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Well, it’s been an interesting turn of events. Okay, not really that interesting. I am currently writing this in my town’s public library, using their wireless Internet access because ours at home have gone kaput. We don’t know why, it was slow last night and then, when we tried to fix it, we completely lost it. My mom called my Uncle Dave, who set it up, and he thinks it might have to do with the provider, but it’s been a day and it’s still not working. I texted Alex and told him we had no Internet and it was like DEFCON 5 at my house. He corrected me on my botched Wargames reference. It is in fact, a DEFCON 1 situation.

I hate to say how reliant we are on the Internet nowadays, but we are. My mom does the majority of her schoolwork online, which is good for her because she can plan out when she does her homework. Unfortunately, I think she has something due tonight and that’s why we’re here. I wanted the Internet only so I could check my e-mail (which is probably junk) and I could write my 750 words for the day, since I have a good 115 day streak going and I am hesitant to just let it slip through my fingers. I just hope we can make it home in time to see the new episode of The Big Bang Theory. One of my nerdcrushes Wil Wheaton is on it again tonight, and I can’t miss that.

Otherwise, I haven’t really needed the Internet. I’m hoping to finish a Christmas present for one of my brothers tonight, and then I have a bunch of other Christmas knitting to work on. I’ve even started reading again, though most of my reading is done at work. So that means that in a 738-page book that I started three weeks ago, I’ve gotten about 102 pages in. Oh well. I vow to get back into the reading habit. I have far too many books to let them go unread. The large tome I am working on is a collection of Rudyard Kipling’s horror and fantasy stories. I admittedly only bought it because I saw it had “The Mark of the Beast” in it, which I love, but I am quite interested at what I’ve read so far. His language is a little hard to decipher at times, but that’s to be expected. Just wait until I get to my collection of Shakespeare – I’m going to go out of my mind because of his workings on the English language.

Also, I watch too much television. Mom and I got the first season of The Walking Dead and devoured it. We’re looking forward to the new season starting on Sunday. I’ve recently gotten interested in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and rediscovering South Park. My mother is not pleased. She also thinks I’m weird.

Anyway, nothing too exciting happening now. I’m a young, employed, apparently responsible adult now. I have been working at the hotel for four weeks now, though I’ve been in training for three. I actually enjoy my forty-five minute commute most days. I have noticed that the radio has a certain taste. It seemed like just about every time I was in the car either going to or coming from work, “Hotel California” would be playing. I don’t know if other hotel employees find that funny, but I thought it was hysterical. I have heard “In the Air Tonight” a lot, and that usually results in me belting out the lyrics and beating the drum part on my steering wheel. Also, Adele plays a lot, and though she has the most beautiful voice, there is only so many times I can take hearing “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” It’s such good music, but it makes me so sad and I really don’t have a reason to be sad right now.

Well, okay, maybe one reason. They are now getting me on a regular schedule. I’m going to have Sundays and Mondays off now instead of the proposed Thursdays and Fridays. That was my choice, though. I would much rather have Friday and Saturday off, but that’s not an option. I will, until some miracle happens, always work on Saturdays. So that sucks. I mean, I would be fine with my schedule, I just wish it didn’t seem like everyone I knew was in another time frame. I don’t know if I’ll actually get to visit my dad again until I have a year put in (because that’s when I earn vacation time). My friend Jennifer wrote on my Facebook wall the other day saying I should come visit her, and I’m just thinking, “Sure, but you’re still in school. You probably have classes or clinicals on Monday, so that’s probably not a good idea for me to come stay with you on Sunday…” but I really want to see her.

Before I was employed, I wanted to be a responsible adult. I wanted (and still want) to move out and be on my own. I wanted to feel like I was mature, or well, actually acting my age instead of feeling like nothing changed since the four years since high school. So now that I have a job to go to, why does that make me feel so crappy? I still don’t know what I want anymore, I guess.

Oddly enough, another song that reminds me of my job other than “Hotel California” is “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” I should make a mix-tape.

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Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here, so I figured it was about time. It’s been an interesting time between then and now – okay, not all of it, but some of it. The weekend following the post I wrote was really good. My grandparents showed up on the 23rd and spent the weekend with us. There was a Half-Price Books Clearance Sale at the State Fairgrounds, so we went. I shouldn’t have bought any books, but not a single item was over $3, so I took that opportunity. I bought fifteen books – about $180 at new retail price – for $19. So it was a great deal… and now I have about thirty books I own that I have never read. I’m working on it. After the book sale, we went to Monical’s Pizza for lunch and then took a tour of my mom’s work. She’s been there a year and they had an open house. It was nice to finally see the inside.

On that Sunday, my grandparents left and Alex, Scott, and I went up to Muncie for Thom’s birthday. Alex made falafel and I made jalapeno poppers and sangria. Of course, the sangria was solely for me. It was really good for a first-time recipe. It was a real good time, and I was glad to see everyone.

I’m trying to think about everything else that’s gone on, but it’s hard. I spend a lot of time around the house – reading, knitting, writing, watching television, avoiding things that I actually want and need to do, like clean my room, because I’m not motivated. I’ve read quite a few books lately, like I said before. I most recently finished The Awakening, and today I hope to finish Mrs. Dalloway. I’ve started knitting my final charity blanket, I finished a second pair of socks and have been working on two stuffed elephants for two babies.

The Fourth of July was good. Mom and I watched movies all weekend, and Alex came up and we played Frisbee and ate dinner with my mom. We drove to Anderson and sat in an empty parking lot watching the fireworks from my car and eating Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. I’ve had some pretty good days. On Wednesday nights, I go over to Jennifer’s and we watch So You Think You Can Dance. This past Wednesday, we swam at her grandparents’ house, ate pizza for dinner, and had Good’s ice cream for dessert.

Not too much more happening, I’m afraid, unless you were to ask my brain. My brain would tell you that it is tired of this shit. It’s hard to sleep anymore because even though I’m tired, my mind still won’t stop working.

Lately, I’ve been conflicted with things. Things I want, things I don’t want, things that I should do, things that are rational. A job that will pay me a lot, or a job that will satisfy me in every way but paying me a lot, to stay local or to abandon my sane, rational inclinations and go out west to meet a friend. I attribute my confusion to my long-term bad habit of not being able to decide. It started as a child because I never wanted to rock the boat, to be demanding, and now it’s developed into, “Well, I’m really comfortable with really any outcome, so I don’t know what to decide.” It happens with food to eat, places to go, movies to watch. I want to experience everything, and I don’t care in what order I do it. It will all happen eventually. Or at least, most of the time, that’s how it seems. But with these huge decisions, I just get freaked out. I look at the pros and the cons, and I know in my heart what I really want (I refer to it as my “McCoy”), but my brain always seems to chip in with its ideas of what would be better in the long-run (my “Spock.”). It sucks. Sometimes I try to stick out a bad situation, thinking that once I get through it, everything will be fine. That’s why I tried to stay in student teaching and work it out. I thought that if I just got through it, I’d graduate and be a better person and have more options for career choices and I wouldn’t have to do teaching if I didn’t want to. I didn’t have a choice in the end. After working in a harsh environment with an abusive supervising teacher, angry teenagers who hated on me every day, and a university supervisor who ignored the warning signs, I caved. I couldn’t do it.

I didn’t really want to do student teaching, and in a roundabout way, I didn’t have to do it anymore, though it wasn’t necessarily my choice to go how I did. I was kicked out (though they won’t use that term, it’s basically what happened). I wasted time, a lot of money, and I withstood psychological abuse to get where I am now, which isn’t even that glamorous.

And it’s only getting worse.

I mentioned before that I was having a hard time deciding between a job that would pay me money and a job that would make me happy. I consulted friends and family members for advice, and everyone had good points – and points that I had made in my own deductions. I know that no one else can make a decision for me, and that I am solely responsible for my own decisions. Well, anyway, I was worrying about this decision so much that it was making me sick. It was harder to sleep, I was worried. I went to go meet Alex in Greenfield on Thursday, and I would normally be excited, but I just felt so dead inside. He had brought Scott along as a surprise, which was nice, but I only got to spend an hour with them, when I had expected more. I don’t even know how I drove home, to be honest. I was so upset. I spent the rest of the evening in a funk. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t even want to talk to Alex. I felt so miserable and full of self-loathing. I thought of how worthless I was, how I had to go to this job because no one else would hire me and I was a total loser. I think it is the worst I’ve felt in a long time.

I did call Alex, though. It was 11:00 at night, and he had just woken up after an unexpected nap and had missed dinner. We ended up spontaneously meeting up at the same place we had met earlier, but at midnight. We had dinner together, a chance to redo our date. We talked and I felt a lot better, lighter. I drove home happy in the pouring rain, blasting LCD Soundsystem while going through sleepy little towns.

On Friday, I went to orientation for the high-paying job that I waited three months for. Yeah, that’s right. The testing and interview process was swift. They said they wanted me. But then they made me wait three months. It was so they could get a “class” of what seemed to be about fifteen people for orientation. I went up to the place last Friday for orientation, and within the first twenty minutes, while we were listening to the guy talk while we followed along on our own handout, I realized that this job would be horrible for me. Yeah, I know, you have to start somewhere, but I could see no way how I would actually be able to get out of this place if I wanted to. I don’t even know how long my assignment would last. They could have brought me in for training, and then let me go after the first week. I would hate to wait three months only to work a week.

I sat through over an hour of this orientation when I finally saw a break and was able to get the supervisor aside and tell him I didn’t want the job. He wanted to know why, and I said, “Well, I thought I wanted it, but I really didn’t.” I actually felt quite at peace with my decision.

I may be too prideful, or delusional, or I don’t know. I know, it’s crazy. But I believe that I will find something better, one day. Someday, I will earn the exact same amount of money – or more – in a job that I enjoy, rather than one would make me hate myself every day.

In the meantime while I find a job, I’m trying to keep myself busy – again. Today, Alex and I went to Petsmart and looked at the kitties (SO CUTE!), went bowling, and had ice cream cones at Good’s before he left about two hours ago. I’m leaving tomorrow for Cincinnati. My aunt Jo was bugging me to come visit her. She’ll pay me if I clean and organize her sewing studio (and there’s a bonus if I find her stereo remote!). Stella, the dog that she and Uncle Dave adopted, will be coming home on Wednesday, so I’ll be the first to meet her. I’ll be in Cincy until Friday, and then I’m going to visit my (maternal) grandparents and see if I can keep myself busy at their church festival until Sunday morning. I’ll stop at my (paternal) grandparents’ house on Sunday for a short visit and lunch on my way to Muncie, where I’ll be hanging out with friends, a full loop.

So that’s how things go…

Suck suckity suck suck. That’s how things have been feeling lately.

I hate to feel so negative. It doesn’t make me feel good. But I don’t know, necessarily, how to make myself feel better. I’m trying, but due to the fact that I don’t have a job yet, it’s rather limited.

I miss being a student, and having goals to accomplish at that level – papers to write, assignments to read, professors and fellow peers to have intelligent conversation with. I used to have a job. It was minimum wage and I couldn’t work over twenty hours a week, but I had great supervisors and nice people as coworkers. I was a hard worker, and even though it didn’t pay much, but I worked hard, and I was happy.

Of course, I’ll admit that I’m happier now than I ever was during student teaching. I don’t have to deal with constant bullying and ridicule from over a hundred students a day and my supervising teacher. I can actually spend time being myself. Sometimes a little too much time to myself, anymore.

I miss my friends. When I lived in Muncie, most of them were a walk or a bike ride away. Now, it takes forty-five minutes to get there and forty-five to get back. Therefore, I don’t get much social interaction anymore.

I know, the job market is hard. It’s even harder knowing that there are just so many positions that I’m not qualified for. I’ve had two interviews since graduation. One went all right, and it was in a very upscale area, but I didn’t get the position. I don’t know why I always get my hopes up. When I found out, I told Alex. He had an interview that day, and it went well. About an hour later, the doorbell rang. There he was. He didn’t stay very long, but I appreciate that he wanted to console me.

I had another interview last Friday. It wasn’t one I was particularly looking forward to, especially since it seems no one really wants to give you the information you need, like what sort of position you’re interviewing for. I spent more time in the waiting area than I actually did in the interview – which lasted five minutes. Let us just say that I bombed that interview, big time. But for the record, they wanted a salesperson and should have said that up front. I’m not a salesperson. I can’t sell things. One time in high school, my mom just wanted me to pay for a fundraiser., rather than sell candy bars. I wanted to prove her wrong, so I tried to sell, and failed. Unfortunately, the fact that I can’t sell things has really limited my career options at the moment.

In the meantime, I do try to keep myself busy. I workout (though it would be better if I could go to a gym), read, and write. I’ve been working some interesting writing projects, and I’ve been reading the thirty books I discovered that I own but I’ve never read before. I’ve also been knitting a pair of socks and re-watching Nip/Tuck. I’m currently on the second season. So, when it comes down to it, I spend a lot of time sitting on my ass.

I want a job. I want to move out of the house. Living with my mother again after being in college for four years – and not returning to P-town for the past two summers – is sucking, to put it so bluntly. None of my friends live around here – or well, one of them does, but she’s currently in London for the next two weeks. I’m lonely. My mom comes home from work and doesn’t even ask me how my day is. I understand that it may not look like I do anything at all, but still, it would be nice to be appreciated. I cook, I clean, I run errands. I wake my mom up when she falls asleep on the couch while watching television or in between work and schoolwork. She never asks, though, and she just complains about her day. Living with my mother has started making me resent her. I love her dearly, and I don’t know what I would do if she wasn’t in my life, but right now, living with her is hurting me and my relationship with her.

I think that Alex and I have both strengthened our relationship through our mutual unemployment and living with our parents, but it’s still not as good as it could be. No income, therefore, no big dates – but that’s not really my problem. When I lived in an apartment with three other roommates and I only got to see Alex every other weekend, I’d say things were better than me living with my mother (despite being only a half hour away now) and getting to see him maybe twice a week. I at least saw Alex for at least two to three consecutive days with the former situation. One of the times we see each other is when we go up to Muncie together and he plays Dungeons and Dragons with the guys while I knit and chat with Krista, so it’s not even like we’re alone anymore when we see each other. I look forward to Sunday evenings when he stays the night – even though it is for such a short while.

Yesterday, we went up to Muncie, but Alex had trouble with Domino, his car. When he went to get dinner, Tanner had to go jump his car later. When we tried to leave, the car wouldn’t start again; they tried to jump it, but it still didn’t work. Luckily, Tanner’s a nice guy and drove me home, but Alex stayed in Muncie. One of the only times I get to see him anymore, and it was cut short. I was so sad last night. I hated myself for being so selfish, since it was more important that Alex has reliable transportation and that we are both safe, but my heart ached.

I had to come back home, though. I have an interview at 5:00 today. I’m a bit more optimistic about this one than the last one, but still nervous. I just feel like I’m nothing, or a little kid, to these interviewers. It does wonders for my self-esteem (not).

I hate being in this limbo. I wonder how I am supposed to be an adult when I’m back where I started from four years ago – I may be older now, but four years ago, I was still hanging out at home, doing the same thing I’m doing now. Being here is killing my love life, my relationships, my sanity, and my self-esteem. I’m trying my best to get out, but I feel like it is a force of nature that’s keeping me from being where I want to be.

Back in November of 2009, I started a challenge to myself. A list of 101 Goals to accomplish in 1001 Days. My list was a variety of goals, including ones that would bring me closer to my family, encourage thinking and creating, and tasks that helped me become a better person/adult.

I kept this up for a good 446 days.

In February, I was getting completely stomped on by my student teaching experience, so I put the list on hiatus. It remained as such even when I withdrew from my student teaching. And today, I’d like  to announce that I’m restarting my 101 Goals in 1001 Days from where I left off.

Sure, I have accomplished a few goals in the meantime (graduation and driving down to my dad’s by myself for the first time), but I don’t think that’s any harm. It’s been quite a task just trying to learn how to live like a human being again, let alone working at this list.

If you need a refresher of the list, look here. To this date, I have accomplished 36/101 tasks on my list. A little better than my last “Hey-this-is-how-many-I’ve done” update, but not incredibly spectacular.

I now have 65 goals to complete by November 22, 2012. *Cracking knuckles*  I think I can do this.

My last day as an undergraduate, Friday, had been a pretty good day. I walked to the Senior Party held at the Alumni Center, hung out with Geldes, Matt, and Thom, drank three rum and cokes, and ate some pizza and my (possibly) last Carter’s hot dog. I was pretty tipsy. That was fun. I went back to campus with the guys, and Nick and James found us. No one really seemed to be hanging out, though. James took me back to my apartment so I could finish some packing.

As soon as I walked in, one of my roommates was walking out. She didn’t say a word to me. I started working on things, and realized that she had taken stuff out of the cabinets (and thrown away the banana I was saving for Saturday morning). The fridge was full. I texted her to ask what was hers, and she told me to throw out everything. Let’s get this straight – I rarely saw her take out the trash the entire school year, never cleaned the bathroom she shared with another one of our roommates, cried at the beginning of the year when we confronted her about dish duty (and therefore, we all started washing our own dishes), and never seemed to vacuum – and then all she does to prepare our moving out is to put all her stuff in one corner and take everything out of the cabinets. That’s it. She didn’t vacuum, she didn’t clean out the fridge full of food that only two items were actually mine, and she certainly wasn’t one of the people cleaning the stove or moving the fridge to clean behind it. What a selfish, lazy child.

Anyway, my rage at her sobered me up rather quickly. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer, found an unopened pint of Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream I claimed as my reward, cleaned up my room, vacuumed that and the hall, wiped down the inside of all the cabinets, and then called Krista. Sarah had mentioned that she and Thom were hanging out at Krista’s new place, which I hadn’t seen yet. Besides, my roommates had taken or packed all their utensils away, so there were no spoons. I got directions, and drove over to Krista’s apartment, where James, Nick, Sarah, and Thom were as well. I ate my ice cream, and then we all played Telephone Pictionary.

I went back to my empty apartment near midnight. I played music on my computer and painted my nails purple, since that’s all I could do. The internet had been disconnected, and I had already finished reading The Glass Castle earlier that day. Then I tried to sleep, but I was too excited about Saturday, so I didn’t actually fall asleep until 2:00.

I woke up early and took a bath. We had no shower curtains, so that was pretty much my only option. I chugged a chocolate protein shake and ate a granola bar – like a boss – and fixed my hair and makeup. I packed my car, checked the apartment for any last items I may have forgotten, slipped into my cap and gown, and then headed to campus. Because of weather, the main ceremony was moved inside. I was a little early, but I was kept on my toes by phone calls from friends and family.

I decided to make my way inside to the seating, but there was no true organization for the first ceremony. Ball State hadn’t really prepared anyone – they had made the weather call near 8:00, when it was supposed to be announced at 7:00, and one of the most asked questions from graduates was, “What are we supposed to do?”

Anyway, I decided to go inside and wait for Sarah. I was wearing high heels, and the first steps inside Worthen Arena were slick concrete. Put one and one together, and what do you think happened? Suddenly, I took a tumble on the steps. I was in shock and embarrassed. Several people asked me if I was all right. One woman came up and helped me walk down the remaining steps. I was overwhelmed from the incident and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, and started crying; I was able to regain my composure quickly, though. They asked me if I wanted a medic, and I declined. I had a bunch of scrapes and bruises, and I was limping a little, but overall, I was okay. I waited for Sarah, and I sat in between her and Brandon for the first commencement ceremony. It was boring and I was either almost falling asleep or making wisecracks with Sarah. There was even a moment where we were whispering the words to “Mulatto Butts” from Archer and giggling.

After that, we were able to track down our respective families. Pictures were taken, we waited for my grandparents, took more pictures, took me to return my apartment key, and then ate lunch. When we returned to campus, I was able to find my dad and his side of the family. They went to my cousin Brian’s graduation from the college of Telecommunications and needed to grab something to eat before going to the Sciences and Humanities one for me (and Brian, who had a double major) at 3:00.

Since I was in the English portion of the Sciences and Humanities graduation, I was able to sit near Laura, Brandon, and Missy. It was like a mini-reunion, and we were all happy. It wasn’t really that strange admitting what had happened to me in student teaching, and what my plans (though uncertain) I have for the future. Everyone seemed supportive and happy for me, though my circumstances were unfortunate.

The second ceremony went by with a woosh, and then I took some pictures with dad’s side of the family before it was time to go. I took off my cap, gown, and high heels to drive on the way home. Alex rode with me, though I felt bad because the stop-and-go traffic on our way out of Muncie made him a little ill.

We made it back to my house, I changed into comfortable clothes, and solicited my brothers in helping me unload my car. Then it was party time, full of friends, family, and others. It was nice, and we had the right amount of food for everyone. It was fun. I know I was hesitant about walking in graduation and about having my graduation party because of all that had happened, but I’m now really glad I did it.

It was quite a whirlwind day, and I opened my presents and cards after everyone left. Alex gave me FLCL on DVD and LCD Soundsystem’s last album, which makes me suspect that he’s been looking at my Amazon Wishlist. I was also pleasantly surprised because Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave gave me two books – one written by Katie Couric on the best advice compiled from famous people, and Tina Fey’s new book, which made me squeal with joy because Tina is definitely one of my favorite famous people ever.

So yeah… that’s all. I survived the past four years, and now I’m officially an alumnus of Ball State University.

Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll be graduating with my masters degree! (I can dream!)

By the way, my legs look beautiful now – they’re a palette of purple, blue, green, and yellow, I have a scrape on my right foot, and I think I twisted my left ankle. I’m still recuperating.

I’m currently sitting in my room in Muncie. Blank walls, crumpled sleeping bag, and a bunch of random stuff lying around on the floor. I’m listening to one of my roommates being yelled at by her father. I think he’s being quite unreasonable – she’s trying hard to have everything packed and in the car. She’s leaving today, and so is another one of my dear roommates. One’s gone, but will be back on Sunday to finish wrapping up our loose ends, I think.

I’ll be gone tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up and take a bath, since we won’t have shower curtains. I’ll eat a protein shake, banana, and granola bar for breakfast, hoping it will tide me over. I’ll pack the car with everything I have left in this apartment, then I’ll walk to campus in my dress, cap, and gown.

Tomorrow’s the big day. By the end of the day, I’ll officially be an alumnus of Ball State University.

What happens after that, I don’t know. I have some ideas of what I’d like, but who knows where life will take me. I certainly didn’t expect to be where I am today, right now, with the feelings I have. Hopefully, something good is waiting out there for me to discover it.

The rest of my short trip to Lexington was great. It was a struggle for me to leave.

Thursday, Alex, David, and I jumped on the trampoline and played outside, and then I got the guts to drive around Lexington, so we went to the park. We had a snack, then flew kites. I made them play on the playground and get some energy out, though David argued with me the entire time, since he’s not the “imagining” type like Alex is – who I had to brush woodchips off and wash dirt off of before he got back in my car.

On Friday, we made Cookies and Cream Bars. Alex and David never get into the kitchen, can you believe that? David wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I made him do it himself while I supervised. He’s eleven. He should be able to manage that by now…

The three of us went to the children’s museum, and it was a lot of fun. It’s small, and it’s not like, say, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, but it was still entertaining and the boys enjoyed it.

Not much else went on with my trip – just a lot of relaxation and spending time with my family.

I also finished knitting my giant squid, Squidot. He’s definitely an attention getter.

I drove back on Sunday and stopped by Alex’s house for dinner. It was nice to see him, and it broke up my trip a little bit. Then I came home for a day.

I went back up to Muncie because I had an interview on that Tuesday, then another the next day. It looks like I have a job, though I don’t know when it will be starting, since I have to wait for the company to get all its new hires in at once. I just have to hang out and work on getting things in order at home until then.

Mom’s had me running errands, I stuffed and mailed all of my graduation invitations, I had doctor and dentist appointments, and I’ve seen Alex a few times, too. Mom likes having me home because I also cook for her. Funny story about that.

Friday, April 15th, I made salmon with a couscous dish on the side. It was tasty, and impressive, considering it was the first time I have cooked salmon. I can’t be certain as to whether it was my first time eating it or not. We tried to go to bed early, since we had to be up at 5:00 to go to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. However, I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about my future, about my life, and then… I started coughing. I couldn’t breathe easily, I was itchy, and I felt a slight puffiness in my face. Mom had to make a 1:00 a.m. Benedryl run. All ended up well in the end, but apparently, I might be allergic to salmon, but I don’t care. I think I’m just going to make sure I have Benedryl in my purse wherever I go, because I’m getting sick and tired of surprise allergy attacks.

Even though we only had about four hours of sleep, Mom and I went to the Race for the Cure. I had never done it before, but I think that 1) it is an important cause and 2) I needed the exercise. It was bitter cold and rainy the whole day, but it was still fun. Seeing the survivors in their parade was inspiring, and the walk was fun. We went with Peggy and Mike, and I met Peggy’s daughter and son (though he wasn’t at the walk). It was nice – again, despite the cold – and I think I’m going to participate in it next year, too.

Also, there were Ghostbusters doing the walk. I forgot to mention that. That was cool. I’ll get a picture up when I can of that.

After the walk, we went out for lunch. Mom and I made it back home by 3:00. I was in bed again by 3:30, and slept for a while.

Nothing big happened last week, and then I went up to Muncie last weekend to enjoy the company of others. It was a good weekend. I watched Tideland with Sarah, did some knitting, watched Tron: Legacy with Alex, played some Telephone Pictionary, and went bowling for Tanner’s birthday.

This week, I’m working on cleaning my room and preparing it for the return of my stuff from the apartment. I’ll be living there during finals week on practically nothing, but I wanted to spend time with people before graduation.

Perhaps the most exciting bit of news is that I graduate in 10 days!

I’ve been long overdue for an update – a real update, not the “oh woe is me” blurb I posted a few days ago. However, the timeline has gotten quite hazy for me, so I will try my best to relate what has happened to me in the past month or so.

You know the beginning – March 18, I left Central for good. I went back to P-town. I formally withdrew from my student teaching courses, and then freaked the hell out. It took me about five days before I realized that my entire life, I’ve always thought I knew what I wanted to do. Turns out, I don’t. I would have been miserable as a public school teacher, unless I was in a district that reflected my small-town upbringing. Plus, I had the added pressure from my mother, who told me when I was in middle school and high school that I could not make a living as a poet/writer… I understand her intentions to encourage me to have a more profitable profession, but it was rather disappointing to hear.

Enough of that. Speed up to April 5th. To be completely honest, I don’t remember anything notable between March 18th and April 5th. A lot of recuperation, really. But then, on April 5th, Alex, Tanner, and I went to see Electric Six play at Birdy’s. It was so nice that they were performing only about an hour and a half away this time, rather than three and a half hours. I managed to drag Alex and Tanner into the crowd with me, and I finagled my way up to the front of the stage. We met some people who were also at the Covington show, including a couple. The woman asked me, “When did you first hear about Electric Six?” and I said, “Well, I was in eighth grade when Fire came out…”

She said I made her feel old. Haha.

It was even better than the last show. They played “Pink Flamingos” and “Clusterfuck!” and I went nuts. It would have been even better had people not decided to start moshing during “Gay Bar.” I know it is one of Electric Six’s best known songs (besides “Danger! High Voltage!” of course), but moshing? Really?

At least I didn’t almost die this time, and we got out a little after midnight, compared the Covington show. I swear, if their ticket prices are always this cheap, I will always go see Electric Six when they come to town.

I drove Tanner back up to school since it was a Tuesday night, and then I crashed at my house. Mom woke me up before she left so she could see me for a little bit. I smelled and felt like I had smoked an entire pack of cigarettes the night before, and my legs ached so much from all the dancing I did, I wanted to amputate them. I still had a smile on my face, though!

Later that day, I drove down to Lexington. Three and a half hours to my dad’s. It was my first solo road-trip, and my first time seeing the new house after Dad, Cindy, David and Alex moved during the summer before my sophomore year. My trip was long overdue. My brothers were on spring break, so I decided I should come down and hang out with them. I made it there by the early evening on Wednesday.

After dinner, we went to get dessert at a frozen yogurt place called Orange Leaf, which I had never heard of before but was immediately smitten with it. When we were leaving and I was singing the praises of delicious frozen yogurt that I pay for buy the ounce and mix flavors and toppings when my little brother, Alex, said, “If you like it so much, that means you’ll visit more often, right?” Cute kid. The story gets better.

Dad and I took a separate vehicle and went to Half-Price Books. Laugh at me all you want, but I had never been to a Half-Price Books before. I wanted EVERYTHING. Luckily, I kept myself in check. But I still wanted it all. I ended up getting a knitting book (Pretty in Punk), Ender’s Game, Something Wicked This Way Comes, a collection of Rudyard Kipling horror tales, and a live Depeche Mode CD I didn’t have (Songs of Faith and Devotion Live). Heaven.

We came home, and Cindy said that Alex had spent the car ride back creating a plan for me. He said that I could come live with them, since there is a spare bedroom, and I could either work in a school or a library or go to school at University of Kentucky, and then I could spend more time with them.

My eight-year-old brother came up with this. At first I laughed about how cute it was. But later that night, I looked up University of Kentucky; they have a library science program, and were accepting applications. My only problem was that, since my original plan did not include graduate school, I hadn’t taken the GRE, so I will need to take that sometime in the next few months and then apply for next year, as well as apply for a graduate assistantship.

But what matters here is that it is a viable plan, and I’m considering it. It sounds a lot better than anything else I’ve tried to figure out for myself. It will probably be a year or two before this plan comes to fruition, and it will be a greater distance for me and Alex to deal with in our relationship, but I think I’d be happier and stronger for it. I’ve missed a lot of my brothers’ lives, and of my dad’s life. It might be about time for me to change my scenery, anyhow.

“You’re not alone. You only feel alone.” — Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I have this terrible, sinking sadness in me, when I know I should be happy for what I have and what I have accomplished in my life so far. Yet, it just doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t feel good enough. I feel like a loser when I tell people the truth about how I tried to be a teacher and it just didn’t work out. I have a feeling my graduation is going to be awkward for those guests who don’t know yet…

I don’t know where I belong. I wish I did. I wish I knew where I wanted to go with my life, and what to do about it. I’m questioning everything – and even though I have friends, family, and a loving boyfriend, I just feel alone, apart from it all. I want to get in my car and drive. Last night I wanted to drive to Alex’s house in the dead of night, but I had the good sense not to do it. I just want to drive away, go as far as I can, find myself in another city, another country, create a new life for myself.

But then I’d be lonelier, wouldn’t I?

I’m done with student teaching, but not because the semester is over.

I did not fail.

I just didn’t succeed.

Last Thursday morning, I woke up an English Education Major. I went to bed that evening as an English Major.

I’m still graduating in May, just not exactly in the way that I had planned.

My student teaching placement was horrible. I was bullied by the students, and a little bit by my supervising teacher. The school was undergoing major changes at an administrative level (they “reassigned” their principal). It was rough. At first I thought I could stick it out.

But then, two weeks ago, my university supervisor came in. I had two options: withdraw on that Friday, or go through the five-day improvement plan the next week and then, if I still didn’t meet the criteria, I would have to withdraw that next Friday.

I thought I could do it. I spent 13 hours that weekend in the library, working on lesson plans. I didn’t go to bed before midnight at all that week. But by Wednesday last week, it was clear – my supervising teacher was getting her class back. I was teaching a lesson, and I could see she was looking for lesson plans. I knew then. Hell, I knew it on Monday that week. My heart just wasn’t in it.

I left the school on Friday. I will not return. I changed my major and talked to Dr. Hartman about the ordeal. She knows I should not have been at that school, and my supervising teacher did many things wrong that hindered me.

Things didn’t work out, so yeah, so what? From Thursday through Sunday, I felt fine. I felt as if a whole weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and my aunt Beth said that if I feel that way, I did the right thing. Dr. Hartman said not to make any major decisions for the next two weeks, since I was still in shock. I’ve tried to take her advice, and so far, I’ve been following it. It’s just difficult because I really want to act, I do – I just don’t know what to do, or think. My mind is in a muddled state.

I went home on Friday and  had a lovely weekend. I went to a school play with my mom and ate at Daddio’s on Saturday. Sunday, I went to visit Alex, and we watched Exit Through the Gift Shop and ordered Yen Ching for dinner. He’s been very supportive, as has my family, despite some initial trepidations, which is understandable.

But Monday, it hit me. I was washing dishes (my mom’s so glad to see me at home – she puts me to work), and I just thought, “What am I doing? What am I going to do with a damn degree in English?” It’s like that Avenue Q song, but not so funny when it’s happening to you.

I outlined my four main options now, which can be mixed and tailored as needed.

Option 1: Substitute teaching. It would give me more experience in the educational field in the event I go back for my post-bachelor degree. I think I was lacking in experience when I went into my student teaching, and this could help me. I could do it in Muncie Community Schools, since I’ve already had my background check. Since my lease is up in May, I could only do it from now until then, which isn’t much. I would probably have to do a little extra to substitute in Madison County, but I’d be able to live with my mom.  Then, the question still remains – What do I do when school is out between June and August?

Option 2: Grad school through BSU. They don’t have the exact options I’d want, but at least their deadlines for application haven’t gone whooshing by. I could get a masters in rhetoric/composition, and teach English 103 and 104. Not perfect, but I’d at least be teaching students who want to learn and are paying to be there, not students who don’t care about what I want to teach, which is what I’ll face if I’m in a public school system. Another con, though – money.

Option 3: Grad school through IU. If I could have my choice of masters degrees, I’d get one in library science. My friend David is currently enrolled in the library science program through IU, and he loves it. He told me about it when I saw him at our friends Jason and Julie’s wedding a few weeks ago, and I was sold. The problem is , again, coughing up the money for grad school, and also, their deadline for fall applicants has passed, so I’d have to wait until next spring. I’m okay with that, except, like Option 1, what  would I do with my time between May and next January?

Option 4: TESOL. I know that there are degree add-ons to be certified as a teacher of English as a second language, but there are some programs in which I could become  certified online – no teaching degree required – and then go teach in a foreign country. There  is the small issue of money for the class and for travel, but I would be getting teaching experience, a cultural experience (which I’m totally for), and my students would actually want to learn what I have to teach them. The major problem is obvious, though. I don’t know how long I’d be gone or what access I would have to a computer/Internet. Could I bear to leave Alex for so long?

I’m in a dilemma. I need to choose something. Yeah, Dr. Hartman said two weeks, and I’m obeying it. But I can’t stop thinking about what comes after.

Today I went to formally withdraw from my enrolled course as a student teacher. Soon, my student access to the gym, library, and Health Center will probably taken away from me. I was told by the Financial Aid office that I owe $900 because, since I’m not going to officially be a student, I need to repay some of my financial aid.

I sacrificed money this semester. My hard work should have paid off, but because of the whole situation, I can’t get any of my tuition refunded.

I sacrificed my job this semester. I can’t get it back because, again, I won’t be considered a student.

I sacrificed myself. I’m getting her back, but it’s not easy.

 

I just keep asking myself – What now?


P.S. Anyone have a job opening for a recently graduated English major who has worked at a public library/customer service/receptionist job before? Some teaching experience, just not certified.