Courtesy of Eliya Imtiaz

Position(s): 2021-22 Managing Editor; Fall 2021 Senior Editor, Summer 2021 Managing Editor, Winter 2020 Senior Editor, Fall 2020 Columnist

Section(s): MiC

Semesters at The Daily: 5

I’m not the best at goodbyes. Shit, I really really really hate goodbyes. My thought process is, if you and I are at the level of explicitly saying it, instead of slowly faltering, instead of gradually saying hi less and less, if you and I need to draw that line of finality, why would I want you out of my life? It even reflects in my vocabulary: “bye… I’ll see you tomorrow”, “I’ll see you next week”, “I’ll see you soon”, to a faltered “I’ll see you.” 

So naturally, today I’m writing a partial goodbye to Michigan in Color. Because just like the people I’ve met and the memories I’ve made these past years, it’ll never really leave me, just like searching for Arrows (or Eros) International in a twin bed for three, eyeing garlic sauce at hometown Lebanese restaurants and concocting half cups of chai on the 8th floor of a noise complaint-ridden University Towers apartment. What I’ve gained from Michigan in Color are aspects of my identity and key components of my life that are simply permanently ingrained. In reflecting, I’ve realized that MiC is a real life practicum of arguably the most important tenet of anything good: trust. 

At this point, I’d like to make a disclaimer: if I’ve ever uniquely bestowed my advice to you at any moment, reader, I’m sure you’ve heard what I’m about to say. It always starts with an: “I saw a video on TikTok that said…” 

Some of you have heard this specific one: the idea of the video boiled down to the notion of trusting yourself. Essentially, every time you do something that makes sense to you, going forward and doing so is a direct indication to yourself that you trust your judgment. Every time you don’t do so, and stifle your inner monologue, you essentially tell yourself that you don’t trust your discernment. Regardless of whether or not this idea is right or wrong, astute or a generalization, deep or fake deep, it’s undoubtedly stuck with me and led to many moments in my life I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 

When I look back on what brought me to this notion of trusting my inner monologue, I think of when I began to articulate it. A look through my editorial record of pieces written for Michigan in Color makes clear the shifting trajectory from analytical pieces about politics and culture to narratives about my identity, my thoughts on l*ve, and my goals in life. Senior in Troy High Eliya would be shocked. Honestly, Junior in College Eliya wasn’t exactly cruising either when publishing “On Being Cupid’s Twin”, asking Yasmine and Easheta every three seconds, “are you guys sure it’s not too honest?” 

An adage almost as old as time is that MiC is an amazing community. But in picking apart why that is, I’ve realized that MiC is beautiful because of how foundational that same trust is to our mission, but in a different sense: trust between an editor and a columnist that our joint singular goal is the best piece that represents a columnist’s work; trust between two editors-turned-best friends that your work is poignant enough to tug at heartstrings, but not specific enough to call in the mystical haram police. Shift has often been dubbed therapy sessions, with everyone sitting at the table with the blue mini car and discarded boba cups jumping from topic to topic only as easily as a group of students with undiagnosed ADHD can, discussing how you can write that, where you read a piece that had similar voice, why you should publish, even if anonymously. 

Within the parameters of that table, every idea is worth being explored. The expression of these ideas is rightfully viewed as such a sheer act of bravery, because our family back home might read it, he or she might read it, that hiring manager might read it. At the core of our section is the purpose to be a voice for the oppressed: throughout our statements, analyses, poetry and more, we’ve dealt with our fair share of controversy. For the sake of the word count, I’ll lightly summarize that controversy as Good Trouble. Amid these possibilities, we carry on with trust— trust that things will simply be afterwards. I’ve seen firsthand repercussions of varying extents for certain pieces that writers have decided to publish through MiC, and the next day have seen the same writers come in ready to write their next piece. Oftentimes we take these acts of courage to no avail of their supposed goal: not every article wins a prize, not every confession brings them back— your heart may go through cycles of hardening and thawing. Such is the push and pull, but throughout that friction, we keep creating, we keep doing. In witnessing this bravery, I’ve come to realize that the opposite of fear is actually that very trust — trust that things will ultimately reach some form of homeostasis after the feat that is taking that risk of exposing our thoughts and vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities so easily roll off the tongue due to the deep friendships made in Michigan in Color. I can’t thank MiC enough for the experiences I’ve gained through its butterfly effect: singing the high note of “everytime” by Ari (nickname basis) with Kat from the streets of Chicago one month to the nefarious sidewalks of the Law Quad post-messy-Ricks-Thursday the next; marveling with tears of joy over how damn good that Hazelnut croissant from the Starbucks Reserve was with Anamika (just! enough); coercing the consistently late Neil Nakkash to pick up cookies for Yasmine and me as we muse over love and loss; debating with the brilliant mind of Kè Cruz why it should be capitalism, not capital; having every single Monday shift fail the Bechdel Test with Anchal and Kat, the list could and does go on.

I can’t summarize my time in MiC without acknowledging the sheer privilege it has been to be its managing editor this past year alongside Jessica. Jess, you are the paragon of considerate leadership. In my third year at The Daily, you so elegantly mask your shock that I’ll still intermittently forget we don’t use the Oxford comma here. Your work ethic inspires me boundlessly, and I want us to take this moment to be proud of ourselves. As Jess and I have discussed, managing MiC has literally and figuratively been blood, sweat and tears (once I got a papercut during shift, don’t worry.) We’ve definitely gained a gray hair or two, but MiC has been the truest form of a labor of love. 

That type of love doesn’t die, doesn’t cease and doesn’t go with a goodbye. So while I may finally close the infinitely open Google Drive tab on my laptop, while I may not trudge over to 420 Maynard chronically late for both Sunday meetings and shift, I can’t really say goodbye to Michigan in Color. It’s not honest. What I will say is, I’ll see you. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but I’ll see you.