Position(s): 2020-21 Digital Culture Beat Writer
Semesters at The Daily: 3
I don’t mind goodbyes — not really, not anymore. Not the way I did when I was a child and I would throw a fit every time my parents toured a house because I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving my childhood home. Not the way I did when I cried for two weeks straight after moving to Michigan from Tennessee. My perception of a goodbye now is different — it’s the turning of a page, the running toward what’s next whether or not that next has actually materialized yet. Goodbye is full of potential. Goodbye is catalytic. It looks like the spark of a match against a matchbox, smells like the first heavy spring rain, tastes like a cup of tea before you go to bed, wondering what you’ll dream of tonight.
Of course I would be remiss to poeticize all goodbyes. Some hurt like hell. The pandemic starting in my freshman year, flying back to the States after a summer of traveling — those are the goodbyes that look like red eyes, that smell like sulfur and taste like wine gone bad. Leaving friends and lovers and family — those are the goodbyes that leave holes very slowly filled, that you think about late at night when you can’t sleep and don’t know why. But, in the end, painful goodbyes have to give way to the optimistic ones or we’d never be able to move forward.
The funny thing about leaving the Daily is that my goodbye is a paradox. When I joined Daily Arts a little over a year ago, I couldn’t define my place at this paper. I felt like a bit of a drifter — floating from article to article, never really involving myself with Daily events or other writers. My goodbye then would have been easy, productive. Then, at the start of this year, my love for this place exploded. The newsroom became my second home, the people on all of Arts and on the Digital Culture beat became my family. I adore this place and I would have it no other way, but it makes my goodbye so much harder.
Truthfully, I don’t want to leave this place. I don’t know if I can without shedding a few tears because this is a goodbye that looks like red eyes, smells like sulfur, tastes like wine gone bad. It’s not easy to find a home at a massive university, but, by some miracle, I did it. Still, the productive goodbye from those early days remains. At the same time that I have no desire to leave The Daily, I also recognize that an exit is necessary. I adore the people here and I adore the work we do, but change is vital to our progress. It is absolutely crucial that we turn the page, that we run toward what’s next, because without those optimistic goodbyes, The Daily would not have lasted all these years. It would not have lasted long enough to become my home, and it would not have lasted long enough for me to say a bittersweet farewell.
To my sweet sweet Arts section: you all inspire me beyond measure. I am routinely astounded by the creativity and joy with which you approach your passions and your writing. You have opened my eyes to a world of film and music and literature that I would otherwise never have explored, and I am so eternally grateful to you all for continuing to push the standards of artistic journalism. You all push me, and that energy will keep me moving for many years to come.
And to my lovely, unhinged Digital Culture beat: how can I say goodbye to you all? It isn’t easy to find people with the same messy sense of humor as you or such vocal opinions about the “Super Mario Bros.” movie. This beat, no matter how small or strange, has become my safe haven. I love each and every one of you, and I would not trade any of you for the world. I am so grateful for the growth of this beat and I hope to watch it flourish for years to come. Until then, to you and all of The Daily: Goodbye, in a hopeful way.