On my desk there is a 96 pack of crayons—deluxe version Crayolas with the built-in sharpener and bonus glitter crayons. The glitter crayons are my favorite. I don’t use them very often, maybe for writing a birthday card or impressing a boy with my jungle animal drawings. I am also not a very talented artist. Most of my work is lopsided (thanks eyesight). But there they sit, all 96, waiting for my not-so-creative inspiration or bizarre form of flirtation.
Someone once asked me what the story was behind my crayons. I pretended there was some elaborate tale to justify why I had them, in my room, in college, as a senior. But there’s not. There’s no secret or adventure that brought them to me. I wish I could easily explain the crayons—let alone the Pentels, princess dresses, Madeline books, and constant Disney music. But I can’t.
I thought they were just a part of me—a quirky trait that makes me unique, and, of course, more appealing to guys. But I am not Zooey Deschanel. My crayons and excessive amount of childish crap are not endearing or enticing to anyone, especially CMC boys. Aside from being kick-ass TNC outfits, my costumes and art supplies rarely benefit me in any personal way.
So why then do I have, and keep accumulating, all this stuff from my childhood? Even though my collection of costumes and crafts has been growing since I was a freshman, only when forced to part with my princess dresses did I realize its meaning.
During my time at CMC, I have been stuck in limbo, no longer an ignorant kid but not quite a responsible adult. Sometimes this in-between stage can be challenging. I have the knowledge to be self-sustaining but not the ability to be financially independent (sorry Papa Hall). Most of the time, though, I get the best of both worlds here: the respect of a thinker and the forgiveness of a child.
As is the case with many CMCers, my life prior to college was a bit of a roller coaster, filled with highs, lows, and unexpected turns. When I was 11, my mother was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer. Fours years later, she passed away. I was 15. She was gone, and all I had left of her were memories and souvenirs.
When you lose someone, it messes with you. You feel like you are being torn apart and swept in every direction. You never feel whole again.
In Claremont, I felt like I was forgetting my mom. I had left the home she raised me in, my sister and father, and the elegant smell of her perfume. CMC distracted me from my grief and I began to enjoy life again. But I was missing her and no one knew.
So instead of confiding in friends and being vulnerable, I clung to everything physical that reminded me of her. A vintage set of the Narnia series, anything Jane Austen, stuffed bunny rabbits, tiaras, and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter. I bought it all. I would walk around before big parties and glitter-spray friends, not because I was excited to see The Glitch Mob or dance to DJ In2ition’s beats, but rather because I think I subconsciously wanted to remember her.
Through this physical attachment, I found myself becoming more and more like her. I enjoyed the same things she did and developed similar passions.
But now this has to end. I guess it doesn’t have to, but it needs to. CMC has extended my childhood and allowed me to remember the best parts of it and develop a new relationship with my mother.
I am petrified that leaving CMC means forgetting her. After I sell my crayons, do I have to start remembering all over again? When I leave CMC, am I leaving her too?
I may sell my crayons and leave, but I will not forget her. During my time at CMC, I have grown through this weird limbo and learned that being an adult means making instead of having.
President Chodosh says that CMC is about “liberal arts in action.” Personally, I never quite saw how this applied to me, but now I think I do. Just as knowledge is powerless if you don’t take action, crayons are pointless (pun alert) if you don’t create art.
Post-graduation, I will no longer have the 96 deluxe version Crayolas with the built in sharpener and bonus glitter crayons. Instead, I will help kids color their loss and craft their feelings, creating art and making memories of my mother.