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My First Attempt at a Creative Non-Fiction Piece

I stare at the glowing green numbers of the digital clock in the darkness of my room. “3:08 a.m.,” they read. I let out an annoyed groan. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so irritable if it weren’t the wee hours of the morning and I didn’t have only three more hours until I had to start my day. Damn insomnia. If I’m not going to get any sleep, I might as well not waste the time. I get up, turn the light on, grab a book off my shelf, and fall back into bed. As I’m turning the pages of the novel, from the corner of my eye, I see my reflection and a thought hits me. Turning over and looking directly into the full-length mirror doors that cover my closet, I say out loud softly into the silence, “Who am I?” This is the heavy question that my Creative Writing professor had asked us to think about for next class. I look around my purple painted room and examine all the posters on the walls. Most of them depict the rock band My Chemical Romance because in the eighth grade, when I first obtained my “own” room, I was extremely into the band and plastered my walls with their faces.  Through the years, even though my interests have changed; I haven’t altered my room in any way. It is almost as if I keep it as a memento of happier times.
            I close my eyes and think about high school, when everything seemed clear. I was the classic school spirited nerd at South Amboy High School. I was in both the National Honor and National Art Honor Societies and served council positions on each. I was also in several clubs like Yearbook and Peer Leadership, all while being captain of the Girls’ Varsity Bowling Team. If he or she grouped those accomplishments with a close knit collection of friends and teachers that I had meaningful connections with, one could say I had a pretty great high school experience.
            The idyllic memories are short lived because immediately, my muscles tense up and I squint my eyes shut even tighter as I try to silence the anxious thoughts that are rising in my brain. Despite my efforts, I am soon thinking of the time period after graduation in 2011, when I started my first semester at Kean University the following fall.   
            During this time, academics became the forefront of everything in my life. Gone were the days of staying at school late to host a club event or even hanging out with my friends in the afternoons. School became my everything. I would spend long, arduous hours in the library, just me and my books. I went from being a very involved member of my academic setting to being a lonely hermit, with the sole obsession of getting the highest grade in all my classes. Although my 4.0 GPA was impressive for someone who graduated a mere nineteenth in a class of seventy-three students, I was not enjoying the college experience at all.
            My breath starts to quicken, and I can feel my heart pounding against my chest. “No, no. Please don’t,” I plead with my mind. I don’t want to think of the next part. If I let it start, I’ll never get to sleep! Just as they usually do, my thoughts overpower me, and I think of the Spring of 2012, a turning point for me.
            That semester, everything became too much for me to handle. Being alone most of the time and holding such strict standards to live up to worn on me mentally and emotionally. I experienced anxiety attacks, had trouble sleeping, and would cry every day without fail. My family and friends were obviously very concerned. With their support, I slowly started to alter my ways and found a light at the end of the tunnel. That comforting thought, that I was able to escape my ominous raincloud of an existence, allows me to take a sigh of relief. Despite it being months since I was in my darkest depression, it is still hard for me to think I let myself get that low.
            Forcing away any further negative thoughts, I bring myself to the present, my third year of college. This semester, I came to terms with the idea that I did not want to be an education major. I have now switched over to the English-Writing Option degree, which is where I feel most at home. Although I’m not sure what career I want to pursue after graduation, I think this is where I need to be. I’m in the process of trying to plan my life, after I earn my Bachelor’s degree, but I am also trying to do it without turning into a ball of mush whose only future is that of a padded room.
            I open my eyes and look at my reflection again. “Who am I,” the question presses. On the surface, I am a semester behind sophomore, caught between this and being a junior. I am also a Roman Catholic, photographer, writer, and rock music fan, but is that really all I am? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure “me” out. In the years leading up to college, I thought I would have it all worked out by this point, but I don’t. In fact, I’m more confused than ever! I laugh at myself because I never seem to have things right. I almost start another set of connecting thoughts when the allure of slumber finally comes. I guess the question of “Who am I?” must be saved for another time, when I am actually conscious of what I’m thinking. I feel my eyelids get heavier and heavier as I drift off.  

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About woodh2013

I'm the girl that's named after the famous city of lights and cameras, but am too shy to talk to the kid sitting next to me in class. I'm the girl that blasts opera while I commute to and from school, but is in the crowds of rock shows on Friday nights. I'm the girl who can't draw to save her life, but takes beautiful pictures. I'm the girl who worries about everything, even when things aren't so bad. I can't be put in a box, so you want to know more? Read my work.

2 responses to “My First Attempt at a Creative Non-Fiction Piece

  1. Holly, from reading this I am closer to knowing who you are. Good job (please give yourself more credit than you do!)

  2. woodh2013

    Thank you. Last year was really tough and I was sure I was going to drop out. However, I stuck through it and I am glad I am still in school today. I have no idea where I’m going in life, but I hope it takes me somewhere! Lastly, I’m sorry about my self-loathing, it is very easy to be hard on myself and it has been a habit for a long time. Hopefully I will stop it one day!

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