Monday, May 03, 2010

Is It Over Yet?

So it turns out that while a significant improvement overall has been achieved, 2010 has not (yet) turned into the super banner year I was hoping for. Too many meh or utter crap years for me.

I am ready for this semester to be over and done with. One more class of Spanish, then exams. And, just as last semester, my exams on the last possible days and times for them to be held. I understand there's a whole week set aside for exams, at least academically. This whole week's worth of days to be examined just doesn't seem to apply to me. At least the classes haven't been difficult. I think that, again, I'll make Dean's List. But, perhaps tellingly, I'm not as concerned or excited at the prospect this semester like I was last semester.

My applications and paperwork are in for NCSU and UNCG. Both options even out on the pros/cons scale, really, so if I get accepted to both, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Flip a coin? In any case, I'm ready to not be at RCCC and in Mom's basement anymore. I've peaked here. I had to, essentially, start back from the beginning in a lot of ways over the course of the past year or so, and I've built back up to near where I left off. And what I need to continue forward, versus pushing against the wall, is to get up and out of here and somewhere else.

I can recognize symptoms that looks suspiciously like depression of one kind or another settling in. I have not been diagnosed with clinical or manic depression. I don't claim it or wield it as an excuse. But I do acknowledge the symptoms and the familial and genetic predisposition. I know that if it weren't for the good things I have, little or big, I'd be in worse shape. I'm actually going to finish two semesters in a row. That's, sadly, something of an accomplishment for me. My Wednesdays have been pretty consistently good: dinner with my Grandmommie Poole, choir practice, game night. I've gotten back into Warhammer 40K, which has creative and artistic elements. It's been especially helpful that a train to Raleigh is pretty inexpensive and I can go up, hang out with Jerod and get some games in. His bugs have been winning consistently, but I'm learning new rules. Oh, how I miss Stubborn. I have felt God around. I can't think of a time when I haven't, mind, but I know He's trying to encourage patience in me. And I'm trying, I really am, to be patient, to Listen.

But waiting for something to start is not something I do very well. I hate sitting and doing nothing, just spinning my wheels. Once I'm involved in something, I have a seemingly endless supply of patience and understanding. I feel like I've been spinning my wheels for near a year in some regards. I think I'm ready for what's out there, but what's out there, it seems, isn't ready for me. There's information out there that I should know. But it's withheld from me, intentionally or accidentally. Communication failures, lack of trust. Too many replays of the same scene with varying degrees of intensity, but the same essential script, even if some of the players change. It's frustrating. Damn the material, damn the corporeal.

I'm a good guy. I've got flaws, but I try to be upfront about them. I refuse to act like I don't want what I want because someone, somewhere decided that was the way to get what you want. And I refuse to not go after what I want out of life to fit some stupid, arbitrary, and painfully mutable rules. I sort of understand why the rules get changed out from under my feet. If you need something, tell me what it is you need, plainly. Don't get mad if what you said to me was open to interpretation. Subtle clues will be willfully ignored. I don't give a rat's ass about airs of mystery. I'm not going to lose interest or attraction just because I've cracked the mystery. There's a lifetime's worth of discovery two people can share without "mystery" between them. Mystery is way too close to misery. Don't coddle my ego, tell me plainly. Simple, clear honesty is going to hurt me far, far less than attempting to spare my feelings.

And for the love of God, when did "let's just be friends" turn into not talking to someone at all?

It's been a year or more since I've known what a good night's rest felt like and I'm kinda tired of it. I don't think the situation is going to change any time soon, frustratingly enough, but I'm more than a little ready for it to, in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul. I'm dreaming more in the last few months than I have in the entire decade before. It's throwing me off, making my sleep even less restful. It keeps my up because I'm dreaming about someone I don't want to dream about. I don't want to think about her. It hurts to watch her life spiral more and more out of control, to see her push people away, consciously or unconsciously. I know it's not my place any more to be there. But despite everything, I haven't stopped caring. I haven't stopped wanting good things for her. She's got to be hurting hard and deep somewhere. I can only imagine that it might have been something like how she or others felt about me last summer. My recovery was slower, perhaps, but it was, it is real.

I've spent way too much time and effort in the last year rebuilding who I am from the ground up to tolerate the low moods and impatience and ennui I'm struggling with now. It's doubly frustrating because I should be in better spirits, and I know it. I have too much that is good in my life to be this down, but I am nonetheless. And I certainly don't want to seem ungrateful to anyone.

Mom, Randy, Grandmommie, John, Hugh, KC, Chris, all of you who have helped hold me up. I am thankful. I will remember the kindnesses you have shown me and some day I will pay back or pay forward.

In twelve days, the Ides of May will be upon us, and I will be 28. Ten years ago, I was getting ready to graduate from high school, and I was working hard to push my grades up enough to be an Honors Graduate, despite being, well, me. I was looking forward to prom with a bunch of great friends. I couldn't imagine what ten years in the future would look like. There was so much I didn't know and, looking back, I was much, much happier not knowing. I wonder what Justin-That-Was would think of Justin-That-Is. Likely not much. I didn't think much of a lot of people older than me, but there were a few. Justin-That-Was couldn't even fathom the concept of dropping out or doing poorly at college, that much I remember. The very idea that I would be back in my mom's basement trying to finish up my sophomore year at college ten years after graduating high school would have been laughable. And it's still something I feel at least a little bit of shame over. Despite a seeming wealth of experience with it, failure isn't something I've ever really been able to take well.

But you know what? My people are a long-lived people. We are healthy, we are strong, we are smart, and we are, eventually, wise. If I were to meet Justin-That-Was, I'd have sat his ass right down in his place, with fists if necessary. For my people are a stubborn people, too. It's pointless to speculate on what might have been. The world has been kicking my ass for the last ten years, and no small part of that was because I let it. Sometimes because I just didn't want to fight, whether from pacifism or apathy or whatever. Sometimes I fought harder than I should have been able to and still lost. Sometimes I just walked away from the fight and gave up before it started. Ten years of losing, ten years of failures, ten years of little to show for my journey, these things have taught me many hard lessons. They have strengthened me in ways that success never can. We are a stubborn people. I reject many of the "rules." Pointless, obfuscating, obstructive, and unproductive are these that I deny.

I will not act like I do not want what I want.
I will pursue that which I want.
I will do so with honesty and without apology.
I will be as direct as I can as often as I can.
I will say what I mean and I will mean what I say.

In two years' time, these are the goals I am striving to accomplish: I will graduate with a BA in History. If this means I have to load up on summer classes or get approval for over-booked semesters, then I will do so. Next summer, I will be in the legal and physical condition required to enlist in the Army National Guard. I will graduate, I will get my commission. In another ten years time I want to look back with my officer's rank and pay, with my PhD and say to myself "Well played, Justin. Well played."

And God help anyone who gets in my way.

damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead

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