Wednesday, July 21, 2004

We interrupt this program....

I figured there wasn't much sense in finishing that last entry. I was at work when I started it, and then after I was interrupted I never really got around to finishing it. I thought that I would finish it now, but I'm in a completely different state of mind and I don't think I can express now what I was feeling then. I was in a really strange mood that day, which is hard to describe now. Basically I had been thinking about my life- where I had been in life, where I was, and where I wanted to go. I think that I am happier now than I was a year or two before, but it's a different kind of happiness. Life is more complicated now. And while I do have a lot more on my mind, a lot more that I worry about, etc., I still have a kind of satisfaction that I never had before. I don't feel that deadness inside anymore. I guess that I really have been depressed for the last few years. People kept telling me I was, and suggesting that I see someone about it, but I never wanted to. I didn't care enough. I resented them for even suggesting it, and distanced myself from them. Which made it even worse. I was afraid of everything, and I kept my emotions and my true personality locked far far away from everyone around me. I hated how good I was getting at putting on my emotional mask. I felt like I was playing a role, and I did it for so long that I couldn't distinguish between the person I was and the person I was portraying to the world. But now I'm learning to let go a little bit. I'm learning about who I am, and that it's ok to let other people see that person. It certainly hasn't been easy. I don't think I can describe how frightening it's been, or how difficult. But I'm beginning to notice now that I feel different inside. I feel like the things I was trying to describe in that last entry, like the sun is rising after darkness. It's a very difficult feeling to put into words.

I think that if I really have been depressed the past few years, then this new feeling I have is the depression evaporating away. I know that I still have a long way to go, but this is the beginning. And for the first time in my life, I'm not afraid of that. That's a big thing for me; not being afraid. I'm starting to think about what I want my life to be like, rather than what I think it should be, or comparing myself to my peers and this invisilble, unspoken standard of how a successful life should be. That standard has caused me a lot of grief for years now. It started in high school. The expectation, the pressure I felt from the adults around me that I should get good grades, get into a good school, get a good education, get a good job, have a career, make lots of money so I can support a family, send my own kids off to school, and start the cycle all over again. This timeline of how life is supposed to go. You go to school for X number of years, then start working, get yourself established... The all-important, all-consuming goal of getting a Good Education. For a long time, I believed it. I had perfect grades, honors in every class, graduated high school at 16. I still remember how they made such a fuss over me as I won awards, had my name on academic acheivement lists, everyone treated me like I was some kind of prodigy. Then they patted me on the back and sent me off to college with this idea that I was going to go places, do big things, that I was somehow ahead of the game. What game? Are we keeping score of who takes what classes and gets what degree when? Why is it that everyone is always asking me, "so, where do you go to school? What's your major? Where are you headed academically? What do you plan to do with your life?" Where did this idea come from that college is preparing you for your future, that somehow your life doesn't begin until after you graduate? The last time I checked, I was living NOW. Right here. Today. I already am living my life, and I don't need a degree to do it. Yes, I would like to have one someday, but I don't think now is the right time. I've recognized this expectation in myself, this unconscious standard that I hold myself to- that's why I've struggled so much with the thought that school isn't for me right now. It felt like I was breaking a law, that I'm some sort of a failure because I'm not pouring my life into getting The Degree. But I'm starting to allow myself to be at peace with this decision I'm making. I know that its what's right for me right now. And if that doesn't line up with society's standards, I don't care.

Ok, so that was a big 'ol long speech, huh? I wonder if anyone's gonna read it and think I've gone crazy. Maybe. I don't know. But it's what's on my mind today. I've got a final tomorrow morning and I've been wrestling with myself trying to decide if I should sign up for classes next quarter. I don't think I will. It's gonna be different, but I'm going to try it. It will be a relief to just be living my life again.

Lots of stuff has happened besides just my deep thinking and communing with my deeper emotions. But I'll leave that for another entry. For now, we will return you to your regularly scheduled programming....

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