Thursday, June 19, 2014

Surprises, Past and Future

I think I underestimated the effect of leaving my therapist and most of my friends in one fell swoop. I thought, you know, that the land could be my therapist this summer. And my friend. I always think that, and it's a giant mistake. I mean, it works to an extent...but it doesn't work all the way. It would work had I been created an introvert, but alas, I am an Extrovert with a capital E and the land does not talk back to me. 

I've been having lots flashbacks, lately. Fortunately and a little bit surprisingly, they've been good ones! Lots of fond memories that I hadn't thought about for quite some time. Like the time my parents dressed me up as a fire fighter for Halloween in Kindergarten. All things considered, for small-town mid-Michigan in 1995, that was pleasantly progressive. Props to you, mom. Props to you.

And then that time when I was 20, the last stop on one of my many solo road trips; sipping champagne on a rooftop with new friends and old, basking in the yellow glow of a Chicago skyline. I didn't have a whole lot of fucks to give, then. I'll bet you anything, though, that I thought I did. And that got me thinking: when I'm 26 and stressed out about life like I am right now, how will I remember this season? Will I shake my head at the moments that I am, right now, currently wasting away with worry? Will I wish I were back here?

Probably.

For brief volcanic moments this past week, I have become very angry. Angry, and sad, and anxious. I am stressed out and restless, unable to sleep well and in a daytime daze. I am out in the middle of beautiful, and I'm absolutely incapable of escaping into the beautiful because I can't figure out how to forget that I have to go back to Clemson in the end...and for some reason, it's killing me.

I hate that I have to go back, but I will make myself go. I will earn a lousy, meaningless piece of paper at the end of this go around. I will not mess it up. I will not sever all of the ties. I will smile, and be nice, and be submissive, and try to make myself care because deep down under the burnout, I used to love this. And I'll figure it out.

But I'm finished with jumping through hoops. Finished. I do not "hate my life," as so many of my colleagues seem to wish to project; I hate that we're in an environment that is so terribly dehumanizing. I ironically and affectionately call our building "my own personal hell," but let's be real. I'd readily prefer my imagined (albeit diluted) interpretation of hell. In hell, the rules don't change overnight, every night. Things are pretty goddamn absolute. I'm tired of people who only value things that are valid in academia, as if it is the be-all end-all of society. It's certainly a highly important institution, but it's not at all an accurate representation of how the real world functions. One has to, you know, do basic things like communicate in the real world. And seriously? I'm very over being judged by my superiors for taking a few spare weekends to spend time with my family, when they have the opportunity to go home to family every single night. Your high horse is dead. Get off.

Being the anti-miserable person that I truly am, it seems like the ultimate betrayal of self to go back. And to think, a year ago I was excited for this! It's because, of course, I expected difficult; not impossible. Not unreasonable. Not nonsensical. Not wishy-washy. Not disastrous. And I have to drag myself, kicking and screaming, back there in 2 months.

Truth be told, I will be so happy to be back. Things will probably get better, and by the grace of everything, I'll remember why I wanted this. But I am so unsure of myself. I feel so unqualified and unprepared, awkwardly stumbling my way through my "life plans" whenever visitors ask. I have less of my life figured out than ever before. So, whatever happens...will be a surprise.

I hope it's awesome.




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