I’m not a surgeon, so I won’t be able to help you. I can barely string together a sentence without a red pen itching for the stitching. But I can say that while my words fail me above and below, I never wanted to write this and I never thought I would have to.
For if the shortest sentence in the language is “I do”, then the following one must be the longest because it took me two weeks to write: “I quit.”
Sure, you don’t know me and those words probably mean very little to you. I am just a column of letters that can sometimes form coherent sentences. I am entirely replaceable. Whoever takes this job after me will do it better, not to mention be a more eloquent writer (or at least, refer to themselves less). This goes without saying and I do not have an inkling of doubt in that fact.
But though I may be second rate, I’d like to believe that I am more than just a few words printed onto a page. I am a twin with glasses that sit diagonally on my face because I can never be bothered to fix them. I usually go places unshaven, just because I have a terrible knack to be lazy. I like to think I am generous, but at the same time I am conflicted with my modesty. I joke needlessly and battle the world with a smile. And I am not a quitter, or I wasn’t until I began this.
I could say that university does this to people: separating their passions and desires with a fine line called a grade point average. But I will not provide excuses for my leave of absence. If you love something, you make time for it, though I’ll admit that I’m finding it hard enough to both have love and give it.
I think back to where things could’ve gone wrong. Jump back to my childhood, and you’ll find a time when I was laughing a whole lot more, a time where limitations were the confines of my imagination and where I gave life to new worlds with a sway of a pen or a whisper of a word.
You might even find me praying because I was religious back then. Every night, my knees found themselves on the hardwood floor as I murmured a dream of world peace, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and that my family would stop fighting. Other days I implored that I didn’t have to pray as much, especially to the person who created me, the person who knows me best.
But what I prayed for the most was no different than what anyone else did: happiness, even if it meant a sacrifice of my own. I told God I’d wait forever because happiness is that important.
Fifteen years later found me in university and I found myself still waiting. I’ll grant that forever is a really long time, though. So long, in fact, that I wasn’t religious anymore; yet I continued to pray to the ceiling for happiness. I was a walking paradox.
That is, until I found this place. The Silhouette. Now I’m a writing paradox because I consider these words my rosaries, these sentences my beatitudes. Call it old fashion, but if there is happiness anywhere, it is in the news we read and the news we write.
I joined the Silhouette for that reason. Sure, it was arduous. Yeah, it was exhausting. And yes, I’ll admit it was often utterly thankless.
But while I may have been encouraging an onset of early alcoholism and perhaps even more truthfully I have a masochistic penchant for taking on more work, I do believe that the Silhouette, and the work necessary to be a competent editor, has a silver lining.
This is because it is the coal that turns into the diamond; the cocoon into the butterfly. At the end of the Wednesday night and the inevitable crawl into a Thursday morning, when the final page is printed, the cover is folded, and the shelves are stacked, I have faded into a silhouette of words.
With them, I am not simply a shadow or an outline, but rather part of a collective whole that creates the darkened image of McMaster’s journalism: the Silhouette. My name or position doesn’t matter. What I chose to say does.
Now, as I sit here in the darkness of the office, I am leaving this shadow and entering the light. It isn’t because I want to but because I have to. I have to leave this place that provided my happiness – true, written happiness – for over a year.
I am not sure what will happen when I leave it. All I know is that these are among my last words as an Opinions editor, and like the names that faded before me, like the period after this very sentence, I wish I could say more.