Fifty Five

Last Wednesday,

A classmate said, “You don’t smile.” “There is no joy in school,” I joked back. It was more of a half-joke, because I really don’t find any joy in school. My friends know it, my husband knows it, and even my teachers know it with my daily “unimpressed” expressions that make it very obvious I am a non-traditional age student. Only my husband knows that my lack of smiling is completely intentional. Smiling means weakness and approachability. I help people who ask me to help them out and share my opinions and experiences with them only to the extent of not making any relationship stick. This time around, I am refusing alliances, jealousy, and attachments.

I don’t know why I’m doing this, actually. Maybe it’s the spirit of competition, or maybe I stayed in Europe for too long and absorbed that comfortable coldness. Being alone in college made me notice why I was so successful in high school. Yes, I was a sleep-deprived over achiever, but take away the “sleep deprived” and “over.” There’s just “achiever” left. Effortless, isolated achievement that gives me time to myself and room to think. This also reduces emotional damage in case my bipolar symptoms pop up. I still get rages every couple of weeks and these strange bouts of sadness and happiness.

I also signed up for a counseling appointment and a health check up. I don’t know if I am playing too much Diablo or stressing out about the skeleton I am drawing for Life Drawing, but I have been having nightmares about my worst days, skeletons, and zombies for the last two weeks. Hopefully, the counselor can help out with that. Maybe it’s midterm stress? I experienced nightmares at Smith too that drained me of my energy on a daily basis and made me jumpy and anxious. Since it’s a pattern, I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have nightmares anymore.

Three

When the clock is ticking,

Each second presents this opportunity for us to let our lives rot or thrive. I have this habit of sitting still before leaping up, clearing the desk, and continuing on my next task before my schedule goes to waste. An on looker would think that I suddenly remembered something very important that is due soon, but without that now-or-never rush of adrenaline, I would never get anything done. By getting things done, I also mean moving on with my life. As I was recovering from my depression, which would freeze me whenever I approach a task that threatened my confidence with uncertainty or difficulty, I learned to find why I am scared of doing something, how I can fix it, and choose a solution. Each second therefore feels a true/false, yes/no, fill-in-the-blank, or choose from one of the following choices type of questions, and the minutes, hours, days, and weeks are composed of these tiny little moments and decisions that could change our lives. I have to remind myself each time I start browsing YouTube, Pinterest, or Facebook too much that I am putting myself in limbo again, and when I’m not sleeping, I should be moving mentally or physically. That is why being unproductive in front of a computer screen or indulging in too many of my favorite shows on Hulu depresses me. I’m letting my body and my mind rot, and I will never get those moments back. In those irretrievable moments, I could have read something informative and useful or opened a new career opportunity by sending an e-mail. In fact, the moments when I feel the most stuck are when I am overwhelmed with nothing to do, no choices to choose from — just a blank slate and a blank mind browsing the web for something to stimulate me.

Time is a continuous cycle. It sort of feels like an ocean wave. If you miss the first one, you can always muster the courage to paddle out and catch the next one, but you’ll never catch that first opportunity again.