Monday, February 2, 2015

Planting new Seeds

I remember my last semester at Ryerson and the stress I experienced. The final papers. The final exams. The pressure (mostly self-imposed) to complete and pass all my courses so I could earn my degree. It was weeks and weeks of high anxiety. I recall I gained about 10 lbs. and even started smoking cigarettes after having quit for 6 years. I took up drinking Scotch at the bar at Oakham House next door to the Journalism building. I did not even like Scotch but it seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, what journalist worth their weight did not know at least a little something about the varying degrees of peat in a dram of good aged single malt Glenfiddich or Macallan? 

Somehow I managed to get through it. In the end I collected my piece of paper that proved I did the required work, quit smoking again, stopped drinking Scotch, found a real job and as for the 10 lbs., well they stuck around for awhile. No one is perfect. 

Studying and deadlines have never been my forte. There are days when I still find it hard to believe I got through. In fact, I still have a recurring nightmare that I did not get my degree. That I am clamouring to find my way through the hallways of the school, cannot find my locker, have not studied or read any of the course materials and the underlying fear throughout these nocturnal journeys through hell is that I will have to explain to my parents that I did not graduate. That I failed. Failed myself. Failed them. Simply fucking failed. When I wake up from these sweat-inducing dreams, for a brief moment I believe I did not succeed. I screwed up. I blew it. As I come around, open my eyes, shake it off, I am always so relieved to realize it was just a dream.  How is it that I am still plagued with these nightmares 30 years later? What part of me still needs to please mommy and daddy? Do we ever feel we have done enough or been enough in their eyes? Why do we allow our failures (seeming or otherwise) to outweigh our successes in their eyes? As much as I know mine have been proud of my accomplishments, I still fret over their opinions of my downfalls. 

The need to please. That bitch has to go. She simply must because the truth is, she will never be enough. Even in the past when it seemed she may have had their stamp of approval, the problem was that she did not have her own stamp of approval. She was too busy trying to turn herself into something that would make them happy, all the while sacrificing  herself to the cause until the day came when she knew she could not go on with the facade her life had become and it required such a dramatic upheaval of change that it made her anxiety-stricken final term of university seem like a walk in the park compared to what she had to do now.

She is not even sure where she summoned the strength and courage it took to turn her life upside down and venture down an entirely different path. One of uncertainty. And as much as she knows intellectually that nothing is really certain in life, hovering in it for the last four years has been the biggest challenge of her life so far. The question of why is ever present. Why did she have to do it? Why upset the applecart? The apples were all piled up neatly, unbruised, attractive, ready to be eaten and enjoyed but now they are spilled and rolling all over the ground, getting dirty and battered and landing on their sides, or upside down, some getting lost under the cart, some snatched by birds, others gnawed on by rodents, but some actually surviving in tact. 

And it is in those, the intact spilled apples where she is finding her strength. The parts of her that were there all along that have survived the spill. And they are perfect and ripe and juicy and their seeds are healthy and alive and she will devour the fruit as it falls and then plant the seeds and start over again and the fruit she produces will be of her own making and she won't try to squeeze them into a cart again. She will eat them as they ripen and let them land where they may fall as nature intended.

Nothing will be certain. And that will be OK.

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