Day 31. Last day of the challenge. And though there have been so many things that I have gained throughout this second challenge that I’ve participated in, I guess the one thing that stands out most is the connections I’ve made in this particular challenge.
I remember writing last year, early on in the challenge, about the importance of relationships or pilina. In that post, I said, “…when you form pilina with someone, it’s not just a “surface” relationship, but rather, a close bond that you’ve made that can weather any outside elements.”
Why is pilina so important though? Well, remember 7th grade (or any new grade, for that matter)? Remember that moment where everyone is new to the grade or the school, and you walk into the cafeteria and you don’t have your “place” yet? You don’t know who you’ll sit with, let alone where you’ll sit. You scan the room for something, a familiar face, a conversation starter. You contemplate eating somewhere else – is that an empty table over there? You feel like the distance between you and that “comfortable place” you haven’t yet found is expansive and larger than any ocean. The whole thing is just…awkward.
But time passes. Sometimes only 31 days. Eventually you find your friend. You find your place. You go to your usual spot, have your usual conversation. You get into a routine, know your people, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, figure out who you are in the process.
This is why pilina and relationships are so important. That expansive ocean begins to shrink until there is hardly any space between you and the friends you’ve made.
It’s funny to compare that to this writing challenge, and yet, for me, that’s exactly what it felt like the first time I sliced 1 year and 30 days ago. But now, I’ve found my place at the cafeteria table and even though miles of distance separate me and you, the ocean has shrunk until there is hardly any space between us. I know things about some of you that you might not have told people close to you. I’ve shared things with some of you that not even my husband knows. Yet here we are, separated only by a computer screen and we have formed that relationship, that pilina.
So thank you, my friends, colleagues and fellow writers. Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for allowing me to strike up a relationship with you, so much so that I commented on your writing. Most importantly, thank you to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for providing a place for all of us at the cafeteria table, to write, share and learn.