It has been a WHILE. I’d like to say that I’m an avid writer who picks up my notebook to scribble down lines of poetry and little philosophical bits on the daily, but sadly, I don’t live up to my own standards of artistry. Life gets busy, to put it simple. My urge to write has been strong many times, but I could never get myself to sit down and write a cohesive thought. But here I am again, partly out of necessity and partly because I have time for once. So here I am, prepared to describe the changes and journeys of my past year that I hope will encourage you, help you feel less alone, or to reflect on your own year in your own specific fascinating way.
A year ago I was recovering from a anxiety/panic attack of the worst kind. I truly believe that sophomore year of college is where growing up really hits you, at least for me. I found bravery in myself that I never knew was there, and decided to fight the deep pains and and questions head on. I am so glad I did that, because I am a changed person twelve months later. This brings us into the first chapter of what I like to call “Becca gets back at Becca.” This phrase was coined by my dad who observed that after crying about a fear of mine, I turned around and got back at myself by driving on the highway at night for the first time (I had just gotten my license, which is why it was a big deal.) This year was full of moments like these, moments of me pushing myself to fight for life without fear. No one else was going to be able to do it.
My first months were me saying no to more things, giving myself grace, and taking care of myself, which is an art in itself. I decided to not put deadlines on my art, because school is full of them. I knew that I couldn’t fight the process of growing up anymore, but I also didn’t need to rush it. It is a process that takes a very long time. So I worked all summer, got a license, and stabilized myself. The biggest changes happened when I went back for my junior year. I felt like so many fears that I head been relying on had been crippling me and I couldn’t lean on them anymore. I found less and less excuses to avoid difficult decisions. I kept deep friendships that were healthy for me and distanced myself from those that were causing me pain. That was the hardest thing of them all. The growing pains of life and the shifts in those who surround me are the hardest.
My parents moved to Poland, which was the big shadow looming over me this past year. But I had people loving me though it and letting me cry, laugh, and process. I discovered that I am so much more strong than I thought I was. I processed heartbreak by getting bangs and playing Florence and The Machine on full volume. Thanks to my roommate for dealing with my artistic whims. I dealt with grief by dancing, I asked questions and let myself not know the answers. I doubted so many things, my faith in God was challenged, but through it all I always found peace. The truths in my life that I could rely on were that I do believe in the Gospel, despite my struggles, I am equally capable of weakness and insurmountable strength, I am made of many places that have equal value, and I am an artist who needs to work, to ask the important questions.
I turned 21, grew as an actress, learned Shakespeare, studied the Holocaust while being in Fiddler on the Roof at the same time, which was both a balm to my soul and a sobering challenge, I was blessed by wonderful female friends who raised me up daily and helped me grow, I took more baths, burned more candles, ate more cheese, walked in the snow barefoot, finally illustrated the majority of my secret project, danced my heart out, grew my hair out, cared about the world in a new way, cried about politics, organized my life in small and big ways, saw theater that changed my life, made theater that changed my life, props managed three shows because I’m crazy, cried in the rain, saw old friends, drove for the sheer purpose of feeling independent and maybe getting ice cream, truly appreciated my North Carolinian heritage, revisited my home in Ukraine, made a home in college, painted a blue sky, grew closer with my best friend of a sister, celebrated the small and big things, lost my voice when the Cubs won and felt patriotism, cried in the elections and felt patriotism, asked God countless times about the evil in the world and death, grew plants, spent time alone, sang songs with a new voice, remembered ancient memories, played like a child, went on adventures, held tight to those who hurt, learned when to say no and close books, and traveled by myself for the first time. The list is endless, but years are full of the days when we do the small things like clean, paint, and do laundry, and those days when we encounter pieces of eternity, the impossible and amazingly possible.