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I must admit that I am envious of your shadow.
We walk together along the same path but on different sides of the road. Your shadow sometimes crosses over mine, and I feel the warmth of our friendship along the forms of shade and sun. Your graceful silhouette casts over a vast area that I only dream of exploring. People flock to it, seeking relief from the hot summer rays, and your shade only grows. People love the confidence of your movements, the beautiful contours of your face.
In the evening, after the sun has set, I hear about it how your shadow has molded with others—dark hills of lips meeting other lips. You say that you are tired of dating, done with seeing Harvard boys. And I just wonder what it would be like to have my own silhouette gazed upon with such desire and lust. Sometimes I think you do not realize how much your beauty influences the people that gaze in your direction.
Friend, I admire your shadow. Its influence transforms the surrounding views of many. I sometimes think I am not worthy to have our paths overlap, considering how cool you really are.
You say I am sometimes conservative in my actions, that I should be more confident in myself. Your coverage seems effortless; you never seem to be stretched too thin. Yet I know how determined you can be.
You never directly tear me down. I realize that you are full, and that it is easy to overlook the times I am feeling down. Your comfort is cheerful and high but the shape of your embrace is swift and fleeting. I sometimes have a hard time believing your quick words because I have a hard time believing the spans of my shadow myself. I wonder how you observe your own shadow, how others see mine.
Although at times I feel small in comparison, you make me want to reach and grow, to take more risks, even if it means my outline might get lost in the crevices of the brick for a little while before they resurface. The sun rises with a new semester, a new home with new figures walking by our paths along the street. There are too many times when I have felt lonely, but hopefully this new light casting down upon us will make me less afraid to step out of my comfort zone into new paths of light. You make me want to feel safe in my own set of darkness. But until then, I guess I’ll keep crawling out of the crevices towards the edges of light.
Now with the semester coming to an end, I realize that it has been a long march. My pack is heavy. I am tired. Even though you’re usually right next to me, I barely see you now. Our paths cross less. We live differently. Sometimes your shadow crosses mine, but now its often brief and fleeting. On my own trail, I can only guess what is beyond the brush.
Yet the distance has allowed me to grow, to strengthen my own legs. I realize that I do not want my shadow to stretch like yours, but to be dense and full of feeling, raw honest feeling.
The lack of sleep makes me realize that for what its worth, I am working, I am living. To breath in the dark cool air during the late nights in the d-hall, seeing others around me working hard, my actions have to be deliberate, time is sparse, and things always have to be gotten done. For all its worth, it’s worth it. For you and me, we are living our lives deliberately, and differently, from each other. Neither is bad. I can learn and will keep walking. My shadow will twist and turn the rhythm of my own gait. I have come to terms with trying to love myself instead of comparing myself with others that cross the same trail. I am enough. Because at the end of the day, when the sun goes down, it is not the shadow that defines, but the being that creates it.
Karaghen Hudson ‘18 lives in Mather House. Her column appears on alternate Mondays.
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