This semester has been a rather trying one for me. Not even a month into school, I became extremely ill for seemingly no reason. I found myself in the ER and then back in St. Louis in attempt to resolve the issues, but there was nothing. I ended up dropping a class due to the extended absence which left me taking twelve credit hours and barely being a full time student. Those of you who know me know that I am an over achiever. I want to please everyone around me and, when someone is disappointed in me, I go above and beyond to make things better.
So, when I received the reaction that I did about dropping my hours down to only twelve, I took on anything and everything I could to make up for the lack of classes I was taking. I added more hours to my work week, started volunteering at a deaf community center, took up photography, started writing this blog, began intensely searching for an apartment to live in next school year, and became invested in Relay for Life. These were all things I had thought about doing before, but, if I had been thinking logically, I would have started them one by one and given myself an adequate amount of time to settle into each thing rather than diving into them all at once. I was so embedded in doing these things, that I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me mentally. That is, until I hit my breaking point.
Last week, I was offered a job as an RA in my old dorm – a job I wanted all of second semester last year – and turned it down because of what I now recognize as being overwhelmed with every other aspect of my life. I was frustrated with a few different aspects of my job, mad at myself for not making the grades I wanted, disappointed in the fact that my blog wasn’t reaching as many people as I had hoped it might, upset that my attempt at raising money for Relay for Life was going nowhere, and just overall frustrated with where I was in life.
On Thursday, after taking my last sociology test before our final, I called my mom to prepare her for my (self-declared) failure. I sat in the hallway by my classroom for almost an hour in tears of frustration and disappointment. I told my mom that I had “never felt so defeated by a piece of paper.” I got off the phone with my mom and walked back to my apartment crying and overwhelmed. I knew I would have to tell my dad about this failure and I wanted nothing to do with that conversation. At this point, all I wanted to do was make the pre-scheduled phone call to one of my best friends from St. Louis and just talk. She was sick, however, so we weren’t able to talk.
This was my breaking point. It had nothing to do with the fact that she couldn’t talk, that just happened to be the thing that tipped me over the edge. I sat in my room and cried. I threw some random papers and felt sorry for myself for a little bit. I let myself feel all of the frustration and disappointment that had been building up all semester. I let myself feel the fear I had towards loved ones being sick and getting older. I let myself get angry at the world.
There’s this quote by Alex Tan that I read my junior year of high school. It said “perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” I found this quote while looking through my list of inspiration that I use when I can’t figure out what to write about. This quote has never made more sense to me. After I let myself feel all of those emotions, I felt… I don’t know… I guess the word would be relieved.
I had been so overwhelmed with everything else going on in my life that I didn’t let myself see all the good that has come from this semester. I found a place to live next year, found an unexpected best friend in one of my roommates, connected with two lovely human beings who used to be RAs in my building, found an organization that completely stole my heart, discovered a few different passions, the list goes on. The point is, in a world where there is so much bad, there is often so much good that is being overlooked. Once I let myself feel sad and angry and frustrated, I could clearly see all of the positive things that came out of this semester.
So, I guess the main point of this, is for all of you to know and understand that it is totally okay to feel all of your emotions. Actually, I encourage it. Once you’ve allowed yourself to truly feel everything, let yourself see the beauty in the world around you. I promise you it is there and it’s a whole lot easier to see once you have less going on inside your head.