There are two chains that make me feel stuck. One is my dad losing his job, and how we still don’t know how things are going to turn out. The other is grad school. I know that sounds odd because grad school is this wonderful opportunity for me, so why would I say it is making me feel stuck? Because it doesn’t feel real yet. I’m slowly getting stuff for my apartment, but it still feels so far away, but it’s not.
To add to this feeling of Limbo, it doesn’t feel like the school year is ending. Every day passes, but it doesn’t feel any closer to the school year wrapping up. When I walk into the school in the morning, it’s like I’m entering this frozen state of time. And when I go home at the end of the day, I’ve only moved to a different location in this suspension.
Yet the days go on. And slowly, very slowly it seems, the calendar days get crossed off.
Last night, I caught up with a friend. It’s not always easy to schedule time together with our schedules, so any chance to spend a day together is a treasure.
One of the things we talked about was about my dad losing his job. In a recent post, I talked about how you can tell who really is there for you by how they react to news of a crisis. My friend didn’t try to change the subject when I brought up about my dad, or about the effects it has on my family and me. Instead, she listened. Genuinely, actively listened.
She was there for me. And as we left, she told me how I can always reach out to her to talk. And she meant it.
You can always tell who really is there for you by their reaction to your news of a crisis.
After my mom told my aunt about my dad losing his job, we haven’t heard from my aunt. The only time she called us was on Easter, in the late afternoon. We weren’t home, but she left a message. “Hi. Just me. Just called to say Happy Easter.” Very brief, no more personal than someone posting a simple “Happy Birthday” to a Facebook friend.
Meanwhile, my other aunt consistently calls us during the week, always asking how my dad is and how we are. At Easter, she and my cousins asked us about the situation and listened as we told about we’ve endured thus far. No attempts to change the subject, no fluffing off the conversation with the casual response of “I’m sure it will all work out.” No abandonment.
The people who are really there for you are the ones who are there for you during the times when you shine and during the times when life entraps you in a burning building with nothing more than a set of fire extinguishers. The people who are there for you help you see the outside, allowing you to breathe.
Last night, I attended an author at my “old” college which now goes by university. Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, gave an author craft talk, and afterwards there was a cocktail reception, and later he read from All Our Names.
It was wonderful to listen to Mengestu speak about being an author and his relationship to the characters he creates as well as the process and inspirations he has when it comes to his writing. I sat in the audience next to the professor who had invited me, and I was really grateful she had contacted me about the event. Not only was it a wonderful event, but it was an opportunity for me to escape from The News. The college where I did my undergrad is a place I will always consider my second home. It was a place where I was able to focus on “me,” allowing myself to truly grow.
Although I graduated and am now referred to as an alumnus, the college continues to anchor me. Being back in that place where I spent years concentrating on myself, I was reminded of how I’ve been neglecting myself lately; instead of thinking about how to better myself and my situation, I’ve been distracted with The News. I chose to put myself on hold as I attempted to brace the walls of my family for potential cracks resulting from this crisis. But this only resulted in cracks in my life to the point where I need to rebuild some parts.
I walked back to my car last night haunted by echoes of my memories, emotions I had put away like an old college sweatshirt. I drove away happier than I’ve been in a long time and inspired by that happiness to aspire to live a life filled with living moments, pockets of time that whisper significance to the patchwork of existence.
I realize vacation week is coming to an end. Monday means back to the daily grind, spending the good part of the day working, then doing errands after work, coming home to cook dinner, and attempting to squeeze in some writing before I finally have to shut down my computer because I am just too tired.
The question I will ask students when I see them is what they did over vacation. They were asked what they were going to do over vacation the last time I saw them, and most of them had exciting activities planned. When they asked me, I answered, “Sleeping in.”
They were confused by my response. To them, vacation is a time for adventure. To me, however, vacation is about relaxing, recharging through doing the things I normally don’t have time to do. Sleeping in, reading a book, and writing have been the highlights of my vacation so far.
Some might think my vacation is boring. To me, my vacation is awesome.
For that reason, when I made the decision to share my experiences in the aftermath of The News (my dad losing his job), I thought I would post as I always do, thinking that, in a way, my posts would be anonymous because I’m just one of many millions(?) of bloggers out there on the web.
What I didn’t expect was for one of my friends to come across my postings. Mainly because most of my friends don’t really know that I’m a blogger.
So when I received a text message from my friend who was very concerned about what had happened, I was taken back. A part of me said, “Crap! She knows! She KNOWS!” More than that, I was relieved. “She KNOWS!” And by her knowing, it helps because I know she’s there for me, and I can talk to her.