In the final stretch of last semester I begged the universe for an end to this college existence. I was (& still am) tired of being penniless, the pressures of the college social sphere, the professors who thought college based education was my absolute priority in life, the menial part-time positions that don’t pay you half of what you deserve, etc. I wanted to start my post college life immediately. To gain a sense that I was progressing toward a sturdy future, I started my break at a coffee shop, looking over job search webpages, and trying to figure out what in the world I could see myself doing. Over the four hours I perused, I found myself growing anxious, frustrated, and overwhelmed with fear. I didn’t qualify for anything. I would never have the money to pay my student loans, or to feed myself, or to take care of those in my life who mean the most to me. I would never be successful. I hadn’t actually been to rock bottom, but it was coming for me as soon as I had that degree in my hand.
I shut down my computer, sped home, and stepped back. I hid under my covers, wrote my feelings out, and tried to pinpoint whatever control I had in my life.
Over the next few days these feelings subsided. I put the future away, and went to work. I came home to Sophie and my mom, read books, exercised in the morning, thought about my blog, and learned some yoga. I allowed myself evenings curled up on my bed, listening to music. I lit candles, organized my room, and let my thoughts flow.
I found my thoughts wandering to my past. Memories of running around the neighborhood as a kid, of playing basketball, and of the few weeks I did ballet in kindergarten popped up in my head. Memories of swimming in the pool with my dad, of baking my skin at Sherkston with some of my best friends, of breaking my toe because I kicked my friend’s shin too hard (we were having a…leg fight?). I thought about the different relationships I formed over the years. From the first heartbreak I caused myself because I was a stubborn moron, to my first kiss with a boy I “dated” for a week. Unwanted memories of frequent hospital visits, and my grandma looking into my eyes and saying, “Shannon, I know. You’re in pain.” Whether good or bad, the memories kept flowing through me, uninvited, but I also didn’t mind so much. I started to grasp the past. Who I once was, why I may have been that way, the mistakes I made that led me where I am today. But I wasn’t angry with myself. I wasn’t ashamed. When happy memories filtered through, I smiled. When sad memories presented themselves, I was sad. But I mainly stared at them as they came, and let them reveal what they had to share.
Over the last few months I had been burdened by what I would do after college. Different friends were proposing we get apartments. That I move to the northtowns, or to Hawaii, or to the Orchard Park/Hamburg area. I couldn’t make a decision then, and I thought it was because I didn’t know where I would be after graduation. Now I’ve realized that it’s because I don’t actually know what I want. I don’t want to base this decision, or any possibly life changing decision, on what people expect me to do. I don’t want to make a specific decision because I feel like I owe someone, or because it ‘seems’ too out of reach. I spent so many years of my life not doing what I wanted to do, because it made other people happy to not see me do it. I remember not taking a photography class in high school, because my friend made fun of another girl who was beginning to take interest in it. I didn’t want to seem like I was somehow getting in the way of her hobby, because I valued our friendship. Now I haven’t talked to her in several years. What did I do all of that avoiding for?
These next few months aren’t about the job search, or the resume, or the cover letter. They’re about taking a break from the constant buzz of the future, and listening to the echos of the past. More than that, they’re about the present. They’re about where I am in my mental and physical state now, and about moving toward that individual I want to become.
I am starting to see my past clearly, starting to accept it, and I plan on using it to help me move forward. It’s time to let those memories and their attached emotions rise to the surface, so I can know my past and continue moving on with my life. I know there are some who believe hiding from their past is the best thing for them. I’m not so sure. If you don’t learn history, how are you sure you won’t somehow repeat a terrible disaster? Isn’t that part of why people study it to begin with? Why shouldn’t it be the same with your own history?
-The Little Fit Sis-