Perpetual Low-level Panic

I don’t think my family and roommates quite thought through what it would be like going through this transition with me. Or maybe they did, and didn’t tell me they knew what they were signing up for.

Because I certainly didn’t.

Soft road-raging and regular word-vomit, escape mode when I should be enjoying the novelty, fussing up a storm about things that aren’t technically my responsibility, sleeping in the same bed as me for 5 weeks, broken ranting sessions full of things I mostly don’t mean but need to cleanse myself from at 11pm when you have to be up at 5:20am for work the next morning, tearful, timid conversations about how scared and anxious and tired I am, random texts about how California’s the worst because money and traffic, unexpected fits of “I got the job but I still feel like the interview went badly and I can’t stop feeling so incredibly awkward about it.” And so on, and so on.

I used to think I was generally pretty easygoing. But perhaps not in a time of such transition when I was in the middle of one of those “off” years anyway—when everything feels forced and painful and borderline useless, yet everything’s changing out from under me because of this step I’ve made. I’m still hurting from the burnout of this last year, but I’ve launched myself into a position where nothing is familiar or straightforward; and swift, multifaceted adaptation is demanded or else.

So, my brain’s been crying a lot, but somehow the knots are gradually untangling. Things are generally ok, and though I seem to get lost every time I step outside, I’ve managed to show up for where I need to be. There are still some hang-ups we’re working on, but I pray those will be resolved soon.

Thanks for sticking it out with me. You know who you are.

Needless to say, I haven’t been in a great position the last few weeks to write a coherent blog post. It’s been a lot.

But in the midst of the ongoing “Sara-is-losing-her-mind” times, good things have been happening. I’ve made it through orientation, for one. Training for my job starts a week from tomorrow, which is also the day we can hopefully move into our apartment, which is within walking distance of the transit station (aka no more swearing/praying while trying to find a parking space is making me late first day of orientation). I’ve attended both of my on-campus classes once, and though I’m not sure how to approach homework efficiently, I think I’ll get used to it pretty quickly. I’ve already learned so much and I’m really looking forward to all this semester will bring.

It’s all going to take so much work, so many extra miles with hurting feet. Admittedly, I still don’t feel ready, but I’m unsteadily bracing myself anyway. I feel like I’m training to become a wizard. Illustrators are wizards, truly. And training for wizardry’s intense, man.

We’re not in undergrad anymore. No social events, no indeterminate bedtime, no room for procrastination or “I don’t want to do homework right now.”

It’s time to break out the upbeat anime protagonist music (though I’m more the sarcastic, tired, awkward protagonist these days—but they’re a part of happy slice-of-life shows, so it’s fine, I think). I’m here to work. It will take early mornings, late nights, dead recovery Sundays, hardcore time budgeting, probably some blood, and lots and lots of charcoal.

But I think it’s going to be worth it. I really do.

How have I been? Well…

I used to think autopilot was a bad way to live life. I’ve since come to find out that a measure of autopilot-ing in life is good. It frees up headspace for more important things. Avoiding “reinventing the wheel,” so to speak so I have more energy to spend on writing, drawing, and coffee dates.

My autopilot’s kind of out of commission these days because I’m moving away soon; taking a foolhardy, unprepared step further toward full-blown adulthood and my dream career. Admittedly, it’s hard for me to imagine professional life. I’ve learned so much, I have experience in a wide variety of areas, and I learn quickly, but I forever feel like I’m not quite there.

Looking for a job to pay for my rent just intensifies the feeling—that I’m still just a derpy kid not ready for the world. Not ready for anything.

Everything’s displaced and I haven’t even left yet.

This Saturday, my family is accompanying myself, my sister (roommate #1), and my friend (roommate #2) to the SF Bay Area for a week while we scramble to find affordable housing and good work compatible with class schedules.

And right now, I’m just sitting alone at the kitchen table, music blaring through my headphones, typing away and thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

I’ve felt a little out of touch with reality lately. The reality I’ve naively tried to ignore.The burnt out biology student throwing herself into graduate art school and needing to work a good 30 hours a week to stay afloat. I don’t want to have to face the dark sides of that reality. I’m not sure if I can take it.

I wish I could hype myself up, get myself to believe that it will be challenging but fun nonetheless like I did freshman year of undergrad. The most recent semester felt like a constant state of being run over, and I can’t stand the thought of that happening again with an added hour commute, alien terrain, and monthly bills on top of it all.

But God has worked me through self-worth issues, an arduous path of personal betterment, and classes that I thought would be the death of me. He has led me into things I never would have thought I’d have the heart or the courage for. He encouraged me in the science route for undergrad, challenged my obsession with writing, pointed me toward professional storytelling the moment I pried my hands off what I thought I wanted for a career. He saw me through 2.5 years of a sport my family couldn’t afford. He found me a good car for under $2000 that I really should have paid a lot more for.

If He can pull off all He’s already done for my family and me in my short 22 years of existence, I think He can get me a job and an apartment in the Bay Area.

As much as I complain in this anxious, listless limbo, I still believe it will work out.

Because there’s still a part of me that leans toward naïve optimism out of a deep sense of necessity. As cynical and burnt out as I still am from the last four years (which really were a good 4 years), and as this move is becoming more and more complicated (impossible housing market, losing a roommate, car trouble, etc. etc. etc.), the interface between logic and faith as I understand it demands I recognize the need to look for the bright side of things. To not lose hope in optimism and the excitement of new seasons realized. To above all look to the God who has proven Himself faithful countless times over.