I wrote this post the night before my grandpa died, in November 2014. The irony in how happy I was going to bed with such a positive outlook on things to come, and how awful the following weeks were is just an extra little thorn in my side.
I just spent a little while looking through photos from my exchange. It was about 4 years ago that I spent 6 months of my life living and going to school in Australia. I have looked at these photos many times before, but tonight was different. Tonight I realized that I don’t know who the girl that looks like me in those photos is anymore. She has changed and grown over the past 4 years to the point where she isn’t as recognizable as you might think she would be. I was surprised to find myself thinking this. When I got back from my exchange I didn’t know who the person in my high school photos was. Now in my masters I don’t know who the person in my exchange photos was. I do know who I am right now, for better or for worse. I think I finally realized that the person I am now needs a break, she needs to visit the adventurous and (somewhat) more carefree person that she grew to be while on her exchange. The person I am now realized that she is ‘alone’* here, so why not be alone somewhere new and exciting. She needs to be set free again.
I have the opportunity to do a road trip with one of my best friends this summer, and I’m going to take it. I have the opportunity to visit family and friends in Europe this summer, and I’m going to try my best to take it. I have the opportunity to apply to programs all over the world once I am done my masters, and I am going to follow through with that. I am going to try to not think about the amount of work it will take to achieve these things and just accept that they are things I want in my life, and that they are worth it. More worth it than stressing and spending time on school work that I could instead spend doing more exciting things. As much as school matters, I need to be happy, and I need to set myself free from everything that has put on hold things that I want to do in my life. Tonight I am going to bed with a smile on my face, memories on my mind, and dreams filled with fresh possibilities and excitement. Thank you self, for finally giving me a break and making me feel like its going to be okay. I got a glimpse of this when I went to a concert by myself a few weeks ago, but the whole picture is a much better feeling. As Said the Whale sings in their song ‘Banks of the English Bay’ “one step in the right direction won’t change the world but it’s a start”. Man when things line up, they really line up nicely.
* I say I am alone here because I don’t feel that I have friends. Yes I have friends, just not in this city. Yes I am somewhat social with people at school, but they are not true friendships (at least not yet). My family is isolating. So essentially I am alone here, as alone as I would be somewhere new…and this is somewhere old.
Here is a post called “Sleepless Nights” from April 2011. I’ve been having some lately so it felt relevant.
Each one is different, no matter how often or scarce they are, and I never know quite what to expect.
Sometimes there is company (in person or through text), sometimes I am left to my own devices.
Tonight is filled with surfing the web, the acknowledgement of the need to study, a few songs on repeat, and a major longing for a walk to the water to watch the moonlight dance on the surface.
Unfortunately I will not be able to take this walk. I do not want to go alone at night in the dark, and I don’t want to run the risk of calling and waking someone to join me as it’s exams, and my go-to people have one tomorrow (I think, I’m almost certain).
Perhaps I will have enough patience to wait until morning, when the sun is just coming up. It means I will miss the moon dance, but it also means I get to see the sun come up from it’s slumber and wake the world from it’s unconscious dreamy state.
Such a state I am hoping will hit me soon, however I am doubtful. It is a master at eluding me at the best of times.
I’ve mentioned my family in previous posts, so you have an idea of them – if not you can find the posts. I recently found out that after the third time applying I finally got accepted into an SLP program! I was beyond thrilled. My dream job is going to be a reality! It made everything I did this past year (moving away, taking some undergrad courses, volunteering in a lab) completely worth it. But this victory feels a little hollow without family to be honest.
I called my parents when I found out, and I could tell they were happy for me, but because of how my parents are it felt a little empty. I’m not sure what I was expecting, they said congratulations and made all the right excitement noises. I guess I just wanted something more. I told my grandma, and that was hard because it means I can’t visit her as often as she likes since I am living farther away now, but we talk on the phone and that’s okay. I mentioned before how I don’t have contact with my brother or sister outside of social media. I was really feeling the need to tell the world I was finally successful, and so obviously posted on all my social media outlets. Weeks later they still haven’t liked the post. It hurts because I took the time to congratulate and celebrate them when they had babies, but they can’t do the same for me (okay I know getting into a program isn’t the same but it means the world to me right now). They like people who they haven’t talked to in years when they post about big things happening in their lives. I realize I’m asking a lot by wanting them to like the post because of how they have essentially abandoned me, but it doesn’t feel like its a lot to ask. My boyfriend and I are living with his sister and her husband now. I would say we know each other a little but not lots. They took me out for drinks and dinner to celebrate. It just made me sad because these people who were strangers 9 months ago took the time and money and everything to celebrate me, and my own family couldn’t even press the like button. I miss my family, and I hate it because I don’t want to love and miss them when they don’t love and miss me back.
I’m super into this band called Said the Whale and they have like two perfect songs for this. The first song is called “I love you” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAyU_Fbr77Y) and Tyler wrote it about his siblings he doesn’t know. I just find the emotion behind the song and some of the lyrics so relevant, and its kind of about loving them because they are family, even if they kind of suck or you don’t even know them. The second song is a b-side from their new album (check it out – its golden) and its called “F*cks to give” (sorry no video at this time). It has this one line that says “I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back”. I’m not sure what inspired this one, but I definitely understand the feeling from that line. It’s so exhausting loving and hoping and waiting for family that just doesn’t reciprocate, but I can’t help doing it anyway. Tips welcome.
Recently I have had to ask the academics I have worked for as a research assistant for references. I have been applying to research jobs because that is the skill set I have and I did not get into the professional program I wanted (although fingers are still crossed for the call to get off the waitlist). It has been really difficult to tell them I did not get accepted. Everyone was willing to help me by writing references for my application. I felt like because I did not get in I had wasted their time. Well, everyone except my supervisor that is. I felt stupid and like I could have done more, even though I really couldn’t have.
The email replies from everyone tell me a much different story. Their replies are full of support. They tell me they are sorry, but they also tell me that I am capable. This implies that they believe in me, and that this rejection does not define my abilities. They are happy to give a reference for me yet again. I end up crying after reading these emails because I am so relieved that they don’t think I’m an idiot and maybe they do think I’m an okay person and that they maybe even think I am smart. Growing up with emotional abuse kind of messes with how you imagine other people will react to situations, so when they react like normal good people I feel overwhelmed. I have this special folder in my inbox that I called ‘encouragement’. In it I save all of the emails that are full of support and that tell me I am capable. Lately, I have been reading these a little more often. I need that little extra push to keep going right now, to believe that I AM capable and I CAN make it through this setback. I think that for me, having this little collection really makes a difference when I am not getting the encouragement in my current supervisor situation. I hope that one day I can be in the position to send a student or someone an encouraging email like the ones I have, to give them something to help them keep going when times get tough.