t miss your chance to change, and don’t be afraid to become whoever you want. That’s what this place is for.
Love each other, remember your kindness, look forward to your changes, and remember to say hello to the ghosts of seniors past when you’re walking to your classes. We all leave a piece of ourselves here. Don’t be afraid to leave yours.
With all the love I have in my heart to each and every one of you,
-Love, Elliot <3