An ode to me


I’ve spent the last four hours, off and on, writing and re-writing column after column after column, and every word I wrote just seemed expired. Stale. Like I’ve written it before, like I’ve said it before, like it’s already a finished column under my staff profile. 

And I’ve spent the past three years writing, writing, writing. I am full, so unbelievably fulfilled, by every word I’ve ever written—but there’s a part of me that feels so empty. There’s no metaphor for it, no simile, no alliteration for this thought—it simply is. 

I feel hollow. 

Writing, putting thoughts you may have never spoken aloud onto paper, is so stripping—it makes me feel like everyone can see my heart, my ribs, my soul. I’ve written so many columns to specific people, about specific feelings—whether they’ve known it or not—and each of those are so personal, almost too personal. My staff profile, at least the columns that comprise it, are fragments of me. 

So here’s an ode to me—every piece of me for the past three years. To the words that make up me—the words that make me feel so empty, yet so full. 

An ode to “I want to live in a bubble,” my very first published column on the site—a candid one about life and death. I was a freshman when I wrote this, a freshman who was wary of the world and unsure of my place in it. To freshman me, the one who wrote this column, fear and anxiety had no right controlling you the way it did so strongly then. You do not need that bubble that you so desperately craved—you can live, and you can live like you will have a tomorrow. 

An ode to “I see the world with a different lens,” which is such a stark contrast from my very first column. Still a freshman, but a few months older, a few months wiser, I want to thank that version of myself—that fragment—for finding those colored lenses. For finding joy rather than fear in life itself. 

To sophomore year me, the one who wrote “I change with the seasons,” there was no need to fear fall, for you did not fade—you flourished. I know you didn’t believe it at the time, but looking back—so strongly reminiscing that fragment of me, that period of my life—you did not fade like you thought you would. Here’s an ode to November, to not fading, and to sophomore year. 

An ode to “Average,” a moment in time where I felt exceptionally dull—I had my first AP class, and math, as usual, to blame for that feeling. To sophomore year me, to this fragment of me who felt so mediocre, I promise you’re not. Better things are coming. No, you won’t pass the APUSH exam, but that isn’t what matters. Better things are coming, better than passing an exam, I promise. 

And to the me who wrote “Telling myself third is okay,” why were you so dramatic—you know you didn’t practice as much as you could have. I wish you knew how this year’s chair test went so you wouldn’t feel so down, but more than that, I wish you knew that your worth as a musician—but as a person, too—is not determined by a few minutes and a piece of paper. An ode to third trumpet me, who had no idea that better things were coming. 

An ode to “Bottled emotions for sale,” a column I centered around one single line I wrote that I really liked, which was “the weight of what’s not your own is crushing.” This was a weird one, one that I’m still not really sure what is about, but this is my ode to the me who could transform one line into a completed column. 

An ode to “Seed of thought,” written around the time of studying Romanticism in Honors English 10, one of my favorite units ever to this date. Here’s to thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking. An ode to the part of me that cares, and thinks, and isn’t afraid to have an opinion or a thought about something because indifference is a killer sometimes. 

An ode to “Exploring expression with a familiar, yet unfamiliar pen,” a time where I could articulate how words aren’t enough sometimes. I remember what sparked the idea for this column and the exact phase of me that wrote this column, and here’s my ode to that fragment of me—one that recognized the hollowness of words, yet still wrote about the soul-stripping nature of them. 

An ode to bangs, bangs I cut myself, and to the bangs that influenced “I am a recognizable stranger.” To freaking out about how different I looked but not at all recognizing the growth that came with a new year—yet another year writing for the site and spilling my soul in column after column. An ode to you, to me, to not being who I was yesterday nor who I’ll be tomorrow. 

An ode to figuring myself out, to slowly finding my place in the world, to wanting to succeed while maintaining my sense of individuality, to telling everyone, but most importantly myself, that the only constant is who I am, not what. To the me who wrote “I have an answer to a question that wasn’t asked,” thank you for wanting more, more, more and for sticking to that. 

An ode to “You are my stardust,” a direct/indirect message to the reason why I flourished in the fall last year. To me, to you. An ode from me to you. An ode to feeling so strongly and for packing that feeling so tightly into those words. 

An ode “I tie my life to your balloon and let it go,” a vulnerable collection of words that left my heart bare and soul stripped—thank you for writing even though it’s hard sometimes, thank you for wanting balloons to last forever even though you know they float away, and thank you for breathing even though the air is so limited sometimes. 

And, finally, an ode to feeling proud. Proud of the words I wrote, the same words that leave me so hollow sometimes. To “Between lightning strikes,” my favorite piece I’ve ever written. An ode to the little things, the big things, and counting.

An ode to me: the clearest picture of me.