Artsy Endeavors + Life Updates: Catharsis

mission coffee columbus
The next week will be spent café hopping, crying over math proofs, and attempting to shove 10 months of my existence into one 50lb suitcase
paletas diamonds ice cream columbus
It's always popsicle weather
apples the strip pittsburgh
raw vegan food, eden restaurant pittsburgh
Thank you family for indulging me in my quest for beautiful vegan food
pittsburgh yellow bridge, ivy
Family trips: stopping every 5 seconds for my brother to catch Pokémon, or for me to snap photos
vegan banana pancakes
Vegan banana pancakes for dinner...while listening to Jack Johnson's Banana Pancakes
the arcade cleveland
Adventuring (the Arcade)
blackhand gorge newark ohio
Always more to explore (Blackhand Gorge)
violin flatlay
Quiet mornings
All photos from my instagram

The summer opened with a torrent of tears. 

Hot, salty streams flowed fiercely upon my cheeks hours before I even left the airport to return home from school. The thick storm clouds trailed me on the flight, their morose presence permeating every aspect of my being. The dark fog of my mind starkly contrasted with the majestic, fluffy dreamland I had encountered on my last return. These clouds were relentless. They were heavy with regret, tainted by finality, unyielding to my resistance.

In returning to my hometown, I was leaving home. And this was no "see you later"--this was farewell. Home was college, where I had forged a place of my own--where I dove into resonant disciplines, where I trained along vibrant New England landscapes, where I worked as a math teaching assistant. It was where I had struggled, bawled, roared, and triumphed. It was where I no longer floated among separate spheres, always belonging but also never. It was where I had found my first family of friends.

The bleak showers continued weeks after my return. I bawled after rude encounters, I bawled after reading poignant Thought Catalog articles, I bawled after watching inspirational America's Got Talent episodes, I bawled after chatting with my friends. I bawled because I wasn't ready to let go of my family at school, who would graduate the year I was abroad. I bawled because my cubicle internship felt isolating and unstimulating. I bawled because I yearned to explore, but I was confined to family life in my all-to-familiar hometown. I bawled because I was terrified of the upcoming changes to my environment, relationships, lifestyle. 

I was determined to find myself again. Training for triathlons became my catharsis--I channeled my anxiety and fear into swimming longer, lifting more, biking faster, and running stronger. I turned my tedious workplace tasks into an efficiency game--how quickly could I complete a project without sacrificing accuracy? I read books whose messages inspired me to create my own peace (The Count of Monte Cristo, Adventures for Your Soul, Wild). I adventured to new places in my home state. I learned to embrace the course of the universe and really trust God's plan. (I did not learn how to be less cheesy).

The steady rain dwindled to a drizzle. The drizzle eventually dissipated altogether. The storms returned occasionally, but I was ready--no raincoat or umbrella necessary. After months of attempting to resist the inevitable, to shield myself from pain, I learned. Beneath the violent skies, I laughed this time as water streamed down my face.

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