this is what i can tell you about the start of my college experience:
the walls were white and the floors were gray. and we spent hours upon hours sitting on those gray floors, an imagined coffee cup between our hands, a teacher asking: but how do you know it is a coffee cup? what does it look like? what does it taste like? what does it feel like in your hands? is it heavy? hot? how does the liquid move? what color is the mug? is the handle curved? cracked? and on and on the questions went. infinite, malleable patterns.
i went to school and was taught to ask the questions.
it almost sounds ridiculous.
but there's this funny thing that happens, after a while--after you've asked so many questions about something that doesn't exist--it does. it does exist. it takes shape and it's suddenly real. not because there are no questions left to ask but because you've kind of entered this weird little world in which the questions aren't the point. they are your way in. they point to the point. and when all is said and done, that coffee cup is between your hands. so real it is, that no one can deny to you its existence, and even if they tried, it doesn't matter--you don't feel the need to defend it.
once we did the coffee cup, we moved on to other things. eating utensils and chairs and monkeys and rocket ships.
don't rush it. just ask the questions. and so the mantra went. and so a foundation was built.
the irony is not lost on me that now--so long after college--my life is question after question after unanswered question. and no one would like them answered more than me, but there comes this small voice--the eighteen year old in me who had no idea how any of it would turn out--who still doesn't, don't rush. there are things i was able to anticipate about living alone. and then there are the things i couldn't foresee: that the buzzer would buck me from my skin the first few times i heard it or how the questions that i've sat with for so long now would begin to press in in a way that is louder, more immediate. it is startling just how ferocious they've become and just how quickly the change took place.
i can't say with clarity what i want for my life. and i can't say exactly what type of woman i'd like to be. i don't know where i want to live or what i want to do, but i do know i will endeavor, at all costs, to live a full life--whole and happy.
and the thing is, that question of what happiness is--for me--begins with a cup of coffee. white mug, curved handle, foam on top. warm, but not hot.
irony. full circle. it all began with a cup of coffee.
happiness begins with my morning coffee. (i was not a coffee drinker at eighteen. and moreover, never anticipated becoming one). perhaps because i know that, because i've conquered the coffee cup, so to speak, now i can to begin to answer--or ask and ask and ask--all the other questions.