Gap year update #1: Dancing to Smells Like Teen Spirit. Or, August.


I get to start the day at 8am by kissing my mom on the forehead. I can proceed to open all the windows and light all the candles: Not Your Mama’s Fudge. Lavender. Sherlock’s Study.

If I feel particularly inspired, I sit down at my desk to pen this story. And why not? I have all the time in the world.

I have time to take Daisy on a walk in the woods. I have time to master the guitar. If I feel like it, I can go to therapy early one Monday afternoon and spend the rest of the day at Starbucks just. Ruminating.

I can throw an emergency dance party in the basement for yours truly if I even feel a twinge of anxiety. I can watercolor paint. I can study racism and the social construction of gender. I can spend the entire day writing letters to Glennon Doyle.

In the silence, I read books and my ideas run wild. Suddenly, I want to construct portraits of Muslim women. Then, I want to interview all my closest family members and write reflections on how they make me who I am. But I can’t do that because I’m too busy thinking about how to construct a zine about my past year.

The past year broke me. My legs wobbled just trying to keep up with the ever-increasing beat, but I have never been all that great at rhythm and so with my limbs stretched too far in every direction, I broke. In the process of destroying myself, I hurt the people who most loved me for existing. In the absence of self-love, I worked overtime to fill the void with others’ love and others’ love is great but it will never leave you feeling whole.

So no more manipulating other people and no more trying to control everything. This is Maya 2.0, and she’s here to stay.

What’s Next?

It’s not that I don’t find myself craving the bouquets of number 2 pencils and fascinating readings on African history. I do. The months of blankness that extend before me in my calendar glare at me expectantly. “Well, what’s next, Miss Know-It-All?” I have never wielded so much power over what to do next–it’s always been school, school, school. The what’s next question can drive me to anxious tears just as easily as 5 essays in 1 week can. Ultimately, though, I’ll bounce up and down to Alessia Cara’s Growing Pains until those feelings go away because I of all people know that staying sane takes conscious effort.

This is the SONG of the past 5 years, y’all.

I’ll breathe. Get in touch with my intuition. Reframe.

This is a huge opportunity to fill my time with whatever feels most fulfilling. I’ve already got two main gigs for the semester and a third opportunity is just at the horizon.

Something feels uncomfortable.

Must mean I’m growing.

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