In 2009 I started a blog called 26-Minute Memoir and started publishing 26-Minute Memoirs--stories that describe the essence of your life written in 26 minutes–from students, friends, Facebook and blog followers. In my book Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too), I encourage readers to write their own 26-Minute Memoir and send it to me, and they have! Below you’ll find Cora Lucille Lindholm’s 26-Minute Memoir. Please feel free to write one of your own. You can find instructions and links to other 26-Minute Memoirs here: http://writingismydrink.com/26-minutes/.
I’m posting the 26-Minute Memoirs sporadically and there’s quite a lag between when they’re sent to me and the date they go up on the blog.
Cora Lucille Lindholm‘s 26-Minute Memoir
I find myself looking for something, anything and I have no idea what it is. I am currently in, what I like to call, “the 20’s limbo”. This terribly awkward time in my life where I am done being a student and having such a structured, planned life, but I can’t see past a year in my future. I am graduating a semester early, three and a half years, in December 2014 from The University of Alabama. I am just too organized, anxious, and uptight for my own good.
I have always considered myself entirely right brained; spacey, creative, and always expressing myself in a completely “oh that’s Cora” kind of way. I have this extremely chill vibe, thanks to my Southern California roots and living my life according to a surfer. I relate everything to surfing; every aspect of life, it’s ups and downs like the surging energy of the swells molding into waves and crashing to the calmness of the line up to the danger of falling to the completely intoxicating feel of accomplishing a ride and paddling back up no matter how tired you are.
My dad is a surfer. My mom says he has always been in a constant affair with the ocean. Salt water runs through my family veins.
My mom is exceptional. She has this selfless love and care for her family, I have never seen it in any other human being in my life. When she is mad, furious, and disappointed or happy, enlightened, and the life of the party, it’s all out of love.
My sister, Ida, is the ying to my yang. She has characteristics I have never found in myself: aggressive, assertive, and a confidence so loud it can be all consuming and most importantly inspiring.
My immediate family is my foundation for the life I am living. I am wild in the sense of seeking adventure. I am so anxious I left Portland, Oregon to study in the south (a complete culture shock nonetheless), now I am living in Newcastle, Australia continuing my studies in photography and journalism.
I put myself in the same situation everywhere I go. I can’t be comfortable in one spot. I am so thirsty I might die. And the worst part is, I don’t know what that thirst is?
I have always been locked up in my own thoughts. My greatest fault is that lack of ability to ask questions and be wrong. This expectation I put on my self is down right stupid. I watch movies and visualize myself as the leading actor… why can’t I do that? I read a book and say to myself, “I have ideas too, I could write a book”. No joke, I am starting a novel. I have no idea how. I have already wrote 35 pages. I read over it the other day and was like. Why?
SIMPLIFY. I AM SO DESPERATE FOR SIMPLIFYING LIFE. I want everything, therefore it all adds up to nothing.
I took this Honors American Lit course last semester with the most inspiring professor I have ever met, McWaters. We read Walt Whitman and he described the simplicity of life and how everything is beautiful; the dirt beneath our feet. He made me so proud to be an American. He made me want to scream out my thoughts, find this way to communicate with people.
Communicate with people.
Middle school was the hardest experience of my life. There would be groups of friends huddled in different corners of the hallway. I would sweat profusely, wearing multiple sweaters to hide my sweat in fear someone would notice. I couldn’t approach a group. I felt so lost. I needed an invitation. A green light flashing GO. I only saw reject. What if, what if, what if.
FUCK YOU WHAT IF.
Excuse my French, but honestly. Fuck you.
Alabama changed my life forever. I found the inner Cora I have been searching for, knowing she was in there all along. I found a piece of my soul I could let shine. What is that exactly? A confidence with love and compassion for other people, this achievement for communication. I know this is my purpose. To understand people and connect bridges of miscommunication because miscommunication is the one and only root of ALL PROBLEMS.
World War II, Pearl Harbor, black slavery in the South, the American Civil War; every major problem in history. All it takes is the bravery to attempt to understand someone else.
I am so incredibly selfish. I feel like it’s an essential for my age though. It’s all me, me, me. I have to get good grades, what will my career be? I need to play a sport I am good at, I need to get involved, I I I I I I I.
I want to escape myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love who I am. But, we are meant to live this life together. “Intermingling souls” as Walt Whitman likes to put it. What is life if it isn’t shared? As a result, I am a hopeless romantic. I want to share this life with someone. It feels so meaningless.
I am here in Australia. It’s amazing. There is a didgeridoo playing in the courtyard as I type away in the sunlight, burning my toes. I have to wear bug spray everywhere I go.
The raw truth though is it takes me so long to adapt. I am very long term. It’s been a month and I finally feel a little bit comfortable. But I am still so scared. So scared of no meaning and why.
SIMPLIFY. PRAY. LOVE.
And just… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Just get out there. Stop thinking for five seconds Cora. And live. All I want to do is live.
My essence of life is hugging my dogs, looking into their droopy eyes, and feeling this unconditional love. The kind of love my mom breathes through her core, the kind of love my dad finds within the ocean and the peace of riding a wave, the kind of love Ida screams when she walks into a room and steals the show.
So why do I travel the world to find that something, I ask myself, when I have it at home?
I think it’s to share it, because I simply can’t soak in all the love for myself. I understand me and my family’s love. Now, how do I communicate with others and understand them?
I’ll figure it out. Breath.