Ma, I Made It

Ashley Simmons
April 30, 2016

I’m currently sitting in the living room of my homestay here in Granada, mostly missing my mother and brother back home, and simultaneously figuring out how in the world I’m already at the end of April. 

There’s so much to write and recap so often, and I find my memories verbalizing themselves mostly through poetry here, which leads me to consider how much my writing has improved over the course of just four months. My wonderful combination of writer and perfectionist keeps my chest full of anxieties that what I’ve written hasn’t fully conveyed the extent of my emotions or thoughts of a given moment, and simultaneously pushes me off of my own ledges as I publish blog post after blog post, and poem after poem, letting good enough be good enough. 

I constantly subject myself to my own criticism, and it’s true that no one is your worst critic, other than you are. Last night, I was filled with horrible nightmares of self-doubt at the profession/field I’ve chosen, thinking and wondering if I’d ever know true success within the way I craft and juxtapose words. Yet, the paradoxical thing about self-improvement of any kind is that in improving ourselves we are in fact improving ourselves. In wanting to be a better writer and writing in my journal or notepad of my phone daily, waiting for some day when I will finally reach my ULTIMATE WRITER POINT *insert glitter and sparkle dazzle things*, I have somehow reached that point over and over again. The same goes for my own self-improvement. In wanting to make myself more patient, more educated, more cultured…I’ve somehow done it…?????

I'm glad I have my family and friends back home, and even those here in Granada to help me cast aside the self-doubt that taints us all at some point in life. By choosing to be a writer, I actively chose to subject my work and self to constant editing, meaning constant creating and destroying, and creating and destroying, and more creating and more destroying. Still, sometimes, I have to step back and remind myself how far I’ve come from where I once was. Sometimes, I have to step back and see that I have in fact made it.

Here, in Granada, Spain, I’ve made it farther than I ever thought I would. And that feeling, that feeling is so far beyond words. Think of where you are now as opposed to where you once were, maybe, just maybe, you’ve made it, too. 


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Ashley Simmons

Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A Junior at Brandeis University, Ashley studies English, Creative Writing, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, as well as Creativity, The Arts and Social Transformation. On campus Ashley is an English Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Originally from Washington D.C., she enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, playing video games, and being with her family and friends.

2016 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
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