Finding peace through writing

The orange colored notebook is unmarked, not a scratch on its smooth cover. You might assume that it is a new diary or sketchbook, but that is where you are wrong. Upon closer inspection, you can see the cracked seams brushed with dirt. It has been opened before. The pages are lined with colorful notes. It tells a story of organization and methodical planning. But in between the lines are scribbles and words that reveal the owner’s true feelings about the contents of their story. 


I believe truths and stories are subjective. Each person lives their own life, and as a result, everyone experiences their own truths. In a school of thousands of people, we trudge through the halls, dimly aware of all the other stories existing around us. It is impossible to learn everyone’s story, so we choose whose stories we want to hear. I’ll tell you my story now, but not the whole story, as I will never hear yours. 


The story starts not with the notebook, but a podcast I listened to a few months ago about two intelligent women. One woman does not introspect, she simply observes her surroundings without a second thought. The other woman, however, has thoughts constantly circling her brain. The analogy that she used (one that I have come to appreciate) is that her brain is like a washing machine. Thoughts slosh in her head in no particular order, spinning and crashing. I realized that my brain works the same way, and sometimes I wish I could turn it off for a bit. 


I often wonder how many people around me simply take in their surroundings, or how many have a washing machine of their own.  


One day, when my washing machine brain was whirling at full speed, I picked up that orange notebook that had sat on my shelf for years and opened it. The first blank page stared back at me with an invitation to start. What I was starting, I wasn’t sure. So I began to write, unloading my laundry onto the page. 


I used to dislike writing with rubrics, word counts, and subject requirements. It wasn’t until I opened to that blank page that writing became something new. I wrote down whatever thoughts came to mind. Had I not picked up my notebook one day and allowed myself to just write, I might not have suddenly found an outlet in writing. 


Now that we as seniors are graduating, new thoughts are spinning in my washing machine. I and many other seniors are faced with the sudden reality of leaving home and starting something frighteningly new. Thoughts of “What if I’ve made the wrong decision?” and “How do you even pack to go to college?” tumble around in my head. 


With the future ahead, I try not to spend so much time looking over my shoulder, into the past. I resist the urge to flip back through the pages in my notebook to see if I missed anything. I’d like to think that over the last four years I did all that I could to have a memorable high school experience. If that is not the case, however, I will be sure to take note in my notebook, and then flip to another page. Because when we finally graduate and walk out of ETHS for the last time, a new life, a new trial, and a new story will begin.