Tag Archives: College

Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Advertisements

Unseen.

Quietly, I shut the door behind me, the light disappearing as it closed. Silently, I slipped up the steps, hoping this was okay. I had ignored the “authorized personnel only” sign on the door. No one saw me enter and once I was in the balcony, no one below had reason to turn around. I was safe.

One empty chair was there. I grabbed it and began to roll it closer to his, which drew his attention for the first time. Surprise lit his face as he said hello. In typical fashion, he reached for my hand and shook it, doing some handshake I had never been able to catch on to. Then he pulled me closer for a hug and told me it was good to see me. It was good to see him too.

“We’ve missed you.”

I just smiled.

If he had said, “I’ve missed you,” I would have been able to respond that I missed him too. That I wish I could see him more. But he said “we” and I didn’t know who “we” was and I couldn’t say anything polite back while still being truthful. So I just smiled.

If I missed the “we” I assume he was talking about, I wouldn’t have had to sneak up to this vantage point. I could have walked in like a normal person and sat on the ground level in the chairs with all the normal people. But I knew they would be among the normal people, and so I couldn’t.

He was the only one of them I felt comfortable around. The one who had treated me kindly. More than that. He treated me like I had value. He saw beyond what he could get from me and saw into who I was. And not only did he see that, but he accepted that. He accepted me for who I was. He still does. And I can smile and laugh and talk with him without faking everything. He saw me in a world where I had been glanced over. A world in which, if I was seen, it was only to look briefly down on me, as if I was some annoyance to remove. Not worth the time they were forced to devote to me.

Before the show had ended, I felt the need to get out before anyone saw me. I leaned over and whispered that I had to go and he hugged me again. I told him it was good to see him and he told me it was good to see me too. He said, “Come back again” and without thinking, I replied with a simple, “I will.”

And maybe I will. But only when it’s safe. And when there are a couple of people wondering around him that are not safe, I can’t make any guarantees.

I slipped back down the stairs and out the door. Through the lobby, quickly, without even a glance around and made my way outside. As I made it through the double doors unseen, the fresh air hit me and I took a few steps before my air threatened to leave me. I stood still, trying to breathe, a relief at being out running through me and pulling tears to my eyes. I stood for a good moment like that, trying to not let sadness and hurt and disappointment and death and sweet relief overwhelm me.

They sure did do a number on me, didn’t they?

Remember the entry where I wrote about having to leave good things behind when you left bad things? He’s one of the good things. And it sucks having to leave those good things behind.

But I can’t face the bad things.

-Melissa

Excuses.

I was trying to think of how to explain why I was 24 minutes late in turning in my paper. The prof I was trying to turn it in to is one of the most gracious people I know so he probably would have accepted any excuse. But I literally couldn’t write one.

Not that I didn’t have one.

But her words were in my head. Her words. “Results, not excuses.” Pounded into my brain a dozen times, directed at me when I wasn’t the only student in the room. When she called me out by name to say those words.

As if I did something wrong. As if I did something bad. Her unwillingness to hear me explain. Her unwillingness to believe that there could be anything valid for me not doing something perfectly. For me not understanding something.

As if I needed more guilt.

And tears filled my eyes and all I could think was: Shit. She got in my head.

So I said I was sorry for turning in the paper 24 minutes late. I said I would explain, but I’d been taught not to. And then I gave him the paper.

I have no idea why this hurts.

-Melissa

Bitter.

I’m in the middle of writing a five page paper that I really don’t want to  write. And not just because I don’t want to write it and homework is stupid and all of that. I don’t want to write it because it’s been causing tears to swell in my eyes for the past two hours.

Maybe that sounds ridiculous. It probably is. But I’m having to write about an experience I’ve had for the past semester. It’s not that it’s bad. Not really.

It just makes me sad. I’m so disappointed. And I’m frustrated. I’m just so frustrated. Because this paper wants me to write about what I’ve learned and I’m sitting here typing up all of the things I’ve learned that aren’t important to me. That aren’t hard. That don’t make a bit of difference. That I could have learned on my own without this experience.

And maybe it’s good for me. Maybe it’s good to have my patience tested like this. Maybe it’s good to do work that is so boring I feel like my brain will fall out. Maybe it’s good. It will strengthen my endurance. It will give me more experience to know where other people are coming from. It will open my eyes to all the behind the scenes work that no one ever sees.

But maybe… maybe it will make me bitter. Maybe it will make me hate where I am and cause me to hate what I’m learning. Maybe it will keep me from learning things that would be of so much more value to me. Things that I would find relevant to life and to the work I hope to accomplish someday. And that’s what really scares me.

So what have I learned from this experience? Nothing I couldn’t have learned, and would have learned elsewhere. What did I gain? A longing for what I don’t have, yet a forced self-imposed, forced acceptance for what I do. What are the positives of my experience? I’m made to exercise patience I don’t have.  The negatives? This isn’t what I want. And I’m so bored. And I’m missing out consistently on all of the opportunities my peers are given.

Also, clearly I can answer his questions in a paragraph. I have no idea why he’s requiring a five page length.

-Melissa

Space.

I have no motivation. To do anything. I sat down and worked all day yesterday and, you know what? I don’t think I got anything done. I also… I don’t know if I have anything to do. I have a ton of reading to do but I just can’t get myself to do it. I started reading one of my main text books and then realized my teacher would teach all of this…Why would I read it when I know I won’t retain it?

No worries, I’ll try again in a few minutes.

After this past week, I think I’m just bothered by busyness. I feel a bit thrown off just because my schedule was really weird this week. But also because I still feel like I’m not used to my schedule this semester, which is also weird. Maybe it’s just because this semester is so different from all of my past ones.

Last weekend was great. I literally just did homework for two days. And I remember thinking that being by myself for so long gave me the.. space I needed. I felt really good about it. But now I think maybe I just felt good because I got so much accomplished.

I’ve been by myself all of this weekend too but it feels different. As I said, I barely got anything done yesterday, mainly because I don’t understand an assignment I really want to get done. I’m going to meet my teacher about it so I don’t go insane so hopefully that will help. I just… I really want time where I don’t feel like I have to be doing something.

It’s not that I never hang out with my friends or anything. But, when we do hang out, they’re… very active people. Even when we’re together, we’re trying to get things accomplished- usually games. Like, how many games can we play before the night’s over? Which is great! It’s really fun. But… I miss just being with people. With no priorities. With space to just be. And I’m really okay with my new friend group- I actually like them a lot. I just… I guess I just miss familiarity a little bit.

I guess this is what I signed up for so I shouldn’t complain. I just wish there weren’t always deadlines looming somewhere over my head. If it was like that I probably would get really lazy really fast so maybe it’s better that they’re there. And I guess I don’t have to do my reading- no one else seems to. But then I would feel guilty. Plus, it’s hard enough for me to know what’s going on in class.

This is such a bad post. It literally says nothing and it portrays that I’m in a bad mood, which I’m not at all. I’m just putting off homework. So I’m sorry about that. But also, thanks for reading all the way to this point. That was very good of you.

Hope you have a good day. Ignore your deadlines for a while. Someone has to.

-Melissa

Too.

I sat quietly, trying to read one of the thousands of pages I’d been assigned. Unfortunately, my mind wasn’t anywhere near the book I held in front of me.

I replayed the moments in my mind. Not the good moments, though I had many of those to choose from. Just the awkward ones. Just ones where the silence lasted a touch too long. Just the ones that didn’t go perfectly, that made me question every single thing either of you had ever said to me. And my mind worries over every single second.

Because what if one of those seconds made you realize I’m not as great as you’ve somehow made me out to be? What if one of those moments caused you to wonder why you had bothered to come? What if you realized how uninteresting I was and got bored? What if you suddenly became aware of the fact that I am a horrible conversationalist? What if you came to terms with understanding that you had an idealized version of me in your head?

And I know none of those things are true.

Maybe it’s because I can’t read either of you very well. Or I think I can’t. Or maybe it’s because I… well, I honestly think you’re really cool so I can’t imagine you actually wanting to be my friends.

I do realize that this is not fair to you. I know that. I know that you, if I said these things to you, would argue relentlessly. I know. I am aware. I know you’ve proved me wrong countless times by now. And yet I question everything. I wish I could just turn that off.

Wouldn’t that be great? Do you have any idea with how much more comfortable I would be around you? Do you know that I rarely, if ever, fully let my guard down around you because I am so focused on how I’m being perceived? No, you don’t. Because I can’t tell you. Because that would legitimately hurt you, and for good reason. Because I should not be like this. I consider you close friends and yet… I’m afraid it’s too good to be true.

I’m so sorry for that.

-Melissa

Missing you.

Someone asked me the other day how I ever could have been friends with you.

For once, I tried to put myself in his shoes. Really, in their shoes. Because I know he wasn’t the only one. I knew how… hard you could be. I knew, vaguely, how other people saw you.

And I listened as he tried to explain why it never made sense that you and I were friends. How it never made sense to anyone. He said the same about another one of my friends too. Honestly, he doesn’t see much clearly. But I understand what he was saying. I mean… sort of. I understand what he thought he saw.

But that’s just the thing. He didn’t see you. He thought he did.

But he didn’t see the first time you spoke to me. I sat there quietly, just like I always do, and you made conversation with me. You know, I don’t remember the moment I first meet someone. Most of the time, you just wake up one day and you’re friends with someone and you can’t remember the moment it started. But I remember you. Because I could tell you…saw me. Do you know how rarely that happens?

He also didn’t see the time I had to deal with a death surrounded by people I barely knew. You were the only person here that I could tell. He didn’t see the way your face fell when I told you. You had no reason for your face to fall. You didn’t know them. But you let yourself feel my pain.

He thought he saw you. And maybe he did. But it wasn’t the real you. It was the hard you. The you others couldn’t see past. The you people were afraid of. Who pushed people away. Who constantly built up your walls, higher and higher. But he didn’t see that crack in your walls. Just barely big enough to let a grain of sand get through. And I got through.

I just… I didn’t know how many layers of walls there were. Not that that would have changed anything. Okay. Maybe it would have. Because I do hope I would have fought a hell of a lot harder than I did at the end.

What terrifies me now is that I know you’ve pushed me out. And you repaired that crack in that one wall. And your walls got higher. Stronger. And I’m… terrified you won’t let any one else find another crack. I’m afraid you’ve repaired them all so perfectly that no one else will even be able to think about getting through to you. I’m afraid you wake up every morning and take a walk around the wall, a bucket of mortar in your hand, and fill all the cracks, even add another layer of cement where you think it might be weak. And then, when you get a chance, you go out an buy a few more bricks and make the wall thicker and taller. And it’s just this ongoing process where you make sure that no one sees you.

Which… I don’t even think you see you. Actually, I know you don’t. Because you choose to see the you other people see in you.

Ha.

Not me. Other people.

Because you never believed any of what I told you.

Oh, what did I tell him? When he asked why I had ever been friends with you?

I told him he never saw the you that I did. He didn’t see the way you talked to me. The way you cared for me. The way you were literally there for me whenever I needed you. I told him about the time when, at four in the morning, you were begging me to come outside to talk because you knew how badly I felt. Because you knew how much pain I was in and you knew I needed to talk about it.

I told him he didn’t actually see you.

Missing you.

-Melissa