I was hit with a strong case of the sophomore slump. Depression and mornings spent in bed staring at the ceiling, searching for a better reason to get up other than having to pee. I wasn’t sure if I belonged at Colorado College. Only my parents were proud of my Economics major, and my girlfriend had just broken up with me. I felt lost.
Our enemy surveys. It imprisons. It tortures. It breaks. It severs. It kills. You must know this. You must know that to struggle for liberation is to commit your entire being. It is to struggle for the fruits of a freedom you may never taste. A war that cannot ever be understood as won. It is suicidal.
What do you live for and what do you die for? These are the only two questions that have mattered to me. They rest beneath every other I have asked. They cannot be separated. When you know what you would live for, you know what you would die for. Through tumultuous transitions, I have grounded myself in this reality. I am alive. I will be dead. I live in light of this, for if I live and love knowing it will end, then I will meet my end having lived and loved.
My body does not belong. This truth cowers beneath the shroud of self-preservation that is threatened in my presence and secured through my absence. Whether American patriotism in the wake of 9/11 as I’m called a “terrorist sand nigger,” or Yik-Yak anonymity telling me to go back to where I’ve never been and could never return—for you have plundered it of its wealth, destroyed it of its culture, robbed what you enjoyed and called it your own.
My dad has cried three times in his life: the day his older brother died, the day his mother died and the day I called him a failure. The words came at the height of our most intense argument. My senior year of high school I was in a serious relationship with my closest friend. My parents never explicitly forbid me from dating, but it was an assumption they hoped I wouldn’t question.