Immediately after the start of the new year, I enrolled in some classes at a local community college. The decision itself was impulsive and not as well planned as I would have liked, but once I decided that I needed the change desperately, I committed to it, registered for classes, bought books and supplies, and eagerly (and anxiously) awaited the first day of school.
Admittedly, my decision to pursue more education was made because I was tired of being pressured by my father to get my masters. I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and truth be told, I didn’t want to pursue any form of higher education in that field. This I had known for years, even before I was fired; after having worked both inpatient addictions and long-term acute mental health for nearly a decade, on top of a handful of internships, I was experiencing some major burnout.
My decision to pursue social work years ago was initially made to be able to capitalize on my innate ability to help others. But after helping others, I had to take a step back and look at what that was doing to my life. My life and identity became my job, and invested so much of myself in it that I neglected those around me. Ultimately, when I was fired, I was relieved. I could return to caring about people who deserved the care (friends, my significant other, family) as opposed to those who didn’t.
When I decided to pursue a new degree, I knew I did not work with people. Not in the sense that I wanted to be in a cubicle all by myself, day in and day out, but in the sense that I didn’t want my role to be that of someone who cares for others. In all honesty, I was happy not to be cursed at every day by clients, and it was a breath of fresh air to not have to do my job under the threat of physical violence. So, in light of that, I sat down and made a list of what I’m good at. After agonizing over it for the better part of a day, I decided that dammit, I wanted to be an interior designer.
Interior design and interior decorating are two different things. Sure, they both pick color palettes and fabrics, but designers also construct spaces. There’s a good amount of architecture involved, which is pretty cool.
My first day back at school was pretty cool. I was happy to find out I was not the oldest person in my classes. It was a big relief, admittedly. The campus is deceptively small, and by day two I figured out how to make it from the parking lot across campus to my first class by cutting through other buildings so as to avoid the biting cold.
I’m also getting a kick out of most of my classes being in the art department. If I had a choice when I first went to college, if I didn’t have the pressure from my father beating me down, I would have pursued a fine arts degree.
I got some bad news on Monday from my doctor. It was regarding a recent ultrasound I had done. Everything they were looking for came back negative, but then they found something that was a surprise.
I haven’t really talked about it with anyone but my boyfriend. I feel like I’ve been too open about my medical issues with my friends, to the point that I’m probably regarded as “Leila, the dying.”
I don’t know. I had a day to rage out about it. Four hours, really. I was upset, I sobbed, I napped to avoid thinking, I got angry when I woke up to the same reality… but then that’s where that ended.
I could be angry about my body turning on me, but it serves no purpose. The growth will still be there, I’ll still be sick and struggling to come to terms with that, and time will still go on. I have been observing people and the way they react to stressors, and how they can be abusive, and how they can alienate those around them because they can’t see beyond their hard time.
I don’t want to be that way.
Because if this thing in me is something terminal, I want to be remembered as someone who was incredibly kind, someone who was happy, someone who loved life.
So, I keep going to class, keep smiling, keep helping others with their classwork in manual drafting class, and keep reframing things in my mind, truly embracing an “it could be worse” response to things.
Your song of the day is “Dry the Rain” by The Beta Band. This song, with regard to my current situation, is about as gloomy as I will get on the matter. Check the song out if you get a chance.
This is the definition of my life
Lying in bed in the sunlight
Choking on the vitamin tablet
The doctor gave in the hope of saving me
In the hope of saving me