As Boston College students, it can be tempting to hide our struggles in the constant quest to appear perfect. Embracing our truths can help us to understand ourselves and experience the world around us as genuinely as possible. Authentic Eagles is a series that gives a voice to the people who have experienced firsthand the trials and tribulations of being one’s authentic self at BC.
Ben Wilson, A&S ’14
When I'm Seventy
Sometimes I use death as a weapon against myself,
To wonder if anyone will notice I live.
I put myself above others,
Only to fall down, again.
How do I live without grasping for more?
How do I know who I am?
Do the questions ever stop,
Or just are they just easier to embrace?
When I am seventy,
I want to wake up knowing that it’s cool to be Ben,
And be cool with just that.
Sometimes I make the same mistakes over and over.
Falling with nothing to grab.
When I am seventy I want to fall without punishing myself for not being able to grab onto something.
When I am seventy, I want to find a place where I can sit on the edge of the world and know that I am a small, vital part of something bigger. To affirm my existence with humility and wonder.
Basically, I just want to live in New Hampshire.
Today was one of the days where I sat down but couldn’t sit still.
I look inside myself and find a black hole that doesn’t seem to fit.
I fight the urge to wipe clean what seems broken, messed up, and confusing.
The never ending bruises and doubts - the small needles that prick.
Where is the path from which I stray?
I want to be able to sit with a friend who can’t sit with themselves.
I want to be able to sit with myself, even when I am scared of what I might find.
When I am seventy, I want to be able to sit without falling into a black hole.
I want to be real for a living. I want to look past all of the little things that divide us - race, gender, sexuality, family background, money, prejudice - and just be with other people. I want to look back and know that I never stopped pushing myself to be more honest, open, and vulnerable.
I want to put my faith in vulnerability. To know that even when I am rejected for my vulnerability, being vulnerable is better than hiding from myself.
The trick is to know how to be open with the people around me without asking for anything in return.
When I am seventy, I want to be a real person.
If we are going to truly recognize a preferential option for the poor,
We need to admit that we are all poor.
If we are going to address world hunger,
We are also going to have to address depression, anxiety, fear, and shame.
If we are going to live,
Why not choose a life that means something?
Even if I don’t create my own meaning,
I can still see a life that is meaningful.
When I am seventy, I want to look back and see that I put my faith in the goodness of people despite not knowing if it meant anything at all.
There is a wound on my heart that pulses whenever I let my shield go.
Sometimes it radiates warmth and sometimes it shivers in fear.
When I am seventy, I want to live without a shield.
There is a part of me that exists below my thoughts and emotions,
A kind of floating with no where to go, surrounded by emptiness that isn’t empty.
Falling with ease as if through an infinite cloud.
A space where time melts and tension floats away.
My mind sends ripples out into the distance as my body sits in stillness.
When I am seventy, I want to float in stillness.