The path to obtaining a college degree for me has been a literal long and winding road. This path was undertaken without any support system in place and literally flying solo on my own. There were no friends to share war stories with about difficult professors or killer assignments. There were no buddies to go hang out with after a grueling week of finals no one to pass me a box of Kleenex when I came perilously close to flunking out completely. This has been a true journey of Blood Sweat and Tears from its very inception.
I Took the Road Less Traveled
Yes this has been some journey and I questioned myself regularly as to the purpose of seeking a degree at this point in my life. Especially when after moving to Charlotte I was faced with having to decide between keeping a job that pays the bills, or dropping out of school altogether because of the unpredictable scheduling that got progressively worse as time went by. Trying initially to hold on to the worst job I have ever had in my entire life and justify doing so because it “paid the bills”. A series of incidents including my blowout on the highway led me to choose school instead of working at bedlam.
There were no voices to validate the choice made, all positive reinforcement had to come directly from me. The half time locker room speech about “winning one for the Gipper” had to be made by me to me.
Painting By Numbers
As dark a picture as this sounds there were at least two lighter shades within this portrait. One was my sister friend who lives several states away. As an educator herself she was aware of my quest and was in full support of my choice although realizing that she herself was dealing with issues related to being a primary care giver for a parent I was very loath to call her and lay more of my burdens on her.
The other lighter shade brought with it much bittersweet flavor that while being a source of support, often was also the source of many tears shed in the middle of the night or sitting outside in the car when no one was watching. One of the biggest sources of pain and anguish in my life that because of my circumstances I deal with in spite of all the pain that it has caused and continues to cause to my heart and my psyche. Before you pull out your keyboard to lecture, comment or preach about making better choices, sometimes the choices you are presented with are bad and worse. This is one of those times.
Pen is Mightier
Writing has become the support system for me and what I am able to do to work through the situations I am continually faced with that might cause me to throw my hands up and give in. Even now am writing this in lieu of crying into my pillow. Where my life situation has not provided me with opportunities to make friends in a new town where I don’t know anyone one thing that I can always assure myself of is being able to get on the computer and write. The pain and all the anguish that I feel that I can’t tell anyone else I can express typing it out instead of trying to vainly find ways to keep it inside.
I am often told that one has the ability to choose: my life of late has provided me with the choices to: be unhappy and cry more often than not, or to pretend to BE happy with the hope/belief that things will eventually get better. Coin toss as to which one wins out more often than not.
Reminded I am, of the last three years, homelessness, unstable finances, family dysfunction, sheer and utter loneliness that there are no words I am familiar with to actually articulate. In spite of all this, the tears, the pain, I somehow managed to make it through to face what is now my junior year of college. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, now actually visible. Where before it was just something that I knew existed but could not accurately conjure up an image of.
It is hard right now to contemplate the end of this long journey as it is missing one of the star players. I have tried not to think of this quest – this journey in terms of sadness or melancholy but I find myself unable to escape from the thought of Dante’ not being here and not making it out of his sophomore year. That hurts like you would not be able to believe or understand.
It also puts the starch in my back and reminds me, there is more work to do.
Onward and upward….