Whilst sitting with my little sister in the crook of our basement couches watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I have began to ponder my future- maybe my entire life.
I’m a mere 20 years young and have many talents, not to toot my own horn or anything. I’ve been at a university for about 3 years now, and could graduate early if I had enough credits towards anything in particular.
I aspired to be a doctor. I wanted to “practice as a DO and be an OB/GYN.” I told everyone this at my graduation party after high school. I was the perfect student, athlete, and daughter.
When I got to college I realized that I was better at studying boys that weren’t my boyfriend than studying books. I was, and still am, in a small residential college of science. Everyone is obsessed with school and their books and how many points they have in all their classes. Something I had spent all my time agonizing over in high school.
In fact, my entire high school career had been spent studying and memorizing, planning for my future and fantasizing about how great of a doctor I would be.
Second semester of my freshman year, I had a breakdown. I couldn’t possibly be a doctor. I couldn’t handle the stress of holding life and death in my hands. I could barely take care of myself, yet alone deliver children from another human being every damn day. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking the MCAT. What happened if I actually got into med school? Every week would be like final exams week.
No way. No way in hell.
Ok cool. So I decided I would concentrate my efforts in a field other than human biology.
Nutrition sounded nice. Nutritional Sciences I said over and over again to myself. I could do that. Yeah, that’s something I could do.
First semester of my Sophomore year, I came back to school with a vengeance. I had spent my summer working a crap job, earning minimum wage at a pool. Kissing the asses of rich bratty children and stay at home moms with one too many boob jobs.
I declared the major of Nutritional Sciences that I had spent all summer mulling over. Despite somewhat awkward encounters with my always naked roommate, I felt as though this whole Nutrition thing could actually work out.
Second semester of my sophomore year I became an RA. My floor partner on the guy’s side had a major stroke halfway through the semester.
The summer before my junior year of college I took the same summer job again, but decided to also take summer classes. How ingenious. I went back to school and officially trained to be an RA, a job I had spent several months doing without formal training.
During this time I also met a man who could quite possibly be the love of my life.
Over the course of a semester, I gained a new friend: anxiety.
Going to sleep at night became the worst part of my day. Waking up in the middle of the night was even worse. Covered in sweat or just plain scared out of my mind, I would awake breathless. Why couldn’t something else be taking my breath away?
I became lethargic and insensitive to myself. I moved through the days not acting the way I wanted to be acting or saying things that I wanted to be saying. There seemed to be a disconnect from my brain and my mouth and my body.
The worst of all the nights, I drank shitty wine out of a coffee mug in my bed. Spent way too long looking out my windows. Pushed the potential love of my life away from me until he came knocking at my door. He laid with me while I told him things between sobs that I never thought would come out of my perfect mouth.
Having an opportunity to not be alright is one we often choose against. Maybe something we run the other way from as fast as our legs will carry us. Being something other than just fine is frightening. Emotions are scary. Tears are too much. Being confused is just not acceptable.
A sense of direction was something I used to pride myself in. Anywhere I was in life I knew exactly what my next step would be. Even if I was lost somewhere, I could feel where I needed to go. Evidently, direction has escaped me.
As I prepare to enter yet another semester of college, very few things are for certain.
The way my pulse sparks whenever I take a full gulp of crisp air. That is for certain. The way my eyes shake beneath my lids when I lay down and try to sleep. That is for certain. The peace when I’m with him, or even near him. That is for certain.
Despite the maybe’s and the tears. The new friends, old friends, and the friends we have yet to meet. The direction of our path that is somewhat obscured because we’ve gotten turned around one too many times. There’s only a few things that will happen no matter how lost we are. Of course, the sun will still rise and set. Our choice is whether we want to be there to see it or not.
I know you’re probably wondering how this is comforting or where the solution to my madness lay. To this my answer is: there is no solution. I am merely normal. I think I am a human being.