This is living.

Shit has hit the fan in the last couple of weeks. Literally. The last couple weeks, I have been afraid to check my phone or my email because so many issues have surfaced. It has felt like a snowball, one thing after another,  I am finding myself to be stronger than I ever imagined.

This week, I asked myself, “When is this ever going to stop?” I have felt like, especially in the last year, one thing has happened after another. It has been family issues, relationship issues, integrity issues, school issues, car issues, gym issues, management issues, technology issues, food issues, etc. I thought that, at 23, I had already overcome so many hurdles that what else could possibly go wrong? I am beginning to learn that this is just life and things happen all the time and I can’t imagine how coarse I will become at the end of all of this.

I spend a lot of time protecting myself so I can be the happiest and most productive possible. I analyze situations, make careful choices, and keep strict standards so that I do not find myself in this place. It is uncomfortable. It feels unsafe. It is unknown, frightening, anxiety producing. However, I have been amazed at my resiliency throughout the last couple of weeks. I did not think I was this strong and I see now that all of the obstacles, situations, and challenges I was faced with in these last few months have helped me to focus on reality. I think about myself at 18, immature, emotional, impulsive. When my boyfriend broke up with me, I was devastated. I laid in my bed, moped around my house, and stopped eating for about a week. I think I desperately texted or called him everyday because I was so sad; I let myself wallow in pity. I even remember going to work (which, at the time was a maternity store) and welling up with tears in the middle of a check out. It was embarrassing, especially with the pregnant ladies around who were asking me what color their breast milk should be. I thought I was strong then and now when I look back on it; I never knew what more life had planned. Comparably, I was just a fruit snack in ball pit.

I started noticing all of these things happen when I began to student teach. Perhaps it is just my profession. I think applying for jobs is one of the worst experiences ever, especially when you have something to lose: your dignity. Applying and interviewing for jobs sucks, because you take it personally. You have to rely on someone else to approve your resume, someone else to get you into an interview, someone else to like your responses, all the while worrying about the other candidates. You yourself know that you are the best candidate for the job, but do they? There was a period of two weeks that I was a disaster. I would get super excited when one school called for an interview and in the same hour, get a call from another that rejected me. It sucked, I felt like a failure, and at the end of the day, I am where I was supposed to be.

A good friend of mine called to check in with me last night. She said, “I am just so amazed at how well you are handling it, with everything you have going on”. And I told her, “I am amazed at myself as well. I am not exactly sure how I am getting through my days, but I think I am beginning to realize that life throws curve balls that we sometimes cannot control and all I can do is pick up myself and keep living”. It has been one thing after another in these last couple of years, so many things that I could have never anticipated. I keep asking myself if this happens to everyone, and through my research: Yes, yes it does. This is life.

I thought I would graduate, get a job, and that would be it. I never even questioned that it might not work out that way. Being a grown up sucks. But, as I find these curve balls being thrown at me, I find myself spending less time ruminating, less time grieving, and less time feeling personally attacked. I am maturing and becoming a stronger, more educated person through each situation.

Today, I am feeling sad. Perhaps it is hormones, perhaps it is exhaustion, or perhaps it is nostalgia. I am an English teacher and throughout my year, I am teaching my students what the human condition means. I think it means exactly this. It means feeling raw, passionate, strong emotions. It means losing the best thing that ever happened to you, only to realize in the end why it happened. It means surrendering your destiny to time, because time can only answer these uncertain questions. It means building patience and acceptance towards the unknown. It means fighting for what you think is right, figuring out who you are, and experiencing all of those emotions in between. I woke up sad today, but I know being sad is an all too human emotion. We have sadness, we have happiness, and we have to experience it all. This is life and this is what it means to live.

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