I am on the line between seasons again. And, as I’ve come to find out, struggling hard during these transition periods is a bit of a trend for me.
Right now, I just want to go, but my classes are determined to hold me here, demanding far too much work, threatening to sabotage my ability to apply to art school, to further my creative pursuits, to possess any sort of joy in my current efforts. I’m having to devote a troubling percentage of time and attention to a waning season. I worry that this percentage is at the expense of the season to come.
I write lists to keep my head clear. Last week, writing my list for the next day sparked an emotional breakdown.
I drag myself out of bed in the dark, trying to convince myself that skipping early morning class is a bad idea.
As I receive two additional assignments in class, panic rises in my throat.
I trudge back up the stairs to my house in the rain, exhausted, shoulders forward, gaze distant.
I think about the weekend and I want to cry again. What weekend? What rest? What respite?
I sit closed off in my room, trying to rise enough above the anger, depression, and stress to work on the elicitors of these emotions. Because I need to study. I need to sleep. But I also need to prepare.
I sleep, but I’m tired. I feel like I’m barely treading water, legs cramping, lungs burning. I begin each day with low energy, and I end it even lower. Breakdown low. I-can’t-handle-anything low. How am I to prepare when dealing with the daily routine of classes and work take almost everything out of me?
Trudging to and from, feeling stepped on, dragged around. Am I just supposed to take it?
I oscillate between brief sparks of “Bring it on.” and much longer fits of “I hate everything.” It’s hard to cram pages of human anatomy in my head when I hate everything.
I don’t want to be optimistic.
I’ve fallen so many times. I don’t want to give up. Due to some inner compulsion, I can’t stop completely. I feel like I can’t do this, but I have to. Because I’m so close. There is no other option this close to the end.
So I have no choice but to pick myself up. As if on strings, dragging myself up from the ground, from the depths of utter desperation. I stop sobbing. I stand up and creep to the mirror. I look at my damp, red eyes, and the futile fatigue in my face. I go to sleep. I start again.
I don’t want to be optimistic. I don’t want to lie to myself. I don’t want to pretend everything’s fine, like I don’t feel trapped, cornered, dominated. I want to be honest with myself and this pain.
But this is not who I want to be—angry, thwarted, pessimistic, so stressed and emotionally unstable that I only want to skip beyond the next three months of my life. What do I do then? Plaster a smile on my face and blatantly lie to myself while my heart fractures under the surface? Let the darkness take hold and drag me down to become something I never wanted to be?
I can’t pretend this doesn’t exist. I can’t run from this if I don’t want to drown.
I’m not necessarily afraid that I will not be able to pull it off. More, I am afraid that I will manage to do what is required of me, but that something much more important will be lost to compensate. That things I need at the forefront will inevitably fall through the cracks. That something will break again.
I avoid conflict, but in matters of my own life and wellbeing, I can be stubborn. Incredibly stubborn. To the point where studying even 2 hours for advanced human anatomy feels like giving in. Listening to an arrogant opponent laugh and taunt me, its foot pressing down across my neck. But I have to submit anyway, however livid, because I am proud and I want good marks. I refuse to let this semester take me over, but my weaknesses are being exploited and I haven’t been handling that well.
Perhaps this is training for reality. Life isn’t fair. I can’t expect it to do what I want, but somehow I expect it anyway. And I’m angry and hurt and disappointed when I can’t control anything or have my way.
I thought I fully dealt with that life lesson in gradeschool…but I guess not.
Over the last two weeks—in which I neglected to post a blog update because it would be pure rant (this is only partial rant)—I have decided that it’s ok if I break down. It’s ok if most days are hard and I just hate everything. The only thing that matters is that I maintain the ability to pick myself back up when it’s over, to take more care to recognize instances—however fleeting on some days—when I am happy despite everything looming over my head. To pay attention when I’m doing ok. Appreciate the fact that I’m still going. Still trying.
Also, it would probably be good to get over myself a little bit.
(Or a lot).
One thought on “Coping with Transition”
Thanks for your honesty, Sara. This is such a weird, complicated, messy time of life; I can definitely identify with a lot of the emotions you describe.