It’s like this whole nother year
There are times when I feel like my whole life is just this rolling ball of a chaotic nervous breakdown, with a valuable supply of momentum. It’s at times like these, when I’m overwhelmed with more-then-full time classes, working janitorial as an independent contractor, and desperately trying to understand my tax documents enough to fill out my FAFSA and the ridiculous amount of financial aid paperwork that Cornell University requires (three years’ worth), that I try and remember amazing blog posts like this one:
But Max has a secret: he skips to the end or slides into home plate at the last minute or wrangles things out of people so that he can get stuff done despite having no executive function to speak of.
This year, I need to get my driver’s license. And I need how to figure out how to do it “my way”. So much thinking and soul-searching goes into figuring out the “How” of things. At this point, I know how to drive. In fact, I’m a better driver than most of the people who give me rides places. I’m just terrified of driving. And I know that the only way to get through it, over it, under it, whatever, is to just DO it and KEEP doing it until I’m not afraid anymore. There’s no way around it, and it’s like lighting myself on fire until i burn to ash, and rise a driver-licensed phoenix from my own ashes. That’s the only way I was ever able to do anything. That’s the only way I was able to leave the house, then to move out on my own, have a job, go back to school, and take care of my own shit.
And sometimes it makes me feel awfully sorry for myself, because everything else is hard, too. It makes me want to reach out for help, to finally say, “Hey! This is just too much for me to handle, trying to understand things on my own. Can I hire someone to explain things to me? To break things down into easily digestible steps?” But I’m afraid of the stigma of being someone who needs help. Filling out ever more paperwork for State Services. It’s scary, and sad. I know the people from the state consider a lifetime bagging groceries a “success story”. And there’s really no reason to expect any of those people to be any more educated or understanding than anyone else I’ve come in contact with so far. I’m trying to shoehorn my poverty-living ass into an Ivy League education, and hopefully move up two tax brackets after finishing school. I honestly don’t know if it’s even possible, but the reality remains: I live an hour’s drive away from the first-choice school, and if I want to live my dream, I have to go through the fire and figure out how to cart my own useless ass to and from classes.
My work as a janitor is a way for me to temporarily exorcise these demons. It fills me with the same sense of accomplishment that a lot of my friends use computer and console games to fulfill. It’s a time for me to DO, not to think. I bag up all the nasty medical trash, all the spitty wads and papers. I know I am ridiculously overqualified for this kind of work. I’ve been offered jobs in management, full-time jobs that might actually allow for me to pay of my current student loan debt. My life as one of the barrel-bottom members of society has taught me how to eat shit with a smile. I could settle for less.
But I won’t. I am capable of living my dream, of doing what I love to do, of turning my Aspergian obsessive interests into a career that pays me well. I’m fully capable of earning my Ph.D and become an amazing professor, probably publish my own research, papers, short stories, novels, and become inhumanly great. I’m gambling not only everything I have on that, but things I don’t even have yet on that. I’m mortgaging my future on the chance that I can actually be what I wanted to be when I was five, when I was ten, when I was twelve. I want to read and write books and then talk and write about them. And to get paid for doing so in order to have things like food and a bed? Priceless.
I want to accept the transformative power of education, harness it, and disseminate it to countless others. I want to get, and I want to give.
I can do this.