Friday, April 16, 2010

Bad Road

I'm an honest person. A very honest, very open, empathic personality.

Occasionally it comes back to bite me in the ass. Hard.

This past week has been quite rough on your favorite (I know, I'm assuming a lot here) Sagittarius. It's a combination of lots of little things - and some not so little things - and everyone has a tipping point. It fluctuates a little (not wildly, otherwise that would mean some pretty big issues) and I tipped over it yesterday. Yesterday night, in fact (which, if you read that and you're slightly confused, yesterday night is also synonymous with the phrase 'last night') and it wasn't pretty. It's never pretty when someone who's usually completely with it completely freaks out and dissolves into tears for an hour while on the phone with her mother. At eleven, no less. On a Thursday.

And I'd be lying through my teeth if I said that everything was back to where it should be. For the most part, it is.

I have a legitimate to-do list in which I write things down, give them a number (not for ordering purposes, just because things should be numbered - it's a quirk), and cross them off when I'm done with them. I've used my planner more this year than I have ever in my life, including high school where they gave us one at the beginning of the year. Then again, it also doubled as our hall passes, and they greatly frowned upon you if you had no pass in the hall or came to class without your planner. I have a planner. I write things in it. I used red ink for the important things - major due dates, major events, things like that. Regular homework (you can find my physics homework in black ink) is a different color and not all capped. And my to-do list is folded in half (both pages - we hit page two earlier this week) is under the binder clip holding the front pages, the weeks already gone by, together so when I open it it's on the current week. It's hectic, messy, and largely reflective of the girl that keeps it.

Girl here is deliberate. I don't feel very much like a young woman - a young, twenty-year-old woman - one her own at college and striking it out on her own feet at her own pace and time. I don't feel much like that at the moment, even though today is, as my mother told me yesterday night it would be, amidst my tears, better. I'm frustrated, overwhelmed, and the part of me that's never quit anything in my life no matter how badly it's going is trying to silence the part of me that keeps screaming, You can't do this!! Silencing that voice is like trying to silence that voice in the back of your head that says, your tummy doesn't feel well today. Where's those pants, the big ones...and the sweatshirt and t-shirt, because your love handles look exceptionally large today, too.... Those voices live together, and when one starts clamoring, the others aren't far behind and before you know it, your self-esteem drops through the floorboards and the pints of Ben and Jerry's at Wegman's start lookin' real good.

I've already had my pint for the week. Wednesday. Em and I really need a RENT night, so I biked to Weggie's, got three pints (the cashier, a guy about my age, just more or less looked at me, asked me how I was, and then looked at the amount of ice cream. I merely replied it was a 'rough week') and then went back to the house where she lives (she lives in a theme house) and we walked to the corner of Jackson (that feels like a second home to her, dare I say like the one in Townsend does) and proceeded to bask in each other's company and the music, story, and love of RENT. Thank you, Jonathan Larson. And thank you, Ben and Jerry.

I'm going to point out that we laughed ourselves silly when Collins first appeared, after getting mugged, and burst into the loft with a cheery, "Merry Christmas, bitches!" around a cigar. We backed it up three times, at least. Same with Mark's first twitch-dancing in Tango Maureen.

Now fast-forward to Thursday. The paper proposal went fine (I changed my entire topic from poverty to education, and should mention that we have been denied access to schools in Toronto, cited as, 'invasive' and therefore most of my 'research' is going to come from any and all random conversations I have with people on the streets) but the test - the retaking of the second exam - started off good.

And rapidly went downhill like a freakin' landslide of monumental proportions. Village-leveling, even.

It's frustration. It's frustration and self-doubt, those two things that constantly follow you everywhere and that you can't seem to get rid of. It's not that I don't know the material. I can tell you what's going to happen, what you should do, and I can do it on the homework just fine. Put me in a room with a test and I, for lack of a better way to phrase it, freak the fuck out. I don't know why. I just do. And, yesterday started off great - rolling along through the multiple choice, doing just fine and dandy - and then that first question that you're not sure of pops up. Then you start to doubt if you know it well enough, because the next one seems a little trippy. From there, everything snowballs ridiculously, and there's really nothing you can do about it, but sit there, swear silently in your head, try not to look at the cute guy further on down the row that you've somehow developed a ridiculous crush on, and before you know it, it's been three hours and you and another girl are the only ones left. And by that point, I was so frustrated that I wanted to cry, my calculator had died, and I wanted nothing more than for the floor to open up and swallow me whole. Test and everything.

Which led to the call home and freaking out, with much crying and sniffling, and I need to wash my one long-sleeved shirt before I wear it in public again, and Mama being Mama.

It's one thing to tell someone that you have enough faith in them for them to get the help that they need, and quite another to finally tell yourself that you can't go on the way you're going and that you need assistance. What we figured is that because the housing for next year, due to the fact that I'm going abroad is a little up in the air, that's been eating at me, in the back of my mind. I don't want to end up living somewhere in which I don't know my roommate, if I have one, or if I sign with someone in a quad, don't know the people I'm living with. That being said, there's also the frustration of not knowing what to do in order to actually meet these people going abroad in the spring, and the whole housing process in general. It's not like last year when I was looking for a single, and ran up two more floors and kind of scoped out, after the fact, where my room was and even looked at it because I knocked on the door of the girl living there. I knew what I was doing, what options I had. I don't know any of that, at the moment. And that's something that's probably been bugging me.

Another big, big issue is the freaking out about the tests. That's most likely not something the CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning, of which I'm not going back if I don't have to, simple as that - I thought it was maybe just multiple choice tests, and walked out of there feeling less intelligent than I was and like I hadn't accomplished anything) can fix, but probably anxiety related. And the way to fix that is to see someone at the Counseling Center.

Which, naturally, brings up a lot of internal conflicts.

The first, of course, being, I've got no problem telling someone who needs that extra person to talk to see someone. When it comes to yourself? You really have to tamp down every misconception you have, and a good part of your pride, too, because you need the help. I'm not going crazy in any aspect of my life other than the fact that there is something wrong when I sit down to a test. Some part of me that simply panics and goes blank, and gets frustrated. Something that I haven't been able to fix on my own, but that I need assistance with. So I have an appointment. It was really hard to do, but this can't go on. This disconnect between knowing the material - liking it, too - and shitty test scores can't go on. It's not good for my stress level - which is probably why my face looks like Louise a la middle school, again, and I'm really impressed that I haven't seriously started itching because of my psoriasis - and something that just keeps weighing you down no matter how you try to fix it on your own.

I'm not going to lie because there's part of me that's twitching sporadically at the thought of having an appointment at the Counseling Center, but if it's going to make things better (thinking and comparing back to surgery because nobody's really sure what's going on in there), then you hold your tears, let go of your pride a little, and reach out because it's what you need.

My very wise friend, who was lying face-down on the quad as I walked out of class earlier, told me, You can keep going on your own because you've always done it, alone. Or you don't have to do it alone.

It was hard. It was really hard to walk in there, and tell the secretary that you think you need to talk to someone because this whole freaking out about tests is not good. And that's that. Mama said last night that there was help available, and that all I had to do was reach out a little. People are willing to help; you just have to swallow enough times and allow them to. It's not saying that you can't do it on your own, it's just that you don't have to do it on your own.

Things are in a sort of fragile equilibrium at the moment. Taking little bites over a longer period of time (Mama) will help space everything out, and that way, when it comes time when everything is due, there is no freaking out. It's sound advice. Difficult for a recovering procrastinator, but sound advice.

Right now? Decompression is much needed. Which is why I'm going to spend the time until my appointment with Residential Education to talk about my housing for next spring working on some of my writing. Which, as usual, comes back at the most inopportune moments (not that I'm really complaining) and I've really made some headway with working on the beginning/editing slowly Sage, which is really due for an update. That, and maybe I'll get around to making more changes with The Crossing. And speaking of that, there's good news to come out of this whole emotional hurricane - I know where I'm going in the composition book. I know where things are heading from this last set of page-break stars. And I'm really excited for that.

Things are a little difficult. What's important to remember through everything is that there are people who love you, and care about you. And want you to do well, and look at the bigger picture when the details get overwhelming. Look at the bigger picture of coming home, going back to work, and seeing a smile on a little face. Normalcy in a way that's intimately familiar, and makes sense on a bone-deep level. See the bigger picture of what's in the Fall, and the adventures just waiting to happen, the new friendships waiting to blossom, and the chance to wander in a completely new place. It's entirely possible to drown in the details when living in the bigger picture, and you can't throw yourself a safety line. Or if you can, you're damn talented. I'm not that talented.

So now there's a bit of a plan, the repeated mantra of You can do this, and the reminder that there's a place that's always behind you. It ain't easy, but that's just life.

And this...well, this was a reminder. At exactly the right time, from someone who always knows what I need and when I need it.

"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 'Pooh?' he whispered.

'Yes, Piglet?'

'Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. 'I just wanted to be sure of you.'"

A.A. Milne


overachiever-1 said...

I'm glad you finally are seeing someone over at the counseling center. Test anxiety is a totally legitimate form of anxiety disorder. I've been hassling one of my friends at Buffalo to go see her counseling center for oh, 3 years now? But naturally she won't listen to me, who's probably had enough psychotherapy at this point to qualify for a degree herself.

Molly Louise said...

Thank you. It took a lot of courage to actually go and make an appointment, which sometimes people don't understand.

"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz