I am not a giver, at least not in the way that matters.
Birthday presents are purchased on the way to the party, pages of an old magazine I found in the back of my car as the tissue paper, the back of a receipt as the card, my scrawled signature in blue ink—my inability to ever be anywhere on time, to plan for anything farther than a day in advance on clear display.
Perhaps this could be charming, but my handwriting is often too messy to decipher, and how am I supposed to convey in words alone—words I often toss around as if they are weightless—everything I wish I could say, everything I wish I could give.
I am not a giver, and as much as everyone around me says I am—words I heard especially louder in Room 139 on my last day of high school—I find it hard to believe, to compartmentalize, to stomach.
But when I looked at my staff profile one last time, my 234 stories that trail on and on, every word that The Central Trend has housed these past four years, I saw, truly, just how much I have given this site. And every article, every photo, every Q&A and Humans of FHC and poem—they don’t even breach the surface of my most authentic acts of giving, the heart and soul I have poured into this not-so-little-anymore website I have had the honor to call home the past four years.
I’m not sure 14-year-old me could have foreseen how much this site, the room, the ever-changing staff and furniture and feelings and words, would mean to now 18-year-old me. I don’t think she would believe it, honestly.
I think she believed she could stay in the room forever, watching time and people slip through her fingers as she stayed stagnant on the couch, but forever is a long time in one place. I hope some part of me, whether it’s my brick with my lopsided “S” painted proudly in the right-hand corner or my antique decorations I purchased two years ago, stays in the room that raised me.
If I could give 14-year-old me my acceptance letter to Syracuse, tell her to keep going, keep pushing forward, keep writing, keep editing, keep crying and laughing and moving, I would. But 18-year-old me has it; I have that letter, and I’m going to Syracuse, and it’s because of this site that I am.
I have truly given everything to The Central Trend, and I’m not ready to say goodbye, but I know I have to. I knew, and this really hit me sophomore year, that I would have to walk out the doors one last time—with no foreseeable date that I would return.
That is something I knew, something I know, but I’m not sure it’s something I’ve really processed yet. Some part of me doesn’t think this is truly happening, that I’m going to walk into sixth hour tomorrow, set my backpack down next to a chair I will not spend a single second sitting in, and give all that I have to the people in the room, the site, for an hour.
But I’m not. I won’t. Room 139 is now a part of me just as my first home in Indiana, my house on Weatherford Lane in Illinois, and my home here in Grand Rapids. It is a part of me just as the driver’s seat of my 2003 Subaru Outback, the passenger seat of Lynlee’s car, and every other place I have made my home.
My heart swells with an overwhelming amount of love for The Central Trend and everything I have made of it the past four years. Thank you for everything. And I mean that with every fiber of my being, every part of me that I owe to Room 139.