UCSB is a paradise of sorts, and in many ways. It’s located right on the south-facing beach of Santa Barbara. Its location can be envied by just about any other school in the world. It’s a school where, if you have a class that ends at five and a meeting at six, that hour would be enough time to walk towards the edge of campus and into the ocean to cool off during a 100º day in the late summer with a few friends who you just ran into along the way. I’ve done that before.
The school itself has a very laid back culture, that still manages to excel. It’s an academically competitive school, and is constantly ranked among the top in the world. As much as it had to pride itself in its academics, UCSB was first and foremost a party school. A few years before I started attending, Playboy named the number two party school in the nation, a source of pride for many students. The ranking was well earned. The one thing that the students and the administration generally shared was a pretty liberal philosophy. Things like social progress, minority rights, and freedom to do whatever you like were highly valued. I related to these values well enough, although I often thought students and professors were being liberal for the sake of being liberal. It was a place where one was more likely to lose faith than find it.
The majority of the students lived in a little neighborhood, about one square mile, right on the coast that shared a border with the campus. Isla Vista was a college student’s heaven. Every week, parties would line the streets, and the streets would line the ocean. With the neighborhood being completely occupied of almost all students, there was a carefree spirit, and an atmosphere that suggested that everybody who lived there already knew each other, even if they had never met. It was a lovely place, right on the coast, full of apartments in drastic need of repair. Every Halloween, around 70,000 people from places outside Santa Barbara would come to partake in the town’s festivities that it’s residents got every day.
Little did my friend know that her question would prompt me to begin ambitiously pining that question. I had been discovering that our lives contain stories, are stories, and are part of a bigger story, and connecting with these stories and their Author results in a life really being life.
Over the course of a month and a week in Argentina, I would spend nights in my homestay without internet just typing furiously away my story. It didn’t feel like work at all, it was as natural as stream of consciousness writing is. When I finished, I wound up with over 200 pages on Microsoft Word. Single spaced.
What I had was my story on paper. It was a story about redefining love, rediscovering faith, and releasing hang-ups. It's a story worth telling, as is anyone's who pays attention to story in their lives.
In a culture so focused on facts and arguments, it's important that we don't lose sight of how humans really experience the world: through story.
This is my story. I'm just putting it out there. There will be some moments I look back on fondly, and there will be some moments where I will be very vulnerable with you.
I will be posting a bit from my story everyday. It's a long read, what I wrote. This will probably be a lot more manageable.
Thanks for following along.
The story begins on 30 January. Subscribe via RSS.