The 20s are all about being in the middle. One of the ways we understand is in the context of  a literary narrative. We are the protagonists of our own life stories (out of necessity). What that means at the same time is that no matter what we do or wherever we go we are still the center of our worlds. It's both kind of sad and empowering. That means even when we feel invisible, or when we're over all the hype around us - we haven't really shifted in our chronicles. Absolutely all the time we're in the midst the crossfire.

When I was younger I had this irrational goal of becoming a celebrity or famous. I don't know what it was about stardom that gripped me so tightly. Everyone just seemed so happy and like they were constantly having the time of their lives. As soon as they hit the red carpet all eyes were on them. Calvin Klein suits, stainless steel iPhone case, and bright white smiles - what could be better? Thoughts of flashing lights, beckoning calls, and the smell of my own cedar wood/washed cotton cologne (don't ask me why) illustrated my walk into the uppermost echelons of popular culture relevancy. Nowadays I don't dream about being renowned as often but the inklings are still there. Sometimes you get caught in the crossfire.

Coming to the realization that being the center of attention can be thoroughly problematic is a tough lesson learned. The dark side of a public identity is never having your privacy respected. Your life seemingly belongs to the world along with all the dirty details, hard moments, and unflattering imagery. You are also expected to be perfectly poised, profoundly potent, and properly put-together at all times which leaves you little time to be yourself. People want you to be their entertainment or play out a persona they perceive you to have when in fact it may not be you at all. There's no escaping the pressure. You're trapped, albeit in a glass house mansion but one that's still see-through nonetheless.

This week I understood more and more how I am somehow still intrigued by the concept of fame but also thoroughly turned off by it. I have been known to be make an entrance (or rather show up perpetually late and charm my way to apology-ville) and to keep it real (*read speak some personal truths that just so happen to resonate with others). On the flipside of it all are venting rants, miniature breakdowns, and unsafe thoughts. It's a tough life but one I both choose and have been tasked with living. Constantly caught in the crossfire.

My days often consist of getting up by 7AM and not getting back to my apartment until after 8PM only to do homework way past midnight and the vicious cycle again. Wednesday I made it through my classes and zoomed through TV, fraternity, and newspaper meetings before journeying home to struggle with staying awake to read for the next day's classes. Thursday came and with it were staying checked in to class and preparing to give my #blacklivesmatter perspective on having to earn respect for your humanity (hint - you shouldn't have to). I was sweating with anxiety but I spoke, looked out in the crowd, and delivered. I broke down in the middle of it and kept on reading. Tears streamed down my face, a lump refused to dislodge itself from my through, and my hands shook uncontrollably but I finished. I felt like I was bearing my soul and honestly I had. As soon as it was over I felt so relieved. The pressures of way too often being the one to share were taking their toll. I was left in the crossfire reciprocating awkward thank you's and floundering to find significant words of encouragement for others afterwards.

The night continued with me talking about race/racism with visiting exchange students from South Africa (as if I hadn't had enough for the day) but the conversation was deeply moving. They said some amazing things that I will take to heart.  Danie, Jani, K.B. and the rest of group gave some truly magnificent insight. A few hours later I was at it again heading to bowling night with my brothers and friends. I think they all sincerely enjoy antagonizing me to no end but I guess I let them do so. I kept up with my old high school JV average and spent quality time with some of my favorite people in David, Kyle, Connor, Willy, and my ever thoughtful friend, Aaron. Getting home past midnight, having not started any of my work for the next day left me in a bad place. I was hungry, tired, and frustrated which lead me to legitimately crying into a bowl of Chinese food (#firstworldproblems). But unproductive thoughts of self-harm were my cue to head to bed. The crossfire was getting to me. 

What could one more day of being thrust into the center of it all do for me psyche? Friday started with me getting up 6AM to do homework and prepare for meetings. I took a much needed shower and strolled into class late (living that careless senior life) before zooming to a racial climate meeting with the President of my university with other students. It was emotional but also powerful. Again I was late to class and had to check some people but my day was nowhere near being done. I cleaned at home and soon was off to fraternity dodgeball. Dakota, Christian, and I dominated the turf and I had an epic time pummeling people, laughing my ass off, and dodging like none other. The night ended with a miniature birthday party for Dakota that somehow ended up being about me and being run ragged. For once, something was not supposed to be centered around me and of course it did. I'm tired. I'm done. I'm over it. Sometimes I just want to be just be - ya know? Get out of the crossfire.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you do in the spotlight? Honestly, it kind of freaks me out but I'm learning to overcome the initial fears.


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