It has been one long semester of no writing, no blogposts, and really no time for anything other than attempting to graduate without breaking down every 45 seconds because of how hectic senior year became.
I’ve now been an alumna of Hillsdale College for 49 days and I’ll probably stop counting once I realize I’m an actual adult with bills to pay. I haven’t fully come to that realization yet (mostly because my parents are letting me live with them until I can pay my way through life, thanks mom and dad).
I think the biggest lesson learned in the past 49 days is how independent I want to be but how dependent I absolutely am and must be to survive.
Example A: I want to move out of my parents’ house and live on my own as a young, single (and absolutely adorable) cat mom. I want to have a cute little apartment approximately the size of a sardine can and just scrounge. I’m okay with scrounging for a little while; I don’t need much. But even the little, tiny apartment that I want is unaffordable to me at this very moment because when I graduated, my bank account had maybe $48.53 in it. (I’m kidding. Mostly.) My parents welcomed me, and even were the ones who suggested I move in, but still I get this grinding, gnawing feeling that I want to be out on my own. Not depending on anyone but myself and my cool new job. And my cats.
Example B is a little bit of a tougher scenario, if it can get tougher than being in a financial rut as a brand new baby adult. Emotionally, I’ve never been a depender, either. I like to feel things and then pretend the feelings don’t exist so that I can help other people around me. My feelings don’t matter as much to me mostly out of pride because I can’t imagine letting anyone else in on my secrets of being sad or distraught. Anyway, flashback to last week when I was sitting in Wednesday night church service, just chilling. Very suddenly, my stomach dropped and I heard the words in my head that I hadn’t heard in a while slip on into my mind while my dad was preaching about something completely unrelated to what now had my attention.
“I wish I didn’t exist.”
I began to become pretty confused because while I knew I was dealing with some unknown internal struggle, I didn’t realize it was serious enough to make me question whether I was worth having a life. I sat for a bit in my chair, seriously unable to really move much but with stinging eyes and a deep breath, I picked up my phone, sent a text message to a dear friend that read “I’m so unhappy…literally all the time.” It was my way of saying “hey, suddenly I realized I don’t want to exist anymore and I’m scared that I’m thinking these thoughts so please help me.”
I got up from my seat and drove to the cemetery that my recently deceased grandma is in. Since her death, I have found it therapeutic to go and sit next to her grave and just talk to her about things, whether they be deeper struggles, or just the day to day “here’s how my life is” conversation. I like to think that even though she’s living it up in Heaven, God still allows her to hear me when I talk to her like that.
So there I sat, talking to my grandma and God. And when I say “talking”, I mean “sobbing”. I sat in my car, unable to open my door because what I was feeling was so deep and so dark that moving or going outside seemed unbearable. I felt so scared and truly so, so alone. I had realized that the way I was viewing myself was in such a poor light that over time, I had worn myself down to this moment. I’d held on to bitterness from something that hurt me years ago and suddenly all of it was flooding back in the form of a tearful, one-sided conversation with my grandma.
I say all of this to get to one simple point. In trying to deal with my own emotions, my own financial instability, my own whatever, I always end up feeling alone, confused, and unable to help myself. Time and time again I’ve found myself in situations where if I would’ve just reached out and said “help me” to a loved one or even the closest person to me, I could have saved myself so much grief.
After I left the cemetery, I texted my mom and told her how I’d been feeling. She’d had no idea I was even struggling with anything at all, but laying aside all surprise and being kind enough to not ask questions, she allowed me to just come home, eat icecream and sit. We could talk about it, or we could not talk about it. But what I knew was that I was not alone. And my friend that I texted during church? She came to me, reassured me, loved me, and listened while I talked through whatever it was that I was still trying to figure out.
Independence is a great thing. It’s beautiful when it isn’t enjoyed in the context of pridefulness. And just as independence is a great thing, dependence is a beauty, too. God created us to be with others, to bear one another’s burdens. In doing this, we fulfill the law of Christ. We fulfill what God created us for: community. Communion. Love.
So, today, dear reader, remember that you are surrounded by love and surrounded by one of the greatest gifts God created for his children. There IS someone who can listen when you need to be listened to, reassure you when you need reassurance, pray for you when you need prayer, and hold you when you need holding. You just have to accept that dependence is a part of our nature and it can be one of the most beautiful.