Letter from the editor: Letting go hurts, but holding on hurts more

art of a hand letting things go
(Andrea Orozco | Daily Trojan)

When you’ve fallen off a cliff, you desperately cling onto the ledge waiting for someone to either pull you back up or help you land safely on the ground. But even when you gain stable footing, the sensation of grip lingers in your palm as you clench your fist holding onto something that is no longer there. Like gripping onto a pen too tight, calluses form and your nails dig into your skin; there’s no need to hold on so tight anymore, but you do so anyway.

While I’ve never fallen off a cliff (and hope I never do), I imagine it’s a lot like life itself. There are times when you must persevere through adversity to reach your dreams and goals. However, not knowing when to give up can lead to cuts running deep into your body and mind. You don’t come out unscathed.

The neverending chaos of the newsroom reminds me of this. While the time I spent there and the people I worked with will be forever cherished, it’s time to let go.

My stubbornness clings onto the ghosts of what once was — people, moments and possibilities that no longer exist. Even if they’re within an arm’s length, I reach over only to find them intangible. Yes, change may be inevitable and adapting to it is necessary for survival, but I’m discovering there’s a difference between knowing this logically and implementing it in my life. 

I had so much I wanted to say in this last article and yet, I’m sitting here unable to finish it — perhaps unwilling to finish it. After countless hours working and endless nights in the newsroom, letting go of the Daily Trojan leaves a gaping hole in my life and I’m not quite sure what to fill it with. Fear is a powerful motivator and the fear of uncertainty keeps me in situations I don’t need to be in. 

Things like my time at the Daily Trojan are both rewarding and damaging. While I am incredibly proud of the work accomplished during my time as an editor and the personal achievements I’ve made as a writer, it put a lot of strain on my mental well-being — giving me many lessons and skills to walk away with but also bruises and wounds I’ve yet to heal from. 

DT isn’t the only thing I leave behind this semester.

Along with the student newspaper, I leave behind former plans of becoming a doctor, dreams of my younger self, expectations of my mother to be the daughter she dreamed of and life of an undergraduate. There’s so much I wish I could’ve done, but there’s even more I can do if I unclench my fist and let the fallen leaves of past aspiration fall as they may. My hands are too full as is.

It’s hard, though, to distinguish my needs from those of others around me when I grew up needing to take care of others. Even now that I don’t need to, I find myself clutching onto this habit that brings me no comfort. The expectations set upon me by those in my life cannot be the expectations I set for myself. 

I’m slowly learning that the weight of the world isn’t on any one person’s back. It only feels that way because I chose to try and pick it up. There’s only so much a scrawny girl like me can carry. Even after letting go, my body remembers the weight of it all, leaving myself beat up and feeling guilty for failing to hold it steady. It’s illogical, I know.

While it’s hard for some to carry on and persist, giving up is harder for me. My mom says it’s because my skull is so thick. My roommate tells me it’s because I’m an Aquarius rising and sun with a Scorpio moon. In trying to cheer me up, my other friends tell me it’s because I’m just strong willed. I don’t know what it is. All I do know is that I’ve yet to find stable footing and decide what I want to do. I don’t even know what my plans for dinner are. 

But every article comes to an end and it’s time for me to depart, closing this chapter not knowing how it ends. I’m not weak for giving up and leaving loose ends untied, I’m weaker if I stay and tangle myself in things I should have left alone. Sometimes words aren’t enough and I’m coming to terms with that. I’ve ran out of time and ink in my pen, so I’ll leave this space for you to fill in my place: