03 April 2011

Line in the Sand

Thank God I went to college.

I'm not grateful primarily for the education I got (which was adequate) or the people I met (who were significantly more important) or for all the fun I had (which was a lot, amongst the stress). I am grateful for how fucking unbelievably miserable I was. Thank you for the nights I spent lying in bed unable to sleep because I couldn't see how it was possible to get all my work done. Thank you for my freshman year mantra, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Thank you for Foster's horrible food, which made me physically nauseous by the end of my first year. Thank you for roommates I couldn't stand, for a study abroad that stressed me out every day, for never having a moment to breathe, for crying without knowing why, for an all-nighter, for D's, for late papers and academic guilt, for feeling less human because I couldn't get my shit together and turn in a damn thing on time that was of any quality, for books I pretended to read, for seasonal affected disorder, for a twenty-minute walk through the snow and ice and sludge uphill both ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

When I dropped out of college in my second semester, I went back because my parents scared me into it with the health insurance boogeyman. Now, I know that, whether I have insurance or not at any point, I will never let fear of "what might happen" scare me unthinking into a decision about insurance. I know that I can handle years of misery, in unchanging gray skies and a spirit-draining snow-slush-ice-snow-slush cycle, overworked, underfed, underslept, and certainly undersexed and undertraveled. I can endure anything.

But even better than that...I drew a line in the sand and swore to myself I would never do anything like that to myself again. No more school. No more compromises. No more deadlines. No more sludging through misery because it's what I'm supposed to do. Never. That was the moment (in my junior year, sometime in March or February) when everything great in my life that I have now became inevitable, the moment from which the rest of my life will lead triumphantly onward, knowing it has already won.

If you're urging me to go back to school and finish my degree, then it's time you faced exactly what you're telling me you want me to do: you want me to quit pretending I'm God incarnate and act like everyone else, because that's just what people do. Put another way: you're asking me to betray the oath to myself that is the basis for all my self-respect.

And that is the one thing I will never do. I am God incarnate, and I have had enough of the things that other people like to do in order to go along to get along. I don't have any Joneses to keep up with.

All I have is me. Isn't that enough for you?

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