My toes balance on the slotted, concrete boat launch, and the water around my ankles is cold. I walk forward, and the water makes itself known higher and higher on my body. Goosebumps coat my skin: I know I must dive in and that it will be warmer once I’m submerged.
Growing up, my anxiety was like a cloud. Always there, mostly invisible to others, making everything a little bit more grey. For many years, I thought that everyone had one. I had always been taught that my brain was my most valuable possession.
We are basically in a relationship. It’s been eight years. We’ve lived together for two and a half, traveled around the world, hung out with each other’s families and are currently listed as each other’s “emergency contact.” You can find us eating most meals together in Thorne, popping up most often in each other’s tagged photos and wearing full-set matching pajamas when we go to bed together each night.
The summer before to my freshman year, a burglar ransacked my house while I was home alone. It was a lazy morning. I was reading in bed when I heard the first knock. I continued reading without pause, noting that my mother—the only other resident of our home—was not due home until lunchtime.
Two years ago during my sophomore fall, I stumbled across an opinion article by Professor of Philosophy Sarah Conly in the Boston Globe. Professor Conly was writing on the heels of China’s decision to end its decades-old one-child policy and allow two children per family.
“Perché gli americani vogliono imparare l’italiano?” (“Why do Americans want to learn Italian?”) This was the question my friends asked when I told them that I was going to go from working on my Master’s in Italy to teaching Italian conversation at Bowdoin.
When I was looking at colleges, I placed a very particular (almost unreasonable) emphasis on the weather. I wasn’t looking for anything perfect; rather I wanted something different. The weather in Los Angeles always seemed too sunny and perfect—in fact the weather in California is so perfect that we have a perpetual problem with droughts.
Two figures stand under a tree near the Bowdoin Chapel. It is a birch tree or maybe an oak—I am not sure, and it doesn’t even matter. The tree is just beginning to bloom. Its silvery green leaves shudder in the cool May breeze, and its rosy buds are filled to burst with flowers that reach to meet the morning sun and cast stippled shadows across the grass.
In high school, I spent countless hours babysitting younger kids. It was my primary source of spending-money and more importantly an experience that helped me grow immensely as a person. Kids are full of contagious enthusiasm that makes it hard to be anything but happy when you’re around them.
“So, you’re a vivid dreamer. You really need to get those dreams analyzed,” my doctor told me with the authority of her white coat and the distance of a wide desk. I discussed the recurring themes and characters in my dreams: my middle school volleyball coach, my first boyfriend, my second boyfriend, my family friends, my parents.