Sunday, November 13, 2016

School's Out (for good): Now What?


So I dropped out of college.
That should really be the entirety of this post, but that would be all too easy.
I honestly had to look back at my last post to see where I was at in my life the last time I updated on here.
Sounds like I was in a really dark, shitty place.
And when I think about it, I was.
Regardless of all the ranting & raving I did in that last post, I still returned to school at the end of August.
Why?
No idea.
I was taking one night class, on an author I realized I couldn't stand, & it hit me that I could just fucking leave.
So I did.
I'm working full-time doing something I absolutely love, with people I actually enjoy being around.
The point in continuing to struggle staying in college was null.

So do I regret spending so much time in school?
Well, I'm paying back $21,000 in student loans for seemingly no reason, & everyone at my job still thinks I'm in school.
The short answer is: No.
The long answer is: Fuck no.
I feel slightly guilty for lying to my coworkers but when work began, I was actually going to school.
The less guilty part of me is constantly reminding me that my academic life, as well as all other aspects of my life, is no one's fucking business but mine.
I don't owe anyone at my job an explanation for leaving school.
I've struggled enough with the fact my brother still doesn't know, but it's also not his business either.
I finally did something good for myself, even after taking all of the negative backlash it might bring into account.

The biggest irony of these past few years is that I quit college once I finally started getting it down to a science.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't lying when I said school made me physically & mentally ill.
That's easily the number one reason why I finally left.
However, my grades were more than fine.
My professors liked me.
My peers liked me (often times, more than I liked them).
And last semester, I made it damn close to finally getting it right with someone of the opposite sex.
He was only 21, far too young for me, but because of his mysterious demeanor & the fact we shared two classes, I made it my goal to get to know him.
And I did.
I got to see all of the different colors he hid beneath his gray outer shell.
And it was AMAZING.
On the last day of class, we took an impromptu walk from one side of campus to the other.
And while it was totally unplanned & I managed to end up on the opposite side of where my car was parked, I loved every second of listening to him talk.
This dude who never said more than two words in class (& that's only if the professor forced him to speak), was telling me all about about his favorite bands & laughing & asking me questions like we'd been best friends for years.
The high I got from that walk stuck with me all summer.
I felt like I'd finally accomplished something.
Maybe not academically, but I felt like this counted way more.

When school started back up, panic & depression set in again.
The guy from last semester wasn't in my night class class, nor had any of our mutual classmates seen him around.
In his true recluse fashion, he's not on social media either.
I was faced with the fact that school still made me sick, it had become increasingly difficult because of my work schedule, & the one person that made me excited to go to class every day had seemingly disappeared into thin air.
There was no point in sticking around.

So where am I at now?
Good question.
Somewhere floating in the ether, I think.
I feel much freer now since leaving school, and freedom comes with a ton of responsibility, much of which I had't taken into account.
But it's all good.
I finally feel like I'm not constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I can save my money.
And I can travel.
And I don't have to worry about proper MLA format or textbooks or attendance ever again.
That's crazy.
I guess it was fear of judgement that kept me in college for long, but I'm glad I stayed long enough to see myself get decent grades & achieve some sort of basic happiness.
I started sharing more of my work on my Instagram (@ri_was_here), and the positive response has been overwhelming.
I'll save all that for another day & another post.
Just know that everything is good.
School is over.
And I'm happy. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

College (& sucking at it)


The title of this post may sound like a bad re-run of the last post, but it's not intended that way & I'll try to steer clear of repeating myself too much.
So, I've been 25 for the last month & a half, & a big realization just recently hit me: This epic summer I'd been planning since last year, full of road trips & museums & mountains & concerts & sunshine & finding myself, is slowly closing in.
Tomorrow is my last day of work for the summer, & now I have about a month & a half left before it's back-to-school time.
That thought literally makes me nauseous.

I'm gonna be honest here.
Even though it's one of my biggest insecurities, maybe someone else needs to hear it out loud, too.
I'm 25, I've been in college for nearly 7 years straight, & I have no degree to show for it whatsoever.
That's probably one of the most embarrassing, shameful "secrets" I own, but I need to face it for what it is.
I can't seem to finish anything I start.
And it's really fucking frustrating.
I constantly compare myself to my mom who has a Master's in psychology, & my brother who has a MSW as well as a J.D. from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country.
I used to call myself a "failure" every single day, multiple times a day for years upon years.
After a while, it felt really good to wallow in my misery & be able to chalk everything up to the fact that I was just one big, worthless fuck-up.
That was cute in my late teens & early 20's, but once I got accepted to my current school, I swore off calling myself that, & promised I'd get serious about my studies.
We won't get into all the majors I've had & why they didn't work out as it's terribly boring, & I've gone over all of that in previous posts.

School makes me sick.

I've been so even-keeled and content since last semester ended, seeing as I did my last 3 semesters back to back with one day in between each semester.
I have mood swings & get annoyed & all of the rest of it, but nothing like back when I would routinely check my bag for enough Xanax anytime I left the house.
I've been happy.
I've been downright peaceful.
But thinking about heading back to school in a couple months, & taking in all of the shitty aspects that come along with that, is freaking me out.
I'm on the verge of tears writing this, & like I've said many times before, I'm not a crier.
School does something to me & it's not healthy.
But I don't know how to feel good about not having a degree.
Especially after all of this time.
I have student loans I'll have to start paying off once I'm done, & I'm wondering why I racked up so much debt for nothing.
Why did I meet so many people who seemingly served no purpose whatsoever in my life?
Why did I spend so many hours in front of a computer screen, typing 15 page papers on things I knew I didn't understand?

So much of this is just getting caught up in what other people think of me.
And that's worse than Ebola.
I swear, all I am to everyone around me is a degree or lack thereof.
I can't have a conversation with ANYONE without:
"Do you graduate this year?"
"When do you graduate?"
"Are you almost done with school now?"
"So are you a junior, senior...?"
"Is this your last year?"
"Don't you want to be done with school?"
"I feel like you've been in college forever!"
It's awful feeling like no one cares about any of the amazing things that make me who I am.
Instead, they're concerned with how I plan to conform & contribute to the 9-5 society.
I have no interest in conformity.
I never have.
But I have to figure out a way to pay my bills.

Edit: The morning after writing this post, I was offered a full-time position at my job.
I have a good, respectable job, & it's probably a miracle that I'm climbing any ladder in a place like this.
I'd like to think it's a sign from the universe telling me to get some worldly experience & get the fuck out of school before I die.
However, the reason my boss thought I'd be good for the position is because she believed I was working on a teaching degree.
There's 3 problems with this:
1. I'm not working on a teaching degree & I never said I was
2. I've been at this job for 2 years without a degree
3. A full-time position won't allow me to go to school unless I only take night classes. So how in the fuck am I supposed to finish this degree, regardless of what it's in?

I told my brother over the phone about my little promotion, & after congratulating me, he inquired about what was going to happen as far as school.
I told him I was thinking about not going back & his immediate response was: "Eventually, that's going to bite you in the ass...".
I'm tired of letting people ruin my mood.
I'm tired of listening to people.
I'm tired of people vomiting all of their life experiences into my life.
They tell me I only have two semesters left until I graduate.
That this time next year, I'll have my bachelor's in a subject I've come to despise.
But I've been this close before & the goal keeps moving farther & farther away from me.
Fuck it, I'm done complaining.

I honestly didn't mean to make this post so personal.
I wanted to remind myself as well as anyone else hopelessly struggling in college, that not having a degree is nothing to be ashamed of.
I graduated from high school & I did really well in school back then.
College may just be another thing that solidifies my position as the black sheep in my family.
I come from a strong, intelligent, ambitious family, & while I'm all of those things, I think it's time I start applying those traits to something other than schoolwork.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Remnants of 24: Being a Reader, a Writer... & an English Major

It's been about 8 months since I've returned to English as a major.
And, I guess maybe the most important part is that I'm doing fine, grade wise.
But maybe that's not the most important part.

I always felt like I was home when I was in English class in elementary & high school.
I was that kid who always carried a book around & used big words in conversation, just because I knew the definitions.
I used to read the dictionary every night before I went to sleep, for god's sake.
When I was in 9th grade, my English teacher realized how much I loved to read, & took an especial liking to my writing.
She stole a copy of The Catcher in the Rye from the English department at our school, & made me promise to give it back after I read it.
That was 10 years ago, & that same book is laying next me in my bed right now.
I'm pretty sure it was that book that made me decide to be a writer, or at least commit more time to my writing.
But I think that's another story for another day.

I can remember laughing at my peers in high school because no one knew what they wanted to do with their lives.
For me, it was easy: I was going to be an English major, write some books & live easy.
Maybe I'd even get a PhD while I was at it.
Anyone who has kept up with this site knows nothing in my life has gone according to plan.
And that's okay because I made it full-circle, back to being an English major.
But now I'm struggling again, & this time, switching majors is totally & completely out of the question.
So what went so wrong?

Being an English major can be really shitty, depending on what your interests are.
I didn't know that until two semesters ago when I took my first theory class.
All I care about is creative writing.
I write a lot of short stories & poetry.
And then, of course, I have whatever this site is.
Since becoming an English major at the university I attend, all I've been doing is learning grammar & theory.
Grammar is fine, but I did all that shit like 6 years ago when I was an English major the first time around.
Theory is a fucking headache & it makes me want to drop out of college all together.
I used to be a sociology major & I hated it.
For those who don't know what literary theory is, it's sociology.
When I was in community college, straight out of high school, every English class I took allowed me to express myself through my writing.
To this day, the best class I've ever taken was a 6 hour creative writing course offered by that college.
The school I'm in now has no creative options for undergrads or graduates, & it's making me wonder if I should even stick around any longer.

Like I said, my grades are fine.
I got a 4.0 last Winter semester.
But when I think about it, it's because the one class that was offered required me to write a ton of short creative pieces, & my professor really enjoyed my writing.
I understand theory.
I just hate it, & because of that, I feel like I'm wasting my time once again.
If I had stuck with sociology, I would've had a bachelor's degree two semesters ago.
But I chose the path I thought would make me happier.
And it's not.
And I don't know what to do.

Being an English major is hard because you spend all of your time doing what people assume you live for: reading & writing.
But you don't get to choose the books you read, & writing research papers can often feel like you're raping the literature.
I hate when people assume I enjoy writing research papers, or reading 35 page scholarly articles about Shakespeare.
I don't.
I like to read books I'm interested in & create alternate worlds of my own.
Being an English major leaves so little time for both of those things.

I feel like I end every semester by saying "I don't know if I'm going back".
I have this terrible fear that I'm wasting my life doing things that don't make me happy.
The only time I feel stupid is when I'm at school or doing school work.
That shouldn't be the case.
Especially since this has always been my major.
I think what this ultimately comes down to is taking responsibility for what it is I want to do for the rest of my life, and how the fuck to get there.
I can't spend the rest of my life chasing a degree that clearly has no interest in me.
Time to start goal setting.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Remnants of 24: Alcohol


I've never been a drinker.
Even when I used to drink a lot, I wasn't a drinker.
I didn't start drinking until I was 21.
I was always afraid of getting so drunk I'd throw up, that I could never bring myself to finish an entire beer.
I distinctly remember one night when I was 16, a group of pseudo friends came over and got piss drunk while I sat quietly & chugged a bottle of water.
I remember every last detail of that night because I was completely sober.

Because of this recent medical condition I'm dealing with, I can't drink alcohol.
I mean, I can, but it exacerbates everything.
Which is ironic, because that's all it ever did even before I had any medical issues.

I started drinking to fit in with a crowd I shouldn't have even been near.
Everyone in the group was younger than me (i.e. underage), & getting drunk was almost their only past time.
I just wanted to fit somewhere.
Even with these idiots.
And I tried so fucking hard.
My fear of getting "throw-up drunk" was gone the very first time I got completely shitfaced & threw up on someone's bathroom floor.
After that, I wasn't afraid.
And that made everything a million times worse.

I guess my biggest issue with alcohol was how emotional it made me.
I couldn't drink vodka without crying, so I swore it off & stuck primarily to whiskey.
But whiskey made me really horny, which was an issue because I was essentially hanging out with a group of racists.
I was only their friend when I was in front of them, & when it came to viewing me as anything more than that, no amount of alcohol could change the fact that I was always just the BLACK girl.

I specifically remember my 23rd birthday "party" because of shit like that.
All I wanted was for Jeff to be there.
I don't know why I liked him so much.
He was a compulsive liar, ignorant, & downright mean to me at times.
But other times he would be really sweet.
I'd try to tap into the things he was interested in, & give him little compliments that maybe weren't true,
& he would smile & get friendly with me for a little while.
He only liked girls with brown eyes & dark hair.
Despite the fact I've always had both of those features, Jeff couldn't have fathomed liking me.
He showed up to by 23rd birthday, & he was nice to me the entire time.
Then he left.
I realized someone had probably asked him to come & show me attention because it was my birthday & everyone knew I liked him.
And I started drinking.
I chugged a few beers, drunk drove myself home, got in the bed with my mom & cried for a long time.
Partially because I was drunk.
Mostly because I wasted my birthday wish on Jeff.

Alcohol has gotten me involved in so many goddamn idiotic things.
I used to think it was a really good thing for me because it got me to loosen up & let go.
I was way less socially awkward/anxious when I was drinking, & it made me feel pretty & worthy of attention.
Then I realized: I get in hit on in bars because everyone is fucking drunk including myself.
To this day, I've never kissed a guy who was sober.
My first kiss was in the woods behind my house with a guy 3 years older than me who was a known alcoholic.
I don't even remember my last kiss.
Because I was drunk.
There's a million stories I could tell, & this post could easily turn into a series.
But I want to make my point & get out of here.
I feel buzzed just reliving some of these memories.

I came so fucking close to losing my virginity one night.
I was drunk & desperate, & I'd just met the guy about 4 or 5 hours earlier.
I won't get into all the gory details, but we didn't actually end up having sex.
It's sucks to even think about it, because I know so much better & I've always been so protective of my body.
I remember driving home at 3 o'clock in the morning, taking a hot shower, & trying to scrub him off of me.
It was then that I started realizing it was okay be a 20-something virgin, & that I was still far from ready to go that far with anyone.
Problem was, any time I drank, I seemed to forget all about that.
I can't tell you how many times my "friends" would try to pawn me off to guys, & no matter how hard they tried, no one was ever interested in me.
I'd either get a cold shoulder, like Jeff, or I'd get the "You're such a nice girl" bullshit.
It fucked with my self esteem, especially once I sobered up & realized that I was always getting rejected, no matter how pretty I tried to make myself before I left the house.

Now that I don't drink & have no interest in getting drunk anymore, I see the majority of these things as a blessing.
If any of those guys had taken me or my "friends" up on our offers, I'd have a ton of random notches on my belt & possibly a kid.
Maybe I had to learn the hard way to wait for someone who respects me, but like I said, that night is still tough for me to think about & I find it easier to just let it go all together.
With my condition, I can't have alcohol, caffeine, most juices, or carbonated drinks.
So I drink water.
All the time.
It's getting to the point where I'm becoming known for always carrying a giant water bottle around.
Which is good, cause I used to only drink water when I was hungover.

This post makes me sound like an alcoholic.
During the times when I was drinking, I'd go weeks & months without a drink.
It was a social anxiety thing.
Once I got around certain people, I knew they'd be drinking, so I'd drink to tolerate & fit in with them.
I just didn't know when to stop & that's what got me in trouble.
I can't remember the last time I had alcohol & that makes me pretty happy.
I love being able to have conversations with people & feel like I'm being 100% honest with myself.
I don't ever plan on getting shitfaced, "throw-up drunk" again.
I've realized how awesome it is to have good experiences & feel totally & completely drunk on excitement & happiness.
This is starting to sound really cheesy but it's all true.
Having to forcefully give up alcohol is one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Remnants of 24: Fake Boyfriends & Real Problems

I think it's imperative I address this while the wound is still fresh & bloody.
I just blasted Adele & cried for about an hour because I found out a musician I've fallen in love with over the past year has "secretly" been in a relationship all along.
Feel free to laugh. There's a ton of humor in this, I'm sure.
However, I feel like there's a bigger issue here: I'm almost 25 & I'm still crying over imaginary boyfriends.
Wait,
I'm almost 25 & I still have imaginary boyfriends.
This artist,we'll call him 'A', has changed my world for the better.
Sometimes I feel like my soul finds ways to connect with other's, which in the long run, has typically turned out to be really a good thing.
However, it's not so good that the other person, 9 times out of 10, has no idea who I am.
It's hard to put my feelings toward 'A' into words.
He's made me fall back in love with literature, with blues music, with nature, with everything I used to feel embarrassed about loving.
I don't know why or how I became so attached to him, but I swear, this is becoming a saga.
And I'm getting really fucking sick of it.
I want to be as open & honest as humanly possible with this post. If I don't say everything now, history is just going to keep repeating itself.
I don't know what malicious virus keeps feeding me these bullshit ideas about who I am & who I might actually have a shot with, but I fear I'm going to be perpetually slammed with reality checks for the rest of my life because of it.
I'm exhausted from trying to be so goddamn optimistic all the time.
It's not okay.
I'm sure I'll be fine, but right now it's not okay.
I swear, in some other life I've loved so many people and they loved me back.
But this time around, it's just me falling in love.
Failing in love.
I feel so stupid.
I don't know what I expected. For 'A' to somehow end up in New York & find himself interested in a 25 24 year old, undergrad, with a messy room, & awkward smile?

The point is:
I NEED TO GET OUT OF MY OWN FUCKING HEAD.
Lonely doesn't even begin to describe it anymore.
I was lonely 9 years ago when I was best friends with the school whore, & she was fucking every guy I had a crush on.
Now I don't know what to call this.
Detrimentally insecure?
I like to think I'm pretty comfortable with myself, but once I leave my house all comfortably gets left inside.
Yes, I want to be in a relationship.
I want someone to appreciate how much I love them.
I write stories, & poems, & letters for people who will never know about them.
I wrote an entire book for one of my classmates.
And I don't care if he never finds out. That wasn't why I did it.
I love people so much.
I just want to know what the receiving end feels like.

I'm not sorry I fell in love with 'A'.
Not even a little bit.
And maybe love is only mutual & what I felt toward him doesn't count because he doesn't know me from Adam.
But now that it's indisputably clear everything was just one big fantasy, I know the pain I'm feeling is completely real, regardless of why I'm feeling it.
I have to stop doing this to myself.
---                                                                    
Okay, so it's been a few days since I started this post.
I ended up getting the worst sleep of my life that night, which is odd because crying usually knocks me out.
It's so strange.
I'm not a crier.
But even now that I can step further back & see the absurdity of crying over something so silly, when I think about it when I think about him, my chest hurts & I feel the tears getting ready to start back up again.
I hate that.
It's like someone else has control of my body.

'A', like so many others before him, gave me a place to rest my heart.
Every ounce of love I had in me, I invested in him.
And I don't know why.
But I gotta cut this shit out.
I think this is one of those posts that's supposed to round off to me realizing I need to love myself more.
Like, all of that love and energy I put in 'A' should have been invested in myself.
But it wasn't.
So now I'm picking up the pieces from that, & I'll worry about what comes next later.

I'm almost 25, & I'm still inflicting the same bullshit on myself as I did 6 years ago when I started this whole thing.
I just want to know why.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Update: School, Anxiety, Depression, & What Happens Next

It's been a while.
Last summer feels like a million years ago, & I'd almost completely forgotten the majority of shit that plagued me then.
Except for the wolf spiders.
Never forget.
So, I've been a English major for the past 3 semesters, & as far as school goes, it's the happiest I've been in years.
At the end of every previous semester, I'd receive a warning letter to get my GPA up or I'd be kicked out of the University.
My last semester as a sociology student, I exhausted my second to last chance.
I can't tell you how badly I used to want to go to the school I attend, & the threat of being kicked out used to keep me up at night.
Since I've been back in English, I've been alright.
I have no fear of falling classes, let alone getting kicked out of school, & I feel like I know what's going on 99.9% of the time.
I'm fortunate to have had this many chances, just to realize what I knew all along.

So, about my anxiety.
It's been bad.
Like awful.
Fall semester was going really well, then I started experiencing a bizarre health issue.
It's probably not the biggest deal in the world, but I can easily say, it almost wrecked my world at some point.
Well, my anxiety did, not my health issue.
This was the closest I've ever come to a nervous breakdown, & I'm really intent on never getting any closer.
I legitimately thought I was going blind, losing my ability to walk, my organs were shutting down.
I mean, every single thing you can imagine, I honestly believed was either happening, or going to happen.
Never have I felt sicker in the mind than this.
I've been suicidal a more than a few times in my life, but never like this.
Instances like driving home, & trying so hard to fight the urge to sharply turn my wheel & crash into something.
Anything.
Just so I could have something else to focus on (i.e. a totaled car, broken bones).
Or nothing to focus on at all.
I know there are so many people in the world who can relate to feeling like this.
But to those who can't, it's indescribable.
Anti-depressants may have very well been the cause of the health issue I've been having, so there was no thought of returning to those.
I tried taking an herbal remedy, but it made me sick to my stomach.
I tried meditation, but all I did was fall asleep.
I tried going to the gym, but I thought it made my problem worse.
The stress that this "simple" issue has caused me, is like nothing I've ever experienced before.
And in reality, that's probably just because, in 24 years, I've never had a real health scare.
Which is a really good, lucky thing.

Now here we are, 3 months from when the problem first started, & I just got a diagnosis last week.
I've had devices stuck in places I'd never even thought about before, & apparently, I have more to look forward to.
After getting an MRI in December & ruling out the scariest possibility, my stress levels have come down quite a bit.
But to be completely honest, I still have days where I'm suicidal.
And it's scary.
One "little" problem can cause so much more turmoil when you're already mentally unstable.
It also sucks to have to call myself "mentally unstable", but it is what it is.
I've been this way since I was 11, & I think it's only getting worse.
There are days where I so badly want to commit myself, just so I can take a break from writing papers, & working, & driving, & being so responsible for my own life.
But I still somehow get all my homework done, & I always make it to class early, & I've held down the same job for 2 years now, even though they "let people go" almost monthly.
I don't know how I'm doing it.
I swear, I don't.
And I'm rarely nice to myself.
And I feel guilty when I congratulate myself on something that should've been done anyway.
That's depression for ya.

Sometimes when I write about this shit, I feel like it's all one giant overshare.
No one reads this blog, but I put tons of personal information about myself on here.
But it helps me.
A lot.
And I'm okay.
I'm not going to kill myself, and I don't think I've ever actually come close.
I want to see the end to this health issue.
I want to finish this degree.
I want love and a family so badly, it hurts.
This has been a really long post, & it's nowhere near what I'd intended to write about.
I don't even know what I was supposed to be writing about.
But it's so important to document these emotions, & get them all out.
I need to start being kinder to myself, whatever that means.
I need to start realizing how well I manage to hold myself together, despite the fact I almost always feel like total & complete shit.
I just want to know what it's like to wake up in a good mood & stay there for the entire day.
Better yet, the entire week.
Without medication.
I'm really trying to get there, & it's so tough.
I'm fortunate to still have the willpower & mental energy to get everything I need done, just to stay afloat, but to anyone who doesn't, I feel ya.
And it doesn't have anything to do with weakness.
I don't know if my depression is chemical or situational, or both, or neither.
I just know that it's here, & being miserable is fucking miserable.

I just bought a laptop, so I'm hoping to find more time (and places) to update this site.
As badly as I don't want this to turn into a depression/anxiety based blog, that's kind of all that's happening in my world, at the moment.
I look forward to more positive posts, myself.
And I'm determined to find good reasons to write them.