Doesn't really feel like a landmark, but I suppose it's as close to one as I'll ever get. I'll also probably delete this in the morning, as it's 3:25 am now, and late night rants are often viewed differently in the light of day. For most who don't know me, I'm 21, and live in the metro area around Detroit, Michigan.
Getting to where I am now seems hazy and especially unremarkable. I've met so many people on Hatrack with amazing stories of trials they've experienced or had to overcome to get to where they are in life, and mine pale in comparison. Like a high school game versus the Olympic medal round. That's part of why I've never done a landmark before. I just figured, what's the point? Every story that could be told, has been told. For the longest time it also felt a bit like "look at me look at me!" But that's not what it feels like now. It feels like a much needed catharsis. And for the longest time I never really felt like I was a part of this community, not when so many are lynch pins here, and know so much about each other on the personal level.
When I look back at the 21 years behind me, I don't view it as a long line of memories. To be honest, my memory is pretty bad when it comes to personal experiences. I only remember random things, or experiences that were so emotionally charged they left an imprint on my mind.
In elementary school (yep, we're going waaay back), I guess you could say I was normal, if not a little bit odd. I had plenty of friends, though by junior high all except one or two had moved away to Indiana. Yes, that's strange, but seriously probably a half dozen of my oldest friends all moved to different parts of Indiana with their families, and for the longest time I really, REALLY hated the state of Indiana. Somewhere in here I identified myself as a social outcast, though in truth I wasn't, I just wasn't as willing as everyone else to sacrifice everything to 'fit in' with the others, which left me in something of a gray area.
Junior high is also something of a blur. It was two years of blah really. The only thing that stands out was at the 8th grade awards ceremony I won the departmental award for History. Yay for me. Well, one other thing started in junior high, but I'll get to that later. (don't worry, I'll try to keep this short)
High school was a whole new realm for me. In my freshman year, my paternal grandmother died (June of 99, I was almost 15). I'd lost my maternal grandmother a few years before that, but this was different. I was much closer with this grandmother than the other. MUCH closer. I took her death very hard. I cried pretty much non-stop from the hospice where she died, until days after the funeral. I was at the hospice when she died. She'd had cancer for years and we knew it was coming, especially when she was moved to the hospice, but it was never really real for me. When we got there, we went to her room and saw her. She wasn't totally aware, but when I got to her and said "hi", she mouthed "hi" back to me. I knew she could hear me and understand me. After a short visit they gave us a tour of the facility, and by the time we got back, she'd passed. At that point, my mom told me something like "it's like she was waiting to see you before she could leave." Which is when I lost it.
For years after that I blamed myself for her dying. I thought, irrationally, that if I'd stayed away from her she might have fought to live on, and that maybe some sort of cure could have been administered to save her. At her funeral I cried non-stop. Almost everyone there offered me (more than any other member of my family) their sympathies. It only made me cry more, as I could only think how I'd been the cause of her death, and how all these people should be asking for MY apology, not offering their sympathies.
More than anything, I wish I had told her I loved her when I had the chance. That was a chance that most people don't get, in the final moments of her life, all I said was "hi" when I could have said so much more. I vowed to myself, in a promise I have broken probably a dozen times, that I'd never again wait to tell someone I loved them. I'd never miss a chance at something staring me right in the face.
Slight warning here, the following is ever so slightly graphic at times, though not in a pornographic nature. It was about this time that I started cutting again. I've seen it discussed a time or two on here, but for those who don't know, cutting is a form of self mutilation. I started in Junior high but stopped for quite awhile, only to start again in High school. The reasons varied for me, but mostly it was a response to stress and emotional burden. After a year of fighting it off, I stopped. And I didn't do it again for two years.
My Junior year (2000-2001, I'm 16 here), I met a group of girls who to this day are my closest friends. One of them, Colleen (she'll never read this, I might as well use her real name), became my on and off girlfriend for around three years. They were freshman at the time. We dated for half a year then broke up (my choice), then the following fall got back together for two solid years. The two years we were together were two of the best in my life. I was incredibly happy, and very much in love with a girl who was very much in love with me. But going into her senior year of high school, her attention started to wander elsewhere, and she ended up breaking it off with me. It was a long and difficult break up. She didn't know what she wanted, and I was more or less dragged along for the ride. It was a year before we could talk again as friends, and now we are still close friends, but there is both a bond, and a wall between us that is never spoken of.
In that time I started cutting again. Now it was less having to do with emotional problems and more just the fact that I was addicted to it, and I couldn't stop. My timeline is a little screwy in here, but basically I started when I was 14, went on for a couple years, stopped for two, then went on for four years off and on, bringing me to today. At this point I just couldn't stop myself. The worst part, is when I came to a point where I wasn't sure if it was wrong or right. I argued with myself on a constant basis, talking myself into it, convincing myself it wouldn't harm anyone but myself, and that I should do whatever I wanted. But the logical part of me knew there was something very wrong with it.
As of now, I don't remember the last time I did it, but it was in the last six months. A few weeks ago even, I would have left this entire subject off here, but now I just don't care. It's not the all consuming battle of wills that it used to be, and the urge is reduced to a dull roar in the back of my mind. Hell, maybe someone will even get something out of my talking about it, but I doubt it. I'm in the extreme minority of cutters, being a boy who doesn't have an eating disorder, which doesn't make me feel any better or worse, it just makes me a statistic.
I think my first year of college, I accidentally rear ended a woman on the highway coming home from classes (I commute). As far as I'm concerned, it's her fault. She moved into my lane going way too slow, and proceeded to slow down further, making it impossible for me to stop in time to avoid a collision. She's currently suing my mother and I, and our insurance company is bent on taking her to court over it. We're told that even if we win she can still sue us again, and the insurance company won't help us. If she does, my mom will have to declare bankruptcy, as we have nothing near the kind of money this woman wants.
I started college at Oakland University in the fall of 2002 with high hopes. I wanted to be a history teacher. I didn't so much care at the time about teaching, I just wanted to do something that would get me paid for dealing with history, which is the one real passion I'd developed in high school, other than my long held love of writing. But I knew I could never be a professional writer, I just didn't have the drive you need to make it professionally. I figured I'd teach, and write in the summers if I had any free time.
It's almost four years later, and where I should be graduating in June, I'll only be a Junior. Part of that is my financial situation, I couldn't afford to go to school year round, so I have had to take a couple semesters off. But I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. I don't really know if I want to be a teacher anymore. I think I do, I know that I love history, and every time I doubt my desire to teach, I take another history course and remember why I love it so much. All my friends tell me I'll be great at it...
But right now I can't summon the will to do much of anything. Classes for this semester started a month ago, and I've barely been to a few of them. I can't summon the will to do anything involved with furthering my future. I have a job, I pay my bills, and sometimes I go to class. All my friends are going to school, and though they are two years younger than me, they'll probably graduate before I will. I can only thing of myself as a failure, and worse, a useless failure.
Last June, a good friend of mine, Rob, died of a lung infection. He was 19. He was more full of life than most people I've ever met, and had a lot of big plans for his future. He was confidant, bold, and loved to play RISK (it was part of why we were such good friends ). But he died before he could make any of his dreams into a reality.
What would I say to him now, if he knew I was wasting away, spinning my wheels in life when he never had the chance to live his? What would my grandmother say, if she knew I was wasting my time, not doing the things I should be doing, just like when I never seized the moment and told her that I loved her?
There's so much I want to do, but I have so little will to muster, to make myself actually go out and do it. Tomorrow night, and friday morning I have classes. I don't know if I will go. There's a swiss army knife sitting on the stand next to my bed. I don't know how long it'll stay there. I started learning how to play the guitar last week. I don't know how long I'll stick with it. There's a hundred pounds of weights sitting at the foot of my bed that I haven't lifted since November. I don't know if I'll get back to it or not. The court date for the case I'm being sued over is in a couple weeks, I don't know if my life will change after that or not.
At what point does a person stand up and say "Enough! I WILL live my life!" I don't know the answer to that either, but I hope I find it soon. Because I don't know how many more times I can break that promise to myself, to never ignore a chance staring me in the face. The truth is, my future is staring me in the face right now, and part of me wants to blink and walk away. The other part wants to grab on and enjoy the ride.
And I'm caught somewhere in the middle....
Posts: 21894 | Registered: Nov 2004
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I don't know what to say, or how to say it, and usually when that happens I wait and along comes several Hatrackers and say things much wiser and better than I ever could. But since you wrote that you might delete this thread in the morning, and I am among the few living at the right side of the Atlantic and thus have a chance of seeing your landmark early, I want to let you know that yours are among the posts that I make a point of reading and, as inadequate as that is, that I wish you well in your struggles.
Posts: 896 | Registered: Feb 2001
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Dude! I don't know what to say. I don't know you that well, but the idea that you are or will be a failure has never entered my head. You're intelligent, witty, articulate, interested in so many subjects, friendly, good-natured, knowledgable about a great variety of things, and really fun to talk to. And you're only 21! So far you seem to have done pretty well with the time you've been given. There are no scripts we are required to follow in life. We each make our own way. Your way must have been a worthy one, judging by who you have become.
Your story of your grandmother touches me, because I too feel a great regret at the death of someone I know I could have saved. I don't know what may be your beliefs of the afterlife, but wherever she is now, do you think your grandmother would look at you fondly and want your memories of her to be happy ones?
I'm so glad you posted this! May your searching take you to places strange and wonderful, weirder and more delightful than you currently can dream.
Posts: 6245 | Registered: Aug 2004
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Glad you decided to do a landmark. Whether or not you consider it to be up to snuff, it's an interesting story. Everybody's life story is worth telling, even though most of ours aren't even halfway done.
Death (especially when it strikes someone young) can through anybody for a loop. You sound like you're suffering from depression (in my wholly unqualified opinion), and the cutting might be a symptom of that. Have you seen anyone about that? Therapy and/or medication might be able to push back the clouds in your soul and let the sun shine through.
That'll make it a lot easier to live the life you want to live. And I hope things go well with the suit. I was in a similar situation, and my guess is that the woman is unlikely to sue you, for the same reason I didn't get sued. Namely, I had no net worth. It wasn't worth it because even if they got the judgement I couldn't pay it, because I was a broke college student. But I know how nerve wracking it can be.
Good luck with everything, and I'm glad you shared this with us.
Posts: 5462 | Registered: Apr 2005
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quote:just like when I never seized the moment and told her that I loved her?
You came. She knew.
quote:Classes for this semester started a month ago, and I've barely been to a few of them.
Go to class tonight. I know how easy it is to not go, to sit around do nothing or do things you'd rather not do. In class, you cannot.
Go to class, occupy yourself in other ideas, take notes. The more you achieve, even something so simple as going to all your classes for a week, you will feel better, and you will start progressing. Reward yourself.
The more you don't do things, the more you will feel like you can't.
quote:The truth is, my future is staring me in the face right now, and part of me wants to blink and walk away. The other part wants to grab on and enjoy the ride.
There's nothing to be lost by doing.
Lyrhawn, you think you don't have the strength to act, to graduate, but you are wrong. You are as strong as anyone, possibly stronger, what with all your battles you've fought. You just think you can't.
Don't see your challenge as taking the whole step at once. You cannot turn your life around in a day. Take everything in little tinsy steps. Start with going to class. Then, once that becomes a habit, start exercising or walking. Go to a movie every so often. Set a day to visit a museum or Windsor or somewhere different. Pass your classes (doesn't matter if the marks aren't good). Take everything a step at a time and it'll seem a whole lot less impossible. Don't try and be a superhero, try and be a human being. You don't have to win prizes, just get back into the habit of living .
It's not easy to restart a rusty engine. You're not a failure.
Do NOT delete this thread. What you wrote was awesome, and I stared transfixed at the screen reading it. Very powerful and moving. You say that all the stories worth telling have been told? That's a crock. Your story is real, and poignant and moving.
You sound like you could use a lift out of your melancholy and paralysis of will. Have you consulted a doctor? Maybe a little serotonin boost in the noggin would do you a world of good.
I am impressed by your landmark, Lyr. It is definitely a keeper.
Posts: 10397 | Registered: Jun 2005
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A coworker was talking to me today about the fulfillment of finishing something. Even if you decide not to be a teacher, get your degree just to finish it. I got my degree in music, and I don't do anything with it. Except it *did* open doors so I could work with computers because many many jobs have a degree as a requirement, even if it isn't in the field you got your degree in.
Posts: 1209 | Registered: Dec 2003
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I read this late last night, and I was too exhausted to post; I'm glad it's still here today. I see this post, and while the specifics are unknown to me, the larger picture is all too familiar. I have never cut myself like that, but I know all about self-destructive compulsive behavior. I also know about spiritual inertia keeping me from living my goals. And yet, I've also managed to rise above that in my life on occasion. With that in mind, I will say that spinning your wheels does not make you a loser: instead it may mean that you're gathering steam for great things. :-)
(Actually, I'm not trying to enable or excuse, but to remind you that your story's not done yet. I wish you luck, and, if you think you need help, I hope you get it.)
Posts: 13679 | Registered: Mar 2002
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This post took me completely by surprise. I think out of all my Hatrack friends, you're probably the one who most keeps me motivated to work and better myself... you're the one I look to for academic drive, and personal success. To me, you're nowhere near being a failure... it's people like you who help others in the world get back on their feet.
I'm glad you wrote this, because it helps both you and us for us to see what's troubling you... I'm also glad you didn't delete it, because I think that a lot can be gained from reading it. I'm sorry that I did not realize any of this before... we've been friends for some time now, and I feel ashamed that all of this was running through you and I somehow missed it. I identify with a lot of what you said... but it's different when it comes from you. It's as though there's something telling me that you WILL succeed... that you WILL find out what you want from your life.
I personally feel that if Rob was able to see you today... he would not be ashamed or hurt that you're in a personal dilemma. I think he would be proud of the person you've become, of the man who wants to better his life and do with it the most he can.
Hey, Lyr. Don't sell yourself short man. You're awesome. You are calm and decisive in your posting and that has taught me so much. I can't say anything as far as the deaths in the family. I could say I've been there (buried my grandmother this past November), but we all take things differently. I trip over consoling words. I would say you have my sympathies, but as much as I feel for you on this, I can't say I understand. So it just feels wrong of me.
However, if you ever need a friend. We will always be here for you. Like we have been there for each other in the past. An' if you feel like you need a laugh sometime...I'll send you a joke or two. As much of an a$# as I seem to be at times, I can actually bring some smiles to poeples' faces.
We're all pulling for you, now get that schooling done. Get out in the real non-college world and start your education. We got your back.
Posts: 2208 | Registered: Feb 2004
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I heard somewhere that it can be too overwhelming to make a list of bad habits or bad behaviors that need changing and that it's much easier to add just one good behavior/habit until you don't think about doing it anymore, then add another. Then the bad ones get squished out by all the good ones. Sounded nice in theory to me.
I don't know if it works yet (I've just started trying it myself), but I know I get overwhelmed if I think about all the things I'd like to change about myself and in my life. So this seemed do-able for me. Perhaps you could start by just going to class.
I wish you the best life has to give and I hope you know that you're not alone.
I read your landmark and saw myself reflected back in many ways. While the specifics aren't totally congruent, I find myself at the same point in the present. Often, I have the tendency to dramatize the situation to myself, as if my circumstances are unique. Posts like this help keep me grounded, so for lack of a well-thought out closing, thanks.
Posts: 290 | Registered: Jun 2002
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Before I forget, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded with words of reassurance. It meant, and means, a lot.
I went to class last Thursday, and plan Wednesday to start going to the rest of my classes (all the other ones are on Wednesday, so, one hell of a bounce back day). I appreciate your words, and I've accomplished step one, on my way to step two and beyond.
Shani (raia) -
Don't feel at all bad about not spotting it, I don't see how you possibly could have. My friends who I see and talk to on a regular basis, heck, even my family hasn't spotted it, there's no way you could have. I hope you are right, and I will succeed. Deep down, I think I know that I will make it, and be a success in whatever I want to do, I only doubt how I will get there.
Thanks for the jokes! They really are funny! I always appreciate a good laugh to brighten my day.
Thanks to you all for the support. Falling off the horse is always easier than getting back on. This I know in both the literal and metaphorical sense, but at least I only broke my arm in the literal one. With you all there to break my fall and help me back up, I know it'll be a little less painful, and I'll try that much harder, as I value many of you as friends, and wouldn't want to disappoint anyone.
Posts: 21894 | Registered: Nov 2004
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quote:I went to class last Thursday, and plan Wednesday to start going to the rest of my classes (all the other ones are on Wednesday, so, one hell of a bounce back day). I appreciate your words, and I've accomplished step one, on my way to step two and beyond.
Hooray! Awesome and congratulations. Classes are good. Keep it up .
Posts: 8473 | Registered: Apr 2003
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