I'm coming clean.
That's a great song by Hillary Duff, but not what I'm writing about (today at least◡̈).
I want to start by reiterating that I am so happy at college. This is somewhat for my family’s sake because I know that if I didn’t say it I should expect some visitors within the next 30-45 minutes, but for real, I had no idea what would be in store for me at the University of Maryland and I have found myself thriving.
Pictured: some proof that there are plenty of amazing moments and I really am happy
I thought COVID would rob me of yet another incredible experience that I craved with all of my being. Shockingly, it didn’t. But that’s not to say that there haven’t been low points.
I’m not going to lie, I am sitting here writing this on a pretty rough night. The day was rainy, my mood is all over the place, and I still have mounds of work left (but if you’re my mom or dad reading this, just kidding! Of course, all of my work is already done! It’s 9:47 pm on Monday). Rain, clouds, and storms tend to put me in a weird mood - I really could not tell you why.
What the heck am I getting at here? Well, I think that amidst COVID and the additional bizarre circumstances that make up our lives right now, for a lot of us emotional stability has decided to take a rain check. Haha, see what I did there? There’s your daily dose of quality humor, anyway, back to my point. I’ve had a few nights here, amidst all the great ones, where I just take a step back and realize how much things kind of suck right now. Some people may find that pessimistic, but frankly, you cannot be optimistic ALL of the time. If you ignore the disappointments and bad days then they just eat away at you.
I’m at college right now. I am supposed to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of student life. I should have made friends in each of my classes, danced my heart out at fraternity parties, and had to experience the rush of waking up five minutes before my class with a hangover (hi mom! That’s just a reference for emphasis in my writing, don’t you worry!) and race against time to haul my ass to class. But no. I have indeed woken up five minutes before a class, just to turn on my zoom call, go back to sleep for another ten minutes until the teacher has gotten some semblance of a grip on the technology to actually start class, and then been perfectly on-time, present, and alert. Let me repeat: I’M A COLLEGE STUDENT. This is kind of sad.
I’m not sure whether or not other college students would agree, but sometimes there is enough of a sense of normalcy here that it is easy to forget the reality of the world right now. It’s not that masks, social distancing, activism, etc. aren’t all around me, but rather that I have a routine. I have adapted to a new normal. However, in moments like these, I remember that this normal of mine is kind of half-assed. Everyone has experienced some sort of loss as a result of current circumstances, but this is my blog so I’m going to talk about what I’ve lost for a second (yeah… narcissistic. It’s not like I didn’t warn you though, read my homepage). I was sent home from the trip of a lifetime, a semester abroad in Israel - my first time out of the country. This abrupt ending also constituted the “closure” I got from high school. I went through the carpool line to pick up my yearbook and drove away in tears because it wasn’t supposed to be like that. I was supposed to be in the gym, freckled, and somewhat tan, with my whole grade, signing yearbooks, and reuniting with my underclassmen friends. Then, I was supposed to have my first summer as a counselor on staff at my sleepaway camp I’ve attended for 11 years. Luckily, I had the time of my life and my favorite three little munchkins made my summer with a makeshift day camp we lovingly dubbed Camp Awesome 4 Girls, but nonetheless, it wasn’t how things were supposed to be. It was another crushing loss. As the Fall approached, I geared up for friends heading off to college. I did not get to hug some of my friends before they left. I’m sorry, but what the f***!? These people were the ones I grew up with and experienced my most transformative years with and I couldn’t hug them goodbye without the fear of exposing them or an at-risk family member to a deadly virus. Then, I ventured into my first semester as a freshman with no roommate and little to no optimism for the next few months.
I was pleasantly surprised, but here’s the thing. While I for some reason felt the need to complain about my own specific losses (I really think I just like the sound of my own voice in my head when I’m writing), everyone has lost people, moments, and opportunities that were important to them. There’s a big cry for optimism; we’re all in this together, it will get better, make the most of it, there are upsides to the situation, and look on the bright side are just a few of the comments circulating right now. Sometimes, they’re right - sulking won’t help any of us, but that’s not to say that the situation doesn’t suck ass because it does. I would like to consider myself a fairly optimistic person, but over the past six or seven months, I’ve found that there are times when that positive outlook has just been spread too thin. Once a month or so I have to have a little breakdown and let the weight of life’s sh*ttiness off my chest (and no that’s not just my period thank you very much). Tonight seems to be that moment for me. It’s not fun. I’m kind of miserable right now. Usually, writing invigorates me, but tonight it is merely a distraction from the overwhelming chaos currently inhabiting my brain.
About an hour ago, I found myself scrolling through my contacts, desperate to find someone to reach out to, someone who just might get it. Unfortunately, that’s one of the hardest parts of today’s situation. No one can understand exactly what you’re going through besides you. Everyone has lost unique experiences important to them. Missing one thing may have brought the world crashing down for one person while it was a relief for another. It’s kind of unclear whether or not that’s okay to talk about, and if so how to even go about it. Furthermore, we’re all literally living in a place where there is some extent of isolation. This causes us to retreat into ourselves and leave thoughts to ferment in our brains. Aka cue overthinking. There is too much time on our hands, not enough people around, and not enough to do that feels minutely important in the overarching scheme of things. So yeah, I’m crying right now, as my cute little ~sad selfie~ shows, but you know what? It is warranted.
A friend of mine reminded me tonight that everyone’s emotions are running high right now because, to a certain extent, everyone is on edge right now. And she’s so insanely right! This is no one’s normal which offsets the balance it has taken every individual so long to find - it makes sense that you’re a little all over the place. It makes sense that sometimes you are overcome by the sensation that you are missing something. I hate to say it, but you are. I was so irritated with myself tonight because while I’m usually abnormally introspective and emotionally intelligent, I could not for the life of me put a finger on what was upsetting me. I know I need to hear it, and I’m sure some of you could also benefit: cut yourself some slack.
Yes, this won’t last forever, but as long as it has gone on certainly constitutes frustration and heartache. We know what all life can be. We had it, and suddenly it slipped right through our fingertips. There was nothing we could control to stop it and hold on. Everyone has some sense of helplessness within them right now, even if they refuse to admit it. No one can just put an end to this and give everyone back all that they’ve lost. We’re all a bit out of control. That warrants getting upset. In those moments where your heart feels a bit heavier, beating faster than normal, and you feel tears start to well, try not to beat yourself up too much. Don’t feel so pressured to analyze the emotion’s specific catalyst and address the root of the problem - it’s kind of hard to decipher amongst all of this. All of us are somewhat overwhelmed right now because it’s the natural reaction to the abnormal circumstances we’re surrounded by. This wasn’t my first tougher night and I have an inkling that it won’t be the last. We all have them and working through them isn’t easy - more often than not though, after rain comes a rainbow.