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I quit! Those words feel amazing to say right now. I quit! I quit! And you're never gonna get me again!
Okay, provocative start? I just had my graduation ceremony (yay!), I'm now officially qualified as a primary school teacher. But while everyone was celebrating, I just didn't feel like it. See, I finished my course work at the end of the year, and while everyone else got to chill out I was busy preparing for my trip during December, doing a mother of an intensive course on teaching English in January, travelling in February and diving back into intensively mind-sucking study from March onwards. Then along comes the grad ceremony in April and I'm left just going 'but, but... I'm not done yet, I'm still going, so how can I celebrate if I still haven't finished?...'. And so I attended, dressed up, snapped some photos, and...
... and went home to keep studying that evening.
Isn't it funny though that we can get so used to a situation, and still expect it, if it just piles on softly and gradually? I heard someone say that if you take a frog and put it in a bowl of hot water it just hops out. But if you put it into cold water that gradually heats up then it stays in, nice and happy, until it eventually boils to death.
Well, like every year, my church has a super awesome week-long conference called Presence somewhere around Easter-time. It finished on April 14 this year, a few days before the grad ceremony on the 19th. See, it took me until after the 19th to come off my conference high; I'm Production Assistant for the conference (which basically means team-welfare-guru-slash-messenger-biatch) so it's an intensively busy and all-consuming week for me.
After the 19th reality started kicking in. Along with my course marks which started kicking me everywhere it hurt. It's one thing to keep trying to push past obstacles, it's quite another to work harder than you've ever imagined you could and think you're totally on top of it all, and then get doused with marks like 8/15, 5/15, 7/15. My assignment returned 4/15 which felt like an almighty slam in the gut, particularly since I was struggling through another one at the time I found out.
I started thinking, what's the point? Why try and try so hard when all I ever have to show for naked desire and gut-wrenching heartache is just a slap in the face? That was a long long night. And in the tiny hours of morning I realised I just couldn't take it, I just couldn't handle the emotional/mental battering and drowning that I was so committed to.
I looked up the dates for withdrawal from the course and found out that the last day was in about 10 days, and it was like I could breathe again. Truly!! A couple years ago I'd reached the peak of my struggle with depression and social anxiety disorder (yuck.), and the sheer weight that lifted off me, the way I could breathe again and relax, the way that the distance to my next panic attack moved so much further away, the way that I could actually smile now without being a fraction away from tears, made me realise that while the way I'd fought in my headspace had been so much more damaging in the long-term, this fight was so much more crippling in the now.
I hadn't been eating or sleeping, I hadn't been stopping, I hadn't been able to leave the house without a keen sense of guilt and panic that I'd loose control over my coursework. Forget doing aikido, I couldn't even bear the thought of looking at my gi.
The way I felt so much better now made me realise how bad it had been. Truly. And I never noticed it build this far.
That was on Saturday night about a week and a bit ago. My boyfriend (Russ is my fiancée now, girlies! ) and his mother had invited my to have their spare room (which was wonderful since my headspace needed an emotionally stable place, and we get along so well), so I talked it over with him when he got back from work at around 3.30am. The next day I stopped by home after Sunday night church to chat with my folks, to get their feedback. The consensus was that it'd been far to soon after my degree to do postgrad, and my sheer stubborn energy was the only explanation for how I'd gotten along this far. Sheesh! Thanks for the heads up!
So, no more guilt. No more weight. I knew that God had told me that a relationship with him was the only thing I needed to fuss about, and that this year was supposed to be my gift year, but I guess I just needed to crash and burn somewhat seriously to snap out of my tunnel vision. Now all I've got on my timetable is my city job, tutoring students who've been going through what I have and teaching fire-fighting during the day, and as much aikido, church and rock-climbing as I'd like during the evening.
It's such a sweet gift to be alive.
So I've come back to aikido, to the mat where I belong. It's been two months since I've trained properly, what with my various long-term injuries and this mess inside my head. I trained on Tuesday night and felt so lost with what we were doing. And overwhelmed with how much my brothers there expected from me. Funny thing; the things that I expect from myself I need to work and strain for. The things other people expect from me are things that I feel a calm acceptance towards, and a peace about where I am in the learning process. I actually really like the feeling of not having a clue when it comes to aikido; life becomes simple because all I need to have in my head as a mantra is 'Try. Just try. All you can do is try.' And that's it.