A postcard from Ribka’s bedroom: Things I didn’t know in Autumn

“A Postcard from Ribka’s Bedroom” delivers truths — harsh and kind. Can a truth even be harsh, kind, subjective or objective, Ribka Desta asks.

As she pens in her postcards, perhaps it is impossible to view things as they are — maybe you can only view things as you are.

I’m a better essay writer than I thought I was. I walk more than the average Stanford student. I am quite privileged. I went to an excellent high school –

but it was much more racist than I thought it was. I did not have great friendships, but I knew great people. I was looking for sunlight in the wrong places. The sun is closer to Earth than I thought it was.

California is further from home than I expected. An entire life can change on a five-hour plane ride. The distance between coasts is large, but somehow tight enough to squeeze your entire being. Still, it’s not far enough to not hear howls, to not feel everything,  

like regression, which is nocturnal, and regret, which is a paradox. When the curtains close, the audience will always demand an encore – even if the cast is retired, even if you don’t know how to go on. Shakespeare was right. All the world’s a stage.

I didn’t know adjustment was a slippery thing. It’s hard to hold onto, even harder to stand on. But it’s not impossible. I picked up journaling again in September and found myself writing in circles. I’ve never known how to leave places efficiently. Some things never change. 

Although, most things do. 

Traditions are more fickle than anyone thinks. Nothing is as stable as it looks. The men you thought were stoic and larger than life – practically statues – can shatter at too sharp a poke.

Solid ground can become quicksand. Not everyone can save themself, or they can, but they won’t try.  Not everyone can stay the person they would like to be, and if they try too hard, time will push and pull them apart. Seasons will pass and crash like cars. Nothing lasts in summer. 

Except for me. 

It’s easier to become a poet than it is to become a woman. There is no definite line between girlhood and adulthood. No invisible switch that turns off come sunrise on your eighteenth birthday. College is the middle of the Venn diagram. Loss and gain. Then and now. Time is not linear, and yet, no one can go back. The closest you can come is an ear pressed to a door, waiting on echoes from tight-lipped walls.

I didn’t realize the inherent complexity of endings. The weight of the world (which eventually, became the understanding that I only have two hands.) The fact that nothing fades to black. The number of baby teeth I still have. The idea that I could have opened so many doors if I had just opened my mouth. 

Communication. How to spend time with myself. How to gravitate back to the center of my own earth. More importantly – that one day, I would learn how to. 

I learned to count “sevens” backward from 100. I learned I like spending time with myself: one-hour walks and one-woman world tours. I’m not fearless, but I am someone – and perhaps most importantly, I learned that I need to stop treating myself like I’m not. 

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *