Thursday, October 20, 2011

Insights.

Trust

Today I made a big decision. I moved without clearing it with the world. I made a life changing, game-deciding choice. That choice was to be true to myself. I suppose I had never looked at myself and ask what I wanted. I have always looked outward. I aim to please. I do not always succeed, which makes life challenging.

I went to a challenging high school, one where academics were supreme. I was raised in a home
where education was valued. All of these things are motivational and orient the student for success.
Internalizing the value of grades to determine the value of self is unfortunate, but common. In college, I found myself in a familiar environment. The college I chose, however, did not reflect my focus on academia. Something was different; it focused on something more. Regardless, I chose to study hard, become incredibly stressed, not focus my energy on relationships, and instead, lead an unhealthy lifestyle, both emotionally and mentally. Sports were a rescuing outlet. I found myself graduating from college engaged, to someone who took the time to understand and then unwind me. He had plenty of patience. He had immense love. And I had secrets.


Secrets of not being able to love myself. Secrets that kept me from smiling all the way. Secrets that kept me from happiness because I could not measure up to an immeasurable standard.

I had never lived for anything but the grade, the job, the promotion, the expectation. After 3 years of
blissful marriage, something is changing.

Feeling as though I was not achieving my potential, I determined that I was to apply for PA school. I was excited, dreaming about the increase in income, the prestige, and the notoriety that I would receive for again accomplishing another goal-oriented task, related to academia. Did making this decision make me happy? Why would I stop to ask?


He had seen me through school when we were first married, taking 25 credits per semester. I did not stop to eat, sleep, use the restroom, exercise, or hang out with friends. Over the 3 semesters that I was in school, he lessened my abrasive studying ethic and helped me to unwind. My overall scores in classes dropped only 2%. This was tangible. I could feel a difference. I could see a difference. People looked at me differently. Happiness was again starting to squeak through the tiny holes in my fa├žade of academia. Graduation occurred, a job procured. What a joy to just work and then come home! At first. Then, it got hard. But, I learned how to fill my time with hobbies, which I had never been able to do before. I learned about cooking, baking, sewing, crafting. I learned about friends, photography, and balance. For the first time, I did not feel guilty for having fun. Relief. Love of self.


Years passed. Two. Back to school – taking prerequisites for PA school. I had been here before, before we were married. The Lord had given instruction for me to peruse another course of interest. But now, years later, things must be different! I had learned so much in my last program – surely this was the knowledge that I needed to help me in PA school this time around. I signed up for courses. Bought notebooks, textbooks, new pencils and pens. Found the messenger bag, and packed myself around the campus when I wasn't working. Filled with the joy of learning, I shot off into the first chapter. And all was well.


Subtly, a gloom crept into my world. Starting on the outer edges, I could see it only faintly in the
periphery. Days passed, and I grew to match this gloom. Overwhelmed; anxious once again about not
being perfect. Loathe of self.

He could see me slipping. He knew to interfere would be fruitless. I had to make the decision. I called
my dad and worked through a series of interfering thoughts that kept me bound in fear. Fear of
disappointing others. Fear of being seen as less than __. If I did not accomplish this goal, I would be
worthless, in my own eyes.

My dad brought me back to reality. Helped me to remember my priorities. I found peace in that
moment. That night, He and I went for a drive and I revealed to him my decision and asked if he could and would support me in it. He sighs. A giant sigh of relief. He had been waiting for me, patiently. We felt combined, whole, united. Again on the same page. No more PA school.


A glimmer of happiness pushed a piece of the gloom on the periphery off the edge. Gloom knew the tide was changing.


A few more days went by. I needed ice – my teacher had changed the syllabus without giving notice and a new chapter had been added to our exam and cold caffeine was the only way I was going to get through the night. Called a friend, who has known us since we were first married. I ran over, she asked about the stress, I explained briefly, and then she offered to bring dinner the following evening. Dinner? Why? One look, not given purposefully by her, gave me the final clue. She remembered. She remembered.


I remembered.


I went home, studied, and within 4 hours, I realized again what needed to be done. He came home.
Brought dinner since I had not taken time to eat since lunch. 9-10 hours. See the pattern? I chatted with him about the craziness of the night and we laughed. Then, he and I began to earnestly talk as the lights were put out around the house. The lamp above the bed gave a rosy and calming illumination to the room. Blankets wrapped around us; anxiety and fear gave way to tranquility and calm peace.

“Do you think I should drop this class?” I asked, anxious a little. I explained my doubts in myself and my future. “What will the children think? So and so has a MS degree and I…”

“Only have 2 degrees and you’re brilliant,” He said.


My gloom gave a shudder…struggling to hold on.


“Do you think you would be happier?” He asked, concerned that I would not see the pattern repeating.

“I know I would be happier. But what would I tell other people? I would feel ashamed, but I know that I need to do something different.”


Feeling encouraged, I explained that I knew I could make the choice and stand by it. I felt that my
priorities were changing. I wanted to work to support my family and have a happy countenance. I knew myself well enough to know that being in school with my current mental attitude would undo all of the progress that I had made within the past year and a half. Gone would be the love of self. Gone would be the happiness of creating something from scratch. Gone would be the ability to support as well as I could someone who deserved all of that support.


If I continued with this class, I would undo all of my progress:

Academic progress < personal progress.

Personal progress > academic progress.

Simple equation, harsh reality, over T.

T = time.


Time remembered gave me the strength to overcome my biggest battle yet – the war I was at with
myself.


Sleep took us. Morning woke us.


I woke up, overjoyed. Just happy. Simply happy. No reason at the break of my dawn, just happiness. As I awoke more fully, I felt the gloom slip past the borders of my periphery. The sunbeams of happiness dashed the dreadful dream to pieces. I was at peace with myself.


Never before had I made this type of decision and been so rewarded.


I wanted to tell everyone! Shouting at early morning hours will surely not bring joy to others, and as
much as I have changed, I still aim to please a little.

I called the institution of higher education, explained my plan. Called Tyler, and as I sat at the computer, with the cursor hovering over the “Drop Class” button, I asked, in a pleading tone, “Will you give me the go ahead?”

“I give you full permission. Ready, set, Go!” He cried.

On ‘go,’ I gave the button a mighty click.

Victory was mine.

___________________________________________________________________________________

I wrote this just a week or so ago. 

I'm still trying to hide in my apartment...

Not really, but you know what I mean.

I find a lot of happiness in doing what I know is right for me. 


I love watching people decide to go back to school,

I love watching them conquer the difficult tasks. 

Most of all, I love watching people follow their dreams.


I'm finally learning to follow mine.

9 comments:

jalene said...

Wow. Krista! I had no idea. This made me happy to read this! I want you to be happy. :)

Kelsie said...

So so proud of you Krista! You are pretty much amazing [[and brilliant]].

Hikari said...

Love this. *hug :)

Um... what are you doing in the evenings these days? Want to play next week??

simplybecky said...

Life has a way of not measuring up with our plans, but still turning out more amazing than we could ever possibly plan if we just let it, doesn't it? I loved reading this and I'm happy your decision makes you happy :)

Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Aaron, Whitney, and Jade said...

Krista, I have decided your future for you. You should be a writer. A real, professional writer. Reading your writing changes my thoughts, my life even. Seriously. You need to do this. No pressure...you do NOT need to do this to please me, or anyone else :) I'm just saying...you're really good. Seriously one of the coolest girls I know. Thank you.

MacMui Mom said...

Yeah for great dads and great husbands! I think this was a wise decision. Kids will just love that you spend time with them! My mom went back to school and it was rough. You're the best!! Mia sends her love and hugs too.

missriss said...

I loved reading this. You are great to blog stalk. Maybe one day I'll be more like you. :)
It is so good that you know what would make you happy. That is the main part of the battle.
Would you mind living my life for me?
Or you could move to England and be my friend? No? okay. :)

Michelle 2021 said...

Krista, you are brave. You are smart enough and good enough to do what needs to be done. I'm so happy you're my friend, and I love you.