What Is Right

People are problem solvers.  Everyone you meet has a bit of advice for this thing or that thing.  Everyone can tell you what you should be doing and what you should want to do.  Many times it is well intentioned and meant to be supportive and done entirely without conscious thought.  However, for someone like me, it often leaves us feeling unheard, unappreciated, and as if there is something wrong with us for not wanting to do what we should.  We are told, “Do what is right for you.”  Then we hear, “Don’t stay in your comfort zone.  Do what you have to do in order to change.”  It may be uncomfortable but it is time we I become comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Why? How does this serve a purpose if we, if I, am unhappy?  I am tired of feeling uncomfortable 99% of the time.  I want to feel safe and secure and in control and comfortable enough to be uncomfortable.  I’m not there yet.

There was a long time when I hated public speaking.  I still do not love it and have a hard time with it, sometimes a very hard time with it, but throughout this program, over the past few years, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with it.  I can talk in front of my classmates with much greater ease than I used to, especially if I am interested in and enthusiastic about the topic. It has taken time.  So I feel like I am in the same situation now.  There are all of these things I should be doing, and should want to do, and should do no matter whether I like it, feel comfortable, or not.  Just like when people told me about public speaking, “You just have to get up there and do it.”

I recognize that avoidance only perpetuates the feelings of discomfort but until I find a better way to deal with those feelings of discomfort my attempts at confronting it will be limited. One thing I can say is that it has gotten ever so slightly easier to stand up for myself over the last couple of months.  Again, I’m not where I want to be yet.  I do not like to feel badly about wanting to do what I want to do, rather than what everyone else says I should want and need to do.  There is this part of me that thinks/ feels, “Yeah you can accuse and blame, call me resistant, roll your eyes at me, get frustrated because I am not doing what you want me to do.  But fuck you; I’m going to do what I want to do and what I need to do for me.”  And if that means I’m resistant and refusing growth then so be it.  I’m tired of doing what everyone else thinks I should be doing and I am tired of feeling badly about not wanting to do those things.

Huge flashback to an ear doctor’s appointment when I was little.  The doctor had to remove a tube from my ear that allowed fluid to drain from behind my ear drum.  It’s a common enough procedure for kids who have a lot of ear infections.  After a while the tube falls out of the ear drum and lays inside the ear canal until the doctor goes in with a pair of tiny tweezers and plucks it out.  So the doctor at this one appointment reaches in with his tweezers to remove the tube from my ear canal.  Unfortunately, the tube had wax build up around it and had attached itself to the tiny hairs inside my ear.  Needless to say, the removal of the tube this time felt like tiny knives had just exploded in my ear.  The next time I go to this doctor and the tube in my other ear has to be removed I would not let him touch me.  I mean I totally flipped out  I became as strong as a bodybuilder on steroids in an effort to hold my Mom and the doctor off.  I would not calm down.  I told my Mom she could beat me and starve me but I would not let that doctor near my ears.  Looking back on it I totally had a trauma reaction.  In an effort to protect myself, rationally or irrationally, I would not do what they wanted me to do.  Eventually they realized they were not going to be able to get anywhere near me and plans had to be made for me to be put under anesthesia just so that the doctor could reach into my ear with a tiny pair of tweezers to get the tiny drainage tube, about the size of a couple of grains of rice, out of my ear canal.  Looking back on it, I’ve felt guilty about the time, expense, and effort put out for something that could have taken 5 seconds in a doctor’s office.

What does home feel like?

I first started living in this apartment in 2011.  At that time I was paying about $525 plus electric which was pretty reasonable in the summer months as I do not use my A/C for the most part.  Now the time has come to renew my lease again and they want me to pay $625 a month plus electric and water.  Generally this would put me close to the $700 mark, in a good month.  This puts a tight squeeze on my budget.  Most people would say this would be a good time to find a new place to live, especially since I’ve been hankering for a cat.  But the logistics involved in moving exhaust me just thinking about them, and that is not to mention the financial costs involved, which I can’t afford.  To top this off, my Aunt says I may need a roommate.  Most people would shrug and think “Well if I need a roommate, I need a roommate.”  The thought of a roommate makes me want to cry though.  When first read my Aunt’s email, that is what my first reaction was.  “Nooooooo!  Why?!”  I was tempted to write back, “I will NOT have a roommate.”  Instead, I sent a bland email simply telling her when I had to let the landlord know about my lease.

I feel like I don’t have the time, energy, or money, to coordinate a move.  It makes me anxious more than usual.  Trying to keep up with my current work load at work, which I need to do in order to pay my bills, and then trying to deal with a move on top of that…I want to cry.  I barely have the time and energy to keep my apartment in some kind of decent order.  I feel like I can barely settle in one place because of either financial or emotional reasons, and now I have to potentially deal with moving and not only that, moving into a place that is not completely my own?  I know what my Aunt says I should do, but what is right for me, what I want, is different.  I do not want a roommate.  And yet it is ridiculous to pay so much money for a rather unspectacular but serviceable apartment.  The part of me that knows I should do the senseable thing and find a more reasonably priced apartment is being overruled by the part of me that wants/needs to do the easy thing of staying put.

A Dream Deferred

So it has become apparent this week that I will not be able to start my second internship until the Fall semester.  School supervision, provided by the program’s professors, is extremely limited this summer and so I will begin again in the Fall.  Part of me, a largish part, feels like this is a good thing as I was getting stressed about where I’d go and what I still have to do in terms of contracts and clearances and things.  And that part feels relieved about the decision being taken out of our hands.  Also that’s not to mention the stress I was feeling about actually going back and whether or not I could actually do the work.  Waiting until the Fall is a good thing because I can spend more time with the material.  I can also continue working on myself.  Doing internship in the Fall versus doing it in the Summer might be the difference between doing it and doing it well.  There are times I feel like I am a good distance away from the scared and uncertain and fragile person I was, and there are other times I feel very close to her.  I still question myself.  How far onto solid ground am I?  I listen to friends sometimes who are in the same place I was and it’s like, now that I have my feet under me a little better, I am holding onto the end of a rope trying to help them up, trying to help lighten the load for them.  I don’t have many worries that they’ll pull me under.  It is up to me to maintain my own footing or not.  I do slide backwards sometimes; we all do.

But my anxiety comes from feeling like I’ve been studying for a test the whole time and being afraid I’ll forget it all by the time I can take the test.  The test being Internship.  I feel like after limping through, with debatable success, the first half of Internship and being strongly encouraged to take a semester off, this semester has been like remedial work.  It has been beneficial, as remedial courses tend to be, but there is embarrassment and shame attached, the same as if I were again taking remedial math.  What are you, stupid?  What’s wrong with you that you can’t do what everyone else is doing?  Such strong flashbacks that bring tears to my eyes.

On the other hand, I am thinking, “This has been good for me.”  How many people can or will allow themselves to take the extra time?  It is what is good and right for me.  How many people allow the expectations of others determine what is good and right for them?  Don’t get me wrong, there is a huge part of me that is worried about that too, but at least I think I can say it is not as “loud” and overpowering as it used to be.  I can’t help but hear those voices that say, “Who the fuck do you think you’re kidding?  Maybe you are just not cut out for this.  Why don’t you just grow up already?  You just have to DO IT.  WHAT is your problem?”  To that I say, I don’t have a problem.  This is just what I have to do.  I am living my life and doing what is in me to do.  And most of all I say, “No.  I don’t want to listen to you anymore.”  And now I don’t have to.

The only question is, now that I won’t have student loan money coming in this Summer, how am I going to afford to live on my paycheck, still maintain my sanity, and do the necessary work that will allow me to return to school in the Fall?