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A head-and-shoulders illustrated portrait of Ceri Riley. She is smiling with her mouth closed, has light skin, and long light pink hair.

A (Belated) Letter to July by Ceri Riley '16

In which I start blogging again with an angsty video

This is the way my hiatus ends

This is the way my hiatus ends

This is the way my hiatus ends

Not with a bang but a vaguely-poetic angsty video. 

It’s been a crazy 101 days since I last posted in this corner of the Internet (even typing that number is terribly guilt-inducing, BUT NOW I AM FACING THE GUILT HEAD ON. TAKE THAT, GUILT.) However, I’m a lurker at heart and have loved keeping up with the other bloggers’ summers through their lovely writing. Anastassia’s post, in particular, helped give me the final push/panic moment/motivation/etc. to just write and edit and finish something. And this is that something. Hopefully there will be many more somethings in the near future, now that there’s a little bit of momentum fueling the blogging part of my brain.

Here’s a transcript of the video for those who might want it (I may have changed a word here or there, some of it was scripted and some of it was just saying words over and over again until they seemed right-ish):

Dear July,

I won’t see you again for some time, but I thought I’d send a note anyway. It’s been a while since I did this. Just writing. The words are clunky in my brain and in my hands and on my paper and on my computer screen. That’s how I’ve felt, though: clunky, with a jumble of thoughts and fears and worries in a tangled cloud around me.
I’m trying to sort through them one at a time. And I’m hoping this will help. Writing, that is. Speaking?

Even though I don’t feel right blaming you, July, you have left me more isolated than I have ever felt before. Displaced, lonely, wandering along sidewalk-less streets before returning to my temporary attic home. It’s a lot less romantic than it sounds.
For the first time in my life, I’m hundreds of miles away from family and friends and not really in a place to make new ones. I mean, I have a job. A job where I’m paying to work for them, the disappointing reality of many internships. But the more disappointing reality is the lack of people my age, the lack of mobility, the lack of day-to-day kindness and stimulating conversations (or any conversations at all).
Early adulthood feels like purgatory. It’s so easy to hide in nostalgia, to bask in the carefree memories, to avoid facing the uncertainty of my present and future. I think mostly I’m just tired.

July, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t recognize me. I barely recognize myself anymore. My body is bloated with sadness that sometimes boils over into anger. It doesn’t feel like me.
I thought being away from MIT would start to fix it, but it’s not like falling and scraping my knee where my body knows what to do to heal. It doesn’t know, and I don’t know, and the melancholy is bleeding out into everything I do. Staining it. Even this letter. Especially this letter. Trying to craft these sentences in a lighter tone feels fake, and I hate that.
Maybe if I keep expelling the gloom, there will be room for something else. Content? Happiness?

I’m sorry, July.

It hasn’t been entirely bad.

I visited friends with you. We had picnics and briefly lived our own summer coming-of-age movie in the space of an afternoon. They’re the reason I keep swimming upstream towards graduation, keep fighting even though every muscle in my body hurts. I don’t say thank you enough.
You brought my dad and my brother with you too, and for that I am in your debt. I desperately needed a slice of home, of people to help nudge me along on adventures and help find warm food for my belly.
These memories feel ethereal, pinpricks of sunlight against a cold, seemingly endless, fog. I like the rain, but fog is heavy and frightening. I need to remember that it’s okay to need help navigating sometimes.

I hope your brothers and sisters will be kind, July. I’ll try to be kind to them, too. And next time we meet, I hope I have more direction, more confidence, more good memories. I hope I have a better grasp of who I am, instead of continuing to fade away.

The cicadas are screaming, July. Singing. Vibrating their abdominal membranes, biologically speaking. The cicadas are shouting from the treetops and some days I just want to shout with them.


Also, this video was inspired by Emily Diana Ruth & her ‘Letters to July’ series.