Once again, I find myself stuck in between words, staring at the clock as I wait for the anxiety to hit. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts, but articulating them has never been my forte. The idea of language has always been to help ease the flow of conversation. As writers, our use of words allows us to go beyond communication. Language bridges the gap between imagination and reality, giving the user the skill of creation. The ability to comfort someone or expose them to a feeling greater than themselves has been the ultimate goal in my search for higher education. The idea is to leave behind something greater than myself. Yet, the formation of such a legacy is difficult when you do not have a stable sense of just who you are exactly.
Education has often been linked to capability and intelligence. However, the process rarely leaves room for personal growth. In fact, the true structure of education has often been set to mold your being in favor of someone else. Individuality does not stem from picking apart those above you and reconstructing yourself in their image. Despite the diversity and versatility that comes from such a transformation, these pieces will never become you. They remain the thoughts and ideas of another. There comes a time in which each student must begin to make the distinction between themselves and their teachers. The label of ‘student’ starts to become a physical weight on one’s shoulders. The looming question, as you begin to get fewer guidelines, becomes how do you create your own voice?
Writing is much more difficult when you need to do so in your own style. It’s much more than just putting thoughts to paper. Throughout the semester, I’ve had to cope with my lack of confidence and inability to properly plan out my pieces. I struggled a lot trying to make my work sound similar to what other people were posting. I felt as if I could stylistically mimic them then I’d be doing something correctly. I limited myself in almost every aspect when I first started. Throughout the entire class, I rarely spoke. I feared speaking or analyzing, having my blog posts public and even approaching others when I had questions. As a freshman, I already felt a sense of insecurity but to be put in the same category as upperclassmen only deepened this feeling. So instead of actively developing posts, I mostly took to overthinking which caused massive delays. Even as this reflection continues, it takes hours to be able to jot something down.
Despite the delay, the blog posts I created progressively began to depict my abilities and interests. My first post was undeniably lacking in content and contradictory at best. I later learned that it was too structured, it was the product of me trying to be professional and laying out everything before I had even started. It was uncharacteristically me, the awkwardness was evident throughout the entire piece. While I had researched my topic, my piece read more like a presentation rather than an analysis. This was a recurring problem I had that thankfully minimized as I progressed. The topic would dominate my writing as I regurgitated the information rather than unpack it. The common theme throughout my blog posts was labels and the impact of interpersonal relationships. Following this, I then published “Value in Degradation” almost an entire month after. The transition between the two is clear, I approached this piece entirely differently. In the midst of a four a.m. stream of consciousness, I transcribed an entire conversation I had with my roommate that same night. The post needed quotes from Jemison’s work and even a call back to a classmate’s previous post but the tone here was completely new. It was a much clearer depiction of me. The post dealt with the reclamation of words and taking the power away from a word used against you. I felt as if, without knowing, I was doing just that. I was reclaiming my position as a writer by establishing myself.
One of the last blog posts I did was called “Not Your Prince”. It dealt with the relationship between Nassun and her father. A lot of us resonated with Nassun because of the fact that she was so lost. However, instead of lost or confused, I viewed Nassun as simply underdeveloped. Not in the sense that her character was poorly written, Jemisin did an amazing job at characterizing her. Yet, as a person, she was restricted in many ways. Nassun’s development had previously been tied to a primary male figure. Throughout the trilogy, we see these paternal characters become increasingly dependant on Nassun. So much so that she begins to act with them in mind. It’s almost as if her actions are no longer her own, her choices depend on who she’s with. In a way, I connected to Nassun. She had always had someone to guide her or structure her life around. As we get to the end of the series, Nassun loses the two primary figures in her life which leaves her alone. This ending, the moment in which Nassun is removed from Jija, Schaffa, Essun, etc, is where she begins to be herself. At this point, she is completely independent in thought which leaves her unstructured, similar to me at the beginning of this course. Despite this, she remains steadfast and poignant with her ideals. It is this self-assuredness that I have come to grow into. Previously, within my blog posts, I had reflected upon my development. “Nobody likes the Opening” speaks to the struggle of finding your voice. Once again, I relate my work to Nassun’s capability. Both of us, as underdeveloped characters, have grown within the shadows of others. In this shade, we found ourselves conforming to the shape we were thrown into. To go outside of the boundaries would be to disobey. For Nassun, stepping out meant contradicting her guardian, endangering her mother and even disregard her father. In my case, to overstep meant to neglect the teacher’s wishes and in turn, get penalized. It is only as we begin to step out of the path given to us that we seem to find our way. Being able to reflect upon your own work by seeing yourself within it has always been helpful in promoting the advancement of a creator. Jemisin’s work became a mirror into the world around me, allowing me to properly put myself into perspective.
The progression throughout my work is evident through my shift in tone and confidence. I have grown, much like Nassun, to embrace the skill I have and become comfortable in it. This course has allowed me to broaden my talents and focus in on what characterizes me. Coming into this course, I did not expect the amount of layered information that was to come. However, the biggest shock has stemmed from the course’s in-depth focus on the understanding and growth of a writer rather than simply the product. They say that a creator leaves part of themselves in each piece they make, and this blog now has documented my evolution.