amor aeternus: a farewell for now

 

 

Dear AP Class of 2020,

 

From the bottom of my heart, from the start of my inferior vena cava to the end of my pulmonary artery, thank you. In a semester where senioritis robbed me of so much of my passion, this class was an endless well of love and joy among the drudgery. After 3 years of high school ELA, I was convinced that the words “English” and “Love” didn’t belong within a five-mile radius of each other, but you have all proven me wrong ten times over. If there is anything that I have gained from this class, beyond a crippling fear of vague writing prompts and a compulsive tendency to annotate, it is love. With graduation imposing an expiration date on all the little joys of high school, I wanted to use my last blog post to thank you all for the love you have given me in these stressful five months. This experience was one I will not soon forget.

Thank you for returning my long-lost love for English. I remember bright-eyed Grade 9 Maria who read all the Book Club books three months in advance and showed up even when she knew no one else would. She wanted nothing more than to go into AP English and be a genius like Ziyana or Claire, and did her datasheets without complaint (can you imagine??). Then, 10AP happened. And then 20-1 kicked me while I was down. And then I was a science kid! Going into this year, I had to force myself to finish the datasheets, fell asleep at least once a day reading the Tempest, and was generally pretty unenthused about the prospect of extra writing. That was until I sat down in the room with all of you during our first Socratic. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so intelligent and so stupid at the same time. The things I have heard within those teal walls still make my neurons buzz with resonance to this day. How could I be unenthused when I was listening to that? English became my daily highlight, with little Grade 9 Maria reappearing with her boundless enthusiasm. I remembered my love for reading with Frankenstein and I’ll Give You the Sun. I remembered my love of writing on this very blog. As shocking as it sounds knowing me now, my childhood dream had nothing to do with science and math; I wanted to be a writer, and this year reminded me why for the first time in years. Thank you for your polished personals, for letting me run my mouth about capitalism and gay rights in Book Club, for all of your insights that make me frantically search for scrap paper and a pen. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful language can be.

Thank you for all the love you have shown me. It’s a miracle that I can even fit through the classroom door at this point with how much you‘ve inflated my ego. Reading comments on these blogs make me feel like Hemingway reborn, and I never fail to swell with pride when I see that one of you has taken the time to read my ramblings. I used to be absolutely terrified to post, but now I can hardly wait to get my posts done. Every doubt I have had in my ability has been assuaged by all of you and your constant support, and that means more than I often let on. After last year, my confidence in my writing was three feet below rock bottom, and all of your love has built me back up. Thank you all for making English feel like home again.

I can never repay you all for the love you have given me in the last five months. That being said, before I sign off of this blog for good, I want to do my best to return to you a little piece of what you have all given to me.

My elevens, you absolute angels, I love you all like my kids. Yes, I know I am only a year older, and yes, I recognize that you are all strong adult-adjacent people, but in my eyes, you are all my children and I will protect you with my life. You are all so intelligent, so thoughtful, so much more capable than I was last year. A part of me will always be trying to catch up with your brilliance. If I had a fraction of Jimmy’s writer’s voice, Luca’s eye for unified themes, or Lexi’s imagery, I’d be unstoppable.  If you decide to continue, I hope you have a good time being the resident disasters for the new crop of elevens next year. If you don’t, I hope -1 treats you well (Sidenote: don’t discount this class because it’s too much work. I firmly believe I would have pulled an 80 tops on my diploma if I never came here). I am heartbroken that I won’t get to see you all start school next fall in the blazer, but I’m sure that it will suit you all beautifully. I love you.

My Grade 12 posse, I adore you all. I always felt like the idiot in the room when we all worked together, but I was the luckiest fool alive to have been given the opportunity to work with you. Abhay, I will miss getting overexcited about socialist themes and critiquing the American Dream with you so much. Though I don’t know where your future will take you, I know you’ll work harder than anyone else to achieve it. Nimrat, you scared me into success in this class. Every time we talked about prompts, I would take furious mental notes for my own thesis. Somehow, against all odds, you always had a piece of unique evidence, a new insight in analysis, or a new subtheme that fit flawlessly. Every project we completed together left me reeling with your intelligence. Thank you for challenging me to improve through simply being yourself. I am so glad we got closer this year. Mia, my wife, your love and your TikTok dances will warm my heart forever. Being around you makes me feel the heaviness of school and stress melt away. You have this way of making the person you’re taking to feel like the most important human being alive, and I only hope that I can express how important you are to me. I can’t for bio with you next semester. I love you. Thank you for the wild ride, you three, and for letting me join the squad without reading Streetcar. Here’s to surviving one more diploma together.

Hunnisett, thank you. After all those years of campaigning to get me to snap out of my science-kid delusion, you finally did it, and I’m so eternally grateful that you did. I am so appreciative of all your support, for all your excitement over my ideas, and for giving me the opportunity to work with such miraculous people. I love you so, so much, and I wish I had a better vocabulary to properly express it. I guess I’ll just have to keep working.

Many have said that overusing the word “love” robs it of its meaning. I humbly disagree. When I say that I love you all, I mean that with every single inch of my being (and then some – I am only 5 feet tall after all). This class has brought so much love into my life, and the memories of this year will stick with me well after I leave Calgary in the fall. I will never be able to peel an orange, talk about Hagel, say the word LGBTQ, engage in feminist criticism, or, most of all, read Memoirs of a Geisha without thinking of Hunni’s room and all the love I felt there.

I wanted a pretty title for my last post, but the Latin phrase I chose is worth more than pure aesthetics. It is a promise, from my heart to yours, of love forever.

 

Amor aeternus,

Maria

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10 thoughts on “amor aeternus: a farewell for now

  1. To the most eager-eyed,
    To the most engaged and eccentric,
    To the excellent and influencing;

    Maria:

    I was looking for something amazing to read tonight, and by this point I know that your work always overflows that cup of me that just drinks in the beauty of your language and message every time: whether it be in class where you’re inspiring us all with your confident wit and put-together sentences, or on this blog, where your structure and writing style spark a deeply burning flame in the hearts of all readers.
    This piece was nothing short of excellent and exemplary: just like you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and time again: if someone doesn’t appreciate and respect Maria, he or she doesn’t know her, or is intimidated or scared of her, and is a trashy person.
    In regards to the actual writing, it was error-free and had beautiful structure and composition: your sentence style was varied, each paragraph was the perfect length and relevance, and your intelligence and quirkyness really showed in this piece especially with the line of “In a semester where senioritis robbed me of so much of my passion, this class was an endless well of love and joy among the drudgery.”
    This line was right at the beginning, and set the frame for the rest of the piece amazingly well. The middle of your piece was hardy and meaty, explaining all the reasons why you love this class in an envelopingly fantastic way that really showed your gratitude.
    But this wasn’t a general “thank you so much love you lmao cya” post, it was concrete because you used evidence to back your claims. The best part of this piece would have to be the specific moments and people you referenced, as it made the piece just that much more genuine.
    Reading your work has always been a journey and a half, but this piece especially made me remember the journey that I’ve had from getting to know you this year. My biggest regret is not reading your work sooner, and not learning about you and befriending you earlier. It’s sad that you’ve only got half a year left with us, but you are absolutely equipped to tackle any challenge and opportunity that life may throw at you.
    I know I speak for everyone when I say that you were instrumental in making this class as amazing as it was – every time you raised your hand you sent all of us scrambling to find paper; every time you told a joke you had us creasing with laughter; and every time you just came to class and showed your amazing self was a true blessing and highlight.
    I will never be able to see El Salvadorean literature, feminist criticism, or people below five feet the same way. From the bottom of my left toe to the top of my PP, I thank you for the memories and profound influence you have had on all of our lives, specifically mine.

    From the ever admiring,

    Zaid

    1. To the outspoken and offbeat,
      The odd and outstanding,
      The baby,
      The hopeless romantic himself,
      Zaid:

      This is what I mean when I say that my ego will never return to earth after this class. I laboured hard for this piece, as I couldn’t let my final goodbye to this amazing group of people be lacklustre, so I’m relieved you felt it to be impactful. I wanted this piece to awaken in others what this course awakened in me.

      Everything time I see a comment from you, I get a little too overexcited. You are someone I respect immensely, and hearing your opinion is something that I truly value. You are intelligent, honest, and nonjudgmental, which are a rare combination in high school. I hope you know how rare and precious you are. I am glad that I fill your cup, because you certainly fill mine in and out of class.

      I promise I’ll keep in touch during uni – but until then, there’s always advisory and book club. I will miss seeing you every day. Thank you for changing my life.

      Amor aeternus,

      Mario

  2. My beautiful Maria,

    I have not been quiet about how much I adore you, respect you, and admire you. You are one of the strongest and most inspirational young woman who I have ever had the honour of meeting and working with. The mother of our family group; it will never be the same without your precious spirit and meticulous mind gracing our classroom every single day.

    Your final piece of art. Your farewell. All I can say is wow. You captured my heart with the title, with your words of advice and praise and honesty. I do not even know what else to say, but if I were expected to describe your work with one word, it would PERFECTION. Your style and flow is utterly breathtaking, I knew that this written just came from your bones. While reading it, I could hear your voice echoing in my mind. Now when I say perfect, I truly mean perfect. I could not find anything to change because your heart and soul were clearly evident through this piece and when that happens, it is impossible to find flaw.

    Maria, you are magic. Thank you so much for teaching me everything you have through your writing, your speech, and especially your perseverance. It saddens me to see you leave but I know that you are going to go out into this world and change it. With you on this planet, we are in excellent hands. Thank you again.

    Lexi

    1. Lexi,

      Thank you so much for all the love this year. Every time I see your name above a comment, my heart inflates with joy. I will miss being here to mother Luca and Jimmy, but I think the role of group mom is in good hands without me. This piece truly came from my soul, so I’m glad that you felt a connection with it.

      I have so much respect for your work, and I truly believe you will grow to heights beyond what I can imagine over the next year and a half. Thank YOU for all that you have taught me. I will do my best to make you and the rest of our group proud.

      Amor aeternus,
      Maria 🙂

  3. My wife, Maria,

    I am so fortunate to even be friends with you – someone that is so, incredibly opposite from me, and yet, all the same. Thank you for this piece. You have told your story with such richness and concision; it’s truly unbeatable. I find myself reading your work and just glorifying everything about you. Even the parts that you dislike about yourself, I find true, unadulterated beauty in. Your writing encapsulates that so perfectly. Your precision and thought in every choice in diction is so seamless. The way you are able to put pieces of yourself into every word you write is so incredible. I will always, always look up to you.

    I am unworthy to criticize anything about you, all the more your writing. There is nothing for me to say.

    Again, just for a little more appreciation, I am overwhelmingly grateful to you. Your constant support and words of affirmation to me, despite how truly undeserving I am, makes me so emotional, LOL! I wish I could have you in my life forever because I will be your biggest cheerleader. I really don’t know if this was a blog comment or a love letter to you. Anyway, just know there’s so much more for me to say, hehe 🙂

    Love, love, love you,
    mia 🙂

    1. Mia,

      I want to tell you a little bit more about Grade Nine Maria. She saw you after all those middle school years apart and got so nervous that she made the Windows Shut Down noise. For so many years, you have been an untouchable person to me, more myth than Mia, and I fear it may have stayed that way if it had not been for English. I am so, so grateful that I got the chance to spend time with you and to get to know you as the amazing person that you truly are. You deserve every bit of love I send your way and then some. I admire you so immensely and look forward to your blogs and insights every single day. While I could go on, I’ll try to be brief (and to leave the love poetry to Zaid). Thank you for being an absolute delight.

      Amor aeternus,
      Your Permanent Cheerleader

  4. To the one I look up to;

    Maria,

    I cannot express the joy your chaotic mind brings me. Reading this made me remember the year we have had so far. All the Jokes we had, the number of oranges pealed into humanoid figures, but most importantly all the laughs we shared. You were the most amazing leader anyone could have ever asked to have in our group; the constant mom who would handle Jimmy’s energy but at the same time reciprocate it (often to the point of madness when we really needed to analyse something), the mom who could connect to Lexi in only a way that a mother and daughter truly can (you had a language of gossip that you both understood while it all flew way above my head), and the mom who gave me something to aspire to (to this day I wish I had the effort to annotate and analyze in the same way that you do, madding it seem so effortless). Whenever I was stuck on how to write a critical or how to integrate my own voice into creative pieces your name was always among the open tabs of exemplar blogs in the middle of the night. I can’t tell you how many times I have read “fly safe, cosmonaut” as it is one of my biggest inspirations while I have written over the semester.

    “How, HOW, am i supposed to critique this?” – I ask, for there is nothing I would change. You have captured your voice, your mom voice, so exquisitely that I can hear your mind every time I read it. But I do have something to ask… I would like to know what were your favorite posts. Not ones that you wrote, but ones that helped you write. Which ones helped you find your voice the same way you have helped me find mine?

    I will leave you off with this. Thank you – thank you for inspiring me to be better. There will not be a single critical essay, analysis, or social class about some sort of “-ism” that will not have an echo of you appear in my mind.

    Amor aeternus, (right back at ya!)
    Luca

    1. Luca,

      Thank you so much for reading my little goodbye. I wrote it with the end of reminiscence in mind, so I’m glad it inspired for you what it represents for me. I can’t imagine how much this blog will hurt my heart to read when I’m off to uni. I will truly miss mom-ing you three so, so much. When I found out my group, I felt so much pressure to be a good role model and to make you all feel comfortable and prepared…I hope I lived up to those expectations.

      Hearing that you love Cosmonaut as much as I do makes me smile a kind of smile I normally can’t muster at this hour. That is, by far, the best story I have ever written, so I am glad that it will find its legacy through you.

      I am truly sorry that you will be stuck with my “iN sOcIaL tHiRtY” comments in your brain forever, but I do hope you can give Ms. Gurr the same mild communist leaning that I did. In regards to my favourite blogs, I have read woefully few, but I will list them all at the bottom (and why I love them so much).
      Thank you again for this comment, and for a beautiful semester.

      Amor aeternus,
      Maria 🙂

      – Your Petchakucha – I never realized how powerful a unifying theme can be until I watched your presentation, and I really picked that up in my writing.
      – Lexi’s Outcast Frankenstein Response – I’ve always been uncomfortable talking about my own experience in my writing, but this made me want to get personal and really delve into myself alongside the novels we read
      – Jimmy’s Petchakucha – Just. Writer’s voice. It’s so POWERFUL. I strive to have my voice be as distinct (and hilarious) as Jimmy’s.
      – Zaid’s Hopeless Romantic Piece – I would never, ever peg Mr. Tan Superman for a romantic, so it gave me the inspiration to try something I wasn’t used to (hence the emulation I posted a while back)
      – Abhay + Nimrat’s Prepared Criticals – I read these for prep before my diploma, and I firmly believe that they are the reason I felt so confident going in. Reading those made me feel like the light was finally on and I finally understood how to do criticals (it only took 4 entire years, but better late than after diplomas!).
      – IB’s Autonomy blog – I never realized how hard political commentary and debate could be until I commented on this blog. It was a lot, but it really inspired me to do more real-life applications and to be unafraid of disagreeing respectfully.
      – Zaid’s Appreciation post – This post is great for my ego and thus I love it. I would say it’s something else but that’s the truth (also it’s such a clean and well-written piece from him and I’m a proud mother).

  5. Oh, Maria,
    I probably won’t have this count as a real comment for marks because I’m not gonna critique you at all but I had to comment because I’m crying. You and I never really had a moment this year but I want you to know that you actually have affected me a lot this year. I think you’re so cool you have no idea. Everything you say during class blows my mind and I always try to emulate you when I think about a novel. What would Maria think? I hope that one day I could be as strong and talented as you. You really brought me to tears with this piece. I could hear your voice in my head reading this and I’m so glad you wrote this. Lastly, I just want to thank you. Simply having your presence in a room during our class conversations was a true blessing. You give off a confidence that I would attempt to emulate during days when I had no confidence of my own. I’m really gonna miss you next year. But I know wherever you go you’re gonna do amazing things. Thank you for this semester. Thank you for this post. Thank you for you.

    With love (and tears),
    Abby

    1. Abby, Angel:

      Funny you should mention admiration from afar…out of all the people in this class that I was disappointed I never got to work with, you are at the top of the list. You have this quiet dignity and air of confidence about you that I find so incredibly magnetic, and I hope that you grow to realize that you have the same talents and strengths that you see in me. That being said, all of my confidence and ability is owed to people like you, people who take the time to read my work and show me all this boundless love. Without you, without AP, without my peers, I would be a shell of myself.

      I am genuinely moved that you read this piece and commented, as I was afraid that this response would be lost among the others. This letter is a direct message, not only to the twelves and elevens that I worked closely with, but to those who I never got to talk with, those wonderful humans like yourself who make me wish that AP was all year long just so that I could talk with you all. Thank you for reading my message. Each and every message I get on this post makes me nostalgic all over again. I will miss you seeing you every day for the rest of the year. Thank you for all of your love; I don’t know what I did to deserve it all.

      Amor aeternus,
      Maria

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