I have been feeling jealous in the last few days. I have been thinking about college and whether I made the most of the experience. I feel like everyone else did. I feel like I missed something. I missed the day in high school when they sat you down and told you what college life was going to be like. If I had known, perhaps I would not have been filled with so much fear. Perhaps, I would have been able to be a part of the good time everyone seems to have had. Or maybe not, maybe you cannot change who you are. I have always been riddled with anxiety. I will always be riddled with anxiety. The anxiety is a constant. Knowing what college would have been like wouldn’t have made it easier.
Upon entering college I was sick an awful lot with stomach trouble and the above mentioned anxiety, oh and I still had a full set of braces. I was young, short, and completely sheltered. I did not know what the world was all about because all I knew was hospitals, sickness, surgeries for my cleft lip and palate and spending time with my mom, a person that gave the gift of unconditional love. I had one or two friends leaving high school. I had no idea how to talk or meet people, so being thrown in with all these new people was scary. Remember, too, I went to a small school. Oh and I have never had to share a room with anyone. I was scared…of EVERYTHING. I was terrified about the alcohol (something I would quickly get over when I was 26.). I was terrified about the lack of a safety net or even just a place to call my own. I had to go out in public to get privacy. In one very funny instance, I climbed into the bushes to talk to my mom on the phone. Yes, that scared. Still, I stayed and worked really hard to keep myself there. I was so afraid of weekends, my parents picked me up so I could have some time to chill out. The anxiety was crippling and embarassing. My OCD symptoms were out of control. How could I possibly be viewed as someone that others would want to spend time with when I could barely use the bathroom without falling apart at the seams? And why would they want to when I was never available on weekends? My memories of college campus life are not fond, but my memories of academic life were a dream come true. The classroom was where I was most comfortable. Buried in the work, in the library, I took refuge. I am thankful for Prof. Ireland, Prof. Sweeney, the late great Prof. Ziegler, Prof. Raguin, Prof. Luria and many others for seeing something in me that I could not see. They saw past the fear to the passion inside that I would later discover after I graduated. Sometimes I feel like those discoveries came too late, but right now I feel they surfaced and for that I am thankful. Who cares when things happen so long as they happen and they are positive.
Later after college I felt something was missing. I hadn’t experienced things others had. I wanted to do them now and all at once. For it was that line of thinking that got me into a lot of trouble later “trying to make up for lost time.” It’s okay, Kara, go ahead, have a good time. You deserve it, you were so good in high school, college and graduate school. Let loose and live. Boy did that get me in a bit of trouble. It, while fun, ultimately landed me back to crippling anxiety and depression. Full circle again, back to the constant, the given in the equation that is Kara. My baseline. It all comes back to that. You cannot deny who you are or how your brain is wired. You must accept it! This acceptance thing is so much easier said than done. I wish I could just wave my magic wand and accept everything as it is. I wish I was not judgmental, jealous, angry, sad and always at the end of injustice. I’m getting close to not giving in to those thoughts, thanks to my closeness to God and the circle of love that He can provide. I am also thankful for TONS of therapy and an understanding boyfriend and family.
I have been close to God before, back in college. I believe, now, that is why I was able to make it through the four years. I had a strong spiritual life. I am coming back to it now. I had to turn it over to him in college, because I didn’t know where else to turn. I did not have many people with which I was close enough to admit, “I am scared SHITLESS right now. HELPPPP!” I could at least say to God, in beautiful St. Joseph’s Chapel, I am scared. I need help. Please grant me a pleasant week and the strength to get through it. I made it week by week just like that. Some times it was day by day, minute to minute. I made it. I bit, scratched, fought, punched my way through school that way. Although, that last statement is filled with my own will, I am realizing today that I had God on my side and perhaps it was His will that made it possible. It is his will that must be done or I cannot even dream of accomplishing anything. When he is with me, I have friends and I have people that are there to support me because I am willing to support them. Life is not a one way street with lots of traffic. Life is not me fighting to get ahead by myself. That does not work and is not how anyone should conceptualize living. For that is struggling.
I have so much today. Even when it sucks, it is not that bad. I am always seeking ways to make the good times great and the bad times not as bad. I am still working on balance, shirking my perfectionistic ways and tendencies and so much more. The list is still long, but I take it one step at a time. I take each step with my doubles partner and spiritual guide…God.
Look out, he’s got a great backhand!