Posts Tagged ‘college life’

So it’s been a pretty crazy few months. I’ve written less than I should. It’s the tail end of the fall semester, my last semester at a two year school and am transferring to a four year school next semester. I’ve also recently begun working nights after being laid off a couple months ago, and have been struggling in the usual fashion; too much month at the end of the money. I’ve found myself taking pride in my resistance to falling back on old comforts during a trying time, and have even managed to weather this particular storm without the aid of my counselor, with whom I came to a mutual decision to stop sessions for the time being. granted, when the decision was made, the sky wasn’t falling and my day to day was still in tact. Nevertheless, I’ve done alright and haven’t failed myself in the important ways.

Tonight is my first night off after my first full week on third shift, and I have spent it working on the remaining assignments for my classes, watching Netflix and generally pondering a lot of things. I’ve been watching Nurse Jackie in particular, and I laugh a little at myself because the first time I tried to watch it, I couldn’t get into it. In retrospect, I feel that maybe it was because the self destructive attitude the main character embodied in the first season was a little too familiar for comfort. I wasn’t ready then to see that close reflection of myself. I started over a few weeks ago, and have made it into the fifth season.

The thing that prompted this entry was the aftermath of the death of Jackie’s rehab friend.. a just-turned-18-year-old who also happened to be the son of her new boss. I like the way that real life happens to her character, the good and the bad, and she weathers it accordingly. I can’t help but note that some parallels hit really close to home… Jackie says several times in later seasons that shit didn’t start falling apart until after she got clean. I know the feeling; I’ve been of that mindset a thousand times at different points over the last few years. I think maybe it really does seem that way because when one is using, nothing else matters. That is, shit still happens in the world around you, but you just don’t care because life isn’t a priority for you then. She’s so flawed, just like me. I’m not sure if it is a mark of good writing, of good acting, or a combination of both, but I find myself more and more relating to so many facets of this show.

When Charlie, (her boss’ son,) died, Jackie kept calling his phone. They had been each other’s support system, and she didn’t stop leaning on him, even after his death by overdose. Her former boss, Mike, ended up listening to the voicemails she had left on Charlie’s phone. Apparently he hadn’t been able to bring himself to get rid of the phone thus far. He reached out to Jackie, and following a lot of albeit dysfunctional healing, they ended up having a very profound conversation in the chapel at the hospital where she works. He opened up about his grief, and about what he had felt and struggled with following the death of his son. He said that he felt like it made him an awful person that the first thing he felt following his loss was relief, and then anger at himself for feeling that relief. 

Am I the only person who sometimes finds herself offering counsel to fictional characters on TV shows in her head? I hope not. I wanted to tell Mike that it didn’t make him an awful person that he felt relief. I’d tell him that he should first consider what he felt relief for. I don’t think any parent would ever feel truly relieved to bury their child. I do, however, think that most parents would feel a sense of relief at the idea that their child was no longer suffering. I think that any parent would feel a sense of relief that their afflicted child was finally at peace. 

This hardly scratches the surface of the monologue in my head. I believe that while some things might seem simple, they are often more complicated than we want to acknowledge. Complications, after all, take effort and putting forth effort is exhausting, and honestly can be so emotionally draining, depending on the nature of the issue. Addiction, emotion, relationships… these are all extremely complex concepts, ones that humanity is simultaneously afflicted and blessed by. 

How can these things be good and bad? The latter two are a given. The former, however, might be confusing to an indivudual on the outside looking in. Let me explain:

Addiction is a horrible disease, it’s ugly and it is ruthless. I’ve lost a lot in my life due to addiction, both my own and those addictions of people I care for. I also gained my path, my life’s work, in part due to my experience with substance abuse. My active addiction and my ongoing recovery have both contributed in a major way to providing me with the perspective I needed to make choices for myself, for my future. Without the trials in my life, I likely would still just be existing, which is no life at all.

I believe that we are the sum total of our experiences in life. It is the things that befall us as much as the successes we earn for ourselves that mold us into the creatures we are on any given day. By this logic as well, we are not ever the same person we were the day before. The trick, I think, is to make use of the experiences, to absorb the lessons with grace and humility, because experience has taught me that one can never truly know when their own past can help them save a life, whether it is their own or not. I can think of no more worthwhile endeavor either.

So I’ve been pretty negligent of… everything but school and work really, over the course of the holidays. I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I struggled a bit through the holidays. I mostly resolved myself that it was just another day of the week, because this was the first holiday I really had to face without him. Last year he was gone, sure, but I went home for Christmas, and didn’t feel the sting of his absence as much as I did this year. That’s okay though; onward & upward. Hopefully he’ll see parole review in the next week or so, and if, God willing, they grant it, he’ll have just over a year left before coming home. I’m pretty certain the waiting and wondering is the worst part, at least for me. I’ve long since adjusted to life without him here physically. I don’t like it, but I’m used to it. What I haven’t really been able to adjust to is the hurry up & wait policy of the bureaucratic red tape. Patience has never been my virtue and this has been a test unlike any other I’ve encountered before. I’m really not a big fan of it. But who asked me, right?

I’ve been plugging away the last few days at the wintermester┬áhistory class I took to help fill my time. I’ve been a little stir crazy since the fall semester ended, because I got pretty used to juggling my three classes and full time job, as well as familial obligations and visitation. It was hectic, but it was healthier than I’d been otherwise since this nightmare began. While this one class is pretty heavy in that it involves A LOT of reading and whatnot, the assignments themselves really don’t take a lot of time at all, except for the couple of papers I’ve needed to write. It has been a bit of a learning curve for me though… hell, a lot of a learning curve for me. All of my grade school & high school education was in Canada. There are some elements of US History that I had vague familiarity with, but no where near what I’ve learned in the last few weeks. It’s been extremely sobering and in a lot of ways really disheartening. I can’t change the past, but I can try to not participate in the residual elements of the ugly truths still present today.
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I feel I’ve been pretty productive today though.. all but one mandatory paper and my final done, and those will be finished in short order this week. I may also get to feeling froggy and get one or more of the extra credit assignments done. We’ll see how that goes. Back to work this week for a full week, dinner plans with a favorite family member on Tuesday and counseling on Wednesday for the first time in three weeks. I’ll also formally meet my new counselor starting this week as well… I’ve met him before but never in a formal session. I’m sorry to see the current one go, but I do understand life happens to everyone. I’m hopeful that she will stay in touch.

Overall, 2014 proved to be a lot better than 2013… I’m hopeful that things will keep going in that direction. Cheers to that. Onward & upward, y’all. Here’s to a phenomenal 2015. The best is yet to come!