During my sophomore year of high school, I produced my first documentary film, appropriately titled The Sophomore Slump. Here’s the 7-minute trailer to the 45-minute “epic.”
Though it’s really not much by my present standards, watching it today leaves me surprised at the grasp I had at the time of video editing, shot composition, interviewing and storytelling techniques.
Re-watching it today also produces a grave revelation – the slump didn’t hit me back then. It’s hit me now, and it has been hitting for almost a year. Only a lightbulb moment can bring me back.
That uber-blurry picture up there? Snapped by a girl at the airport on her Polaroid Instax as we dealt with a four-hour delay back to Miami.
As I was saying last time – there I am, in the line for The Simpsons ride, or the Return of The Mummy ride, or the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon ride – and every time, without fail, people around me, behind me, in front of me and, in the case of one of the lines, above and below me, whipped out their smartphones with practiced bravado from their pockets and started the classic life-saving maneuver of living vicariously through others.
As the full moon illuminated the little patch of cemented jungle she calls home, I stood there with my shoulder on the fridge; Kanye West talking about family business in the background.
Right in front of me were photographs of a past that I still miss dearly. To my right was a picture of us on our first date, a tour of a historical estate overlooking Biscayne Bay. To my left was a filmstrip of us goofing around at the baseball stadium, posing with Viking hats and a blow-up tiger and kissing each other as if it were the last time we’d ever get the chance.
On a normal day, I would’ve given these images a cursory glance and then resumed consumption of inane Internet videos and memes. But a different fate awaited me tonight – a run-in with a bittersweet longing for bygone years called nostalgia.
This is a short writing assignment from my IDH2003 Leadership Seminar course, which I’m actively progressing through in my third semester of college at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. The idea of the assignment was to write a short piece in which one acutely defines one or more goals that one is pursuing as part of a life journey. Though the content may change in the future, this version accurately describes my present vision for the years to come.
My name is Tomás Monzón, and I am an investigator. I’m obsessed with language, communication, relationships, living spaces, machines, transportation and the overall working order of things in the natural and man-made worlds. My life’s journey, in fact, is to conquer all these obsessions by knowing all about them and appreciating them, from the comfort of a lawn chair atop several acres of land that I’ll have purchased by the time my journey gets to a certain point. The land will become my project: on the weekends, I’ll work on a custom home, and during the week, I’ll be working double duty, investigating stories for a newsmagazine and working at a computer support company. Completing that journey, however, will force me to expunge the fears I have of being disappointed, of being upset about things, and of disappointing others. People near and dear to me have taught me that keeping myself from negative emotions by blindly concentrating on the positive is to lead a life devoid of true vivacity. I’ve got to learn how to accept negative emotions and how to act on things, people and situations that aren’t to my liking. My life’s journey, and my personality of an investigator call for these personal obstructions to be eradicated in order to allow myself to realize my full potential and make my contribution to the world at large.