My room is a mess. Clothes litter the floor like memories tossed away, and the books I have yet to read continue to crowd my desk. My bed remains unmade. Pillows and blankets lie crumpled and used, exactly the way I left them this morning and the day before. The blinds, too, remain shut. My way of closing out the world. Or perhaps it’s me shutting myself in. My room, my own personal cave. A tomb of forgotten ideas and broken dreams. It’s a monument of all things unfinished.
My life is a mess. I’m due to graduate college a year later than I had planned. I have stories lying dormant in my computer just waiting to get to that next draft. And I have a daughter whom I barely get to see because I’m at the mercy of her mother, my ex. On top of that, I’m in the middle of a long distance relationship. That, in itself, presents its own challenges. In a perfect world, I’d love to have graduated on time, preferably with a degree in Journalism, Biology, anything but English. I’d love to have my stories completed and ready to be sent off to publishers. And I’d cherish the opportunity to see my daughter every day, while also making my relationship work, distance not included. Everything in my life, it seems, is scattered all over the place. Or maybe I’m looking at it all wrong. Maybe they’re exactly where they need to be.
I am not a perfect person, more so like a draft of one. I keep tinkering with the little things hoping that I’ll somehow get better. We all have these expectations of ourselves. To have everything accomplished. To be, in some sense, perfect. In that pursuit, we blind ourselves from the fundamental truth of life. We will never be the best. We will never be perfect. And I feel like that’s okay. Because it gives us something to strive for, like a dream hovering in the air just inches away from our grasp. That’s not to say that it’s unattainable. It simply gives us something to chase.
There’s beauty in conflict. We just don’t see it right away. These obstacles, they’re all a part of life. We need conflict like a plant needs water. How else are we going to grow? We all have a choice: either settle into complacency or embrace conflict. Which one do you think allows us to evolve? That’s right, I’m picking number two. We learn. We gain a greater awareness of ourselves. We become. Over the course of time, we change, and conflict is simply the pathway that leads us down that avenue.
As I stand here looking at the mess I’ve made, I find myself oddly at peace. Yes, I am the one responsible. But I am also the only one who can get myself out of it. So as strange as it is to say, I am grateful to have these conflicts. They’re part of who I am. And they will determine who I’m going to be. Now, it’s true that when we overcome one hurdle, we face another. I know that as eager as I am to graduate college, I still have to face the harsh reality of finding a job, a place to live, etc. Other hurdles already in place. The point is to keep on going, to sort through the mess. After all, a messy room isn’t going to sort itself out. Neither will our own problems. We can let them pile up. Or we can manage them one at a time. That, at least, is in our control.
Of course, I don’t have all the answers. And that’s okay because I’m not perfect, nor am I striving to be. I just want to live. I don’t know what’s going to become of me further down the road. But that’s the exciting part. The uncertainties. The possibilities. That’s entirely out of my hands. I can only hold onto what I’ve got right now. My daughter. My girlfriend. My English degree. They’re more than enough to keep me going, to see me to whatever end that awaits me. For the first time in my life, I am embracing the chaos. I am finally managing the mess. Will I allow this room to get cluttered again? That remains to be seen, like an unfinished story. My life is an unfinished story. Then again, I should be grateful for that.