This time last year I was less than a month away from graduation.
I was also seeing a therapist weekly,
suffering from stress-induced vertigo,
begging professors for extensions,
and pulling all-nighters.
I had been in school for 11 years, 2 kids, 2 failed relationships, a trip to rehab and 8 jobs.
I had known what it was like to be pregnant the entire semester
and have a baby just in time to come back for finals (both boys are April babies).
I had amassed a fortune in student loan debt
and had paid the salary of at least two Cal State employees
with the number of parking tickets I had incurred over the years.
It felt like everyone I knew had grown up and moved on and left me in the dust.
I clawed and cried my exhausted heap of a body all the way to the finish line,
something no one (including myself) really thought would ever happen.
I had had a full weeks sleep when this photo was taken.
And then it did.
It did happen.
I heard my name and crossed the stage and took a terrible picture
with the biggest grin I think I've ever possessed.
I enjoyed my moment.
"Licked the bowl" as my therapist had suggested.
I am obviously very happy here.
We had a party and it was fun and probably my favorite things were:
the feeling of actually finishing something I had started.
And my parents' pride.
Then it was June and I plummeted.
I searched and searched and SEARCHED for a new job.
A goal of sending out at least 10 resumes a day.
Diligence and effort met with dead air.
Months without a single response.
We pulled Lucas out of school for a lot of reasons I may or may not ever go into detail here.
My savings dried up and my apartment got infested by bugs.
My kid got diagnosed with a form of epilepsy
and one of my best friends moved back East
just as another moved back to California.
The hardest summer of my life came to a close
as we found our guy a new school
and I finally got rid of the bugs.
Fall brought an eviction notice (shitty landlords don't appreciate your demands for pest control reimbursement), a new apartment, the final collapse of a few old friendships,
a new (old) love,
and a job that turned out to be pretty terrible.
And while I know it sounds terrible and yes it was HORRIBLE,
something about that chaos felt comfortable to me.
While I may not manage to do it gracefully,
I have always been able to do crisis mode.
Today it's the lack of extremes I struggle with.
I find my seeming homeostasis even more confusing.
I don't know how to process that I work here and I LOVE it
(even though sometimes when I'm walking through Downtown and into my office building
I feel like a little girl wearing her mommy's clothes).
Well hello stunning view.
House is good.
Kids are good too.
I regularly look at them and can't believe I'm their mother.
Often times I feel like an imposter.
Undeserving of any accolades.
Self-sabotager so I can beat you to the punch.
I don't drink. I don't smoke. I go to bed at a decent hour.
My voice has quieted. Laugh still boisterous but opinions often kept to oneself.
I feel like in this last year I lost an identity I had had for a very long time
and I still don't completely own a new one.