I’ve had this quote in my head for weeks, maybe even for months now. I have been trying to use it as a personal mantra of sorts as I deal with the anxieties that going to college have stirred up in me. I don’t know who to attribute it to and I’m certain that isn’t the point. I’ve spent my entire life believing that if I just worked harder I, and therefore we, would make it. I still think that there is a truth there, but what I am trying to change is what I am working harder at. I’ve had moments this summer,sitting in my math class staring at an algebraic formula on the board in front of me, when I’ve thought, “I was a really good baker. I should just go back to that.” I have to remind myself that my back isn’t going to make it another 30+ years in the food service industry. I have to remind myself that after my last job as a baker I ended up in a nuthouse. My mom hates it when I refer to that time of my life in such a way. Somehow psychiatric hospital is okay with her, but nuthouse, or looney bin is not. I tried to explain to her that I needed to look back on my past with a sense of humor.
The last time that I was called up to the board to solve a problem in front of a class it was chalk I held in my hand. I could sit here and blame my brilliant mathematician father for creating a math phobia in me so deep that certain words my teacher uses trigger panic attacks, or, even better, the feeling that I am going to shit myself. That’s how much math scares me! It’s tied into my goddamn bowels, not that I’ve shit myself yet, but my stomach gets sick. Blaming my dad, or wearing the victim t-shirt, as I’ve come to think of it, hasn’t gotten me very far in life at all.
Defining courage is relative, but for me this summer it has been continuing to go to class everyday. It has been studying when I feel like crying, or napping, doing my homework even when I think I am writing down the wrong answers, and resisting the urge to run out of the classroom in the middle of a test.
If financial aid and possibly a student loan pan out I hope to be able to attend full time in the fall. I have ideas as far as what program I wish to get a certificate in, mostly careers in the medical field that have a high demand, decent pay and benefits, and a reduced potential for continuing to exacerbate my back problems, if that’s at all possible. A lot of these programs are already full of students who got their asses in gear earlier in the year than I did. I’m just going to continue to enroll in classes that will be applicable as prerequisites no matter which path I choose. In that new agey way of speaking I loathe, I believe that if I just keep trying I will find my way. Also, just to brag slightly because I want to, my math teacher told me that I was at a B+ the last time that I checked in with him, and since then I’ve handed in one homework assignment that I got 100% on, and taken an exam that I got an A on, so that puts me at, hell I don’t know, now. I’m doing fine is my point.