My walks to dinner are becoming layered, and the sun stops baking the mountains too close to seven p.m. for my liking. And it’s time for Me to start fully and unapologetically being College Me.
I’m trying not to change my whole personality, even though it’s tempting. It’s dangerous to live in a whole new environment where you can so covertly conceal who you once were. I know there are great things about me that I shouldn’t change, like my inclination to talk fast or my love of laying in bed freshly showered listening to Taylor Swift and reading. But who I am has a completely new backdrop now. I no longer have the privilege to watch the tides push sand closer to the seawall or wake up to a cool yellow bedroom plagued with the sound of cicadas. I get to look out my window over heaps of Prismacolor markers and Sharpies and watch the on-campus bus pull in and out of the parking lot on an unbroken loop. I get to lay on Peter’s floor bed, listening to Vessel while smelling the scent of the shampoo I bought per recommendation of Bethany. I get to float in and out of side streets off of Church Street, making mental note of the restaurants with egg sandwiches I want to try.
I’m saying this because I just gave Emily a few articles of Free People clothing that I remember being so excited about owning. The burnt orange lace slip, the one I’d worn to family dinners with my high school boyfriend, layered under opaque shirts and over thick tights, the one I have put in the dryer too many times. I remember my mom complimenting me on the purchase, and I remember wearing it two times a week since. But then it fell to the back of my closet, and the summers spent bike riding in the torn, thin, lacy fabric were just memories. Seeing the purple slip go, the one that Ms. Gallagher has in maroon, was hard. I gave her the white shirt that I wore to plays and parties, over bralettes and bodysuits. I remember braiding my long hair and drawing my eyeliner wings too thick and thinking that I looked good.
It will feel sad to see them on someone else, and I feel like I’m saying goodbye to them forever. But I’m not. Because in two or three weeks layering during the day will be a thing, and she will come out of her class at Waterman, take me to the library, and I will smile and remember. I feel like I am looking back on a real person, a real person who learned things and collected candles and knew who her friends were. I’m so proud of her for existing and realizing her worth and I’m proud to know that that is still me. And people will remember me for those clothes, in those clothes, and will associate my personality with how I presented myself. And I’ll remember how they told me that because of those clothes I would fit in at UVM.
But I like standing out.