Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall 2009 semester, two years later

Those who know me even remotely well know that I have a pretty astounding memory for numbers, especially dates. I don't know why this is, exactly, but it usually comes in handy. Like on people's birthdays, for example.

There's a downside to this, however. And that's that I remember bad things, too.

For the past couple of years, October's been rough. This is because in October of 2009, I was going through a really hard time. But I'm not going to get into the details, because it's been done before.

Thanks to my memory for dates, I spent October of 2010 replaying everything that had happened a year prior in my head. It sucked. I woke up on October 1 of this year and started to do that, but decided that I just couldn't waste a whole month on that again.

So I've decided to write down everything that happened that month, sans anything negative.

And I've come up with quite a bit. :)

As background, I'll say this. I was twenty years old and in my third year of school at SVSU. I was majoring in creative writing, and working as the editor-in-chief of the campus art/literary magazine.

Friday, October 2: I drunkenly stumble into a Saginaw coffee shop and loudly declare (to friends of mine who are gathered there for a poetry reading) that I'm a lesbian (which, at this point, is something that very few people know). My ex-boyfriend's mom (of all people) drags me out of the coffee shop, puts me in her car, and takes me to her house, where I run into my ex-boyfriend. Because I'm classy, I throw up all over myself. And because he is a saint, he washes my puke-covered clothes for me.

Monday, October 5: My friend says to me, "You know how you bite your nails when you're stressed out? Well, I couldn't help but notice that all ten of your fingers are bleeding."

I see that my friend is right; I am stressed out. So that night when I get home, I decide to dye my hair bright green. It turns an awful chlorine-shade of yellowish green instead.

Wednesday, October 7: The Director of Media Relations (otherwise known as the guy who interviewed me for my editorship) runs into me at Starbucks on campus, takes a close look at my head, and says, "But according to your Facebook status, it's supposed to be green. This doesn't look very green to me."

I shudder and tell myself to be more careful about who sees what I post on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 14: I run into an English instructor who tells me that I look stressed out, so should come to her office for chocolate sometime.

Thursday, October 15: I show up in aforementioned instructor's office for chocolate and a pep talk. I end up doing this several times throughout the semester.

Friday, October 16: I'm eating pancakes at my friend's apartment when her roommate says that she wants to be an atheist for Halloween because atheists are scary. So I look her in the eye and say, "Boo."

Saturday, October 17: The same friend who invited me over for pancakes the day before comes to my apartment to cook me dinner and bring me a bottle of Witches Brew. I tell her that I think I want to change my major. She looks surprised and says, "Never saw that coming. The next thing you know, Travis [our extremely responsible, conservative, predictable friend] will come rolling in on a motorcycle and tell us that he's joining a commune."

Sunday, October 18: I post the following Facebook status: "Amelia is having that crisis she assumes everyone has at some point in their lives. You know, the one that goes, 'Oh no! I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life, but it's too late to change things!'"

A friend comments with, "Dude, you are TWENTY."

So I take a chill pill.

Tuesday, October 20: After class, I head over to my friend's apartment. Her sister works as a hair dresser, and has offered to give me a free haircut. While I'm waiting for her to show up, I check my email, and receive a really upsetting message. So I spend half an hour lying on my friend's lawn, sobbing. She takes a picture of me, which, to this day, pops up on her cell phone every time I call.

Saturday, October 24: I plan to spend the day in my office, laying pages for the semester's issue of the art/literary magazine. Because Starbucks is closed on the weekends, I bring my coffee maker with me to the office. I am absolutely certain that this is the best idea I have ever had. When my roommate wakes up an hour or so after I leave and discovers that the coffee maker is missing, she is not pleased with me.

Monday, October 26: After a day of classes, I walk out to my car and find a note tucked under my windshield from a friend who senses that I need a bit of encouragement. This makes my whole month.


People took such good care of me. I forgave the friend who took a picture of me having a meltdown on her lawn because she's also the one who invited me over for breakfast and then invited herself over to my apartment the next day to cook me dinner. Plus, she's the one who made the comment about my bloody fingers. And she frequently refused to hang out with me because she was worried that I wasn't getting enough sleep.

And they let me cry. I didn't mention that every afternoon, I called my mom from the backseat of my car, where I'd sit between classes and cry. One afternoon, I called her at the same time I always did, but for whatever reason, was in an uncharacteristically good mood. I was surprised by how exhausted she sounded when she answered, like she was bracing herself for another meltdown of mine.

She could have ignored the call, but she didn't. She always picked up, always listened.

So many people did that (see above). So maybe I should stop thinking of it as the worst time of my life.

I'm not going to look back at that time and beat myself up for being an ungrateful brat. I was far from ungrateful, and I do think that I had every right to be as angry/confused/depressed/frustrated as I was. But I am, from this point forward, going to try to focus more on the lovers than the haters. That's the mistake I made then. Instead of ignoring the people who were trying to bring me down, I spent my time trying to please them. I should have known that I wasn't going to win that battle. Instead of spending what little energy I had crying, maybe I should have focused on the areas where I knew I could succeed.

I can't go back in time, but at the very least I can say that that's what I'm doing now.

People have noticed that I've fully embraced a "Haters gonna hate" philosophy. I guess they assume that I did it because the cartoon guy who struts around saying it is totally adorable. But the real reason is that I learn everything the hard way.

Which is better than not at all, I suppose. :)

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