"Lonely is a freedom that breathes easy"
I always have great ideas for blog entries at like 01:00 when I’m lying comfortably in bed and just on the cusp of sleep. I’m always so much funnier when I’m approaching dream-land than when I’m wide awake, oatmeal stuck to my ribs, and trying to decide which shoes are appropriate for the weather of the moment.
The past few days were sort of difficult. I’ve started watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (clearly I am in need of serious procrastination material if I’ve gotten over my Meredith grudge), and there was an episode that really struck me: A doctor, who had Asperger syndrome and didn’t like being touched had a massive freak out and the only way to calm her down was to hug her. She used some fancy medical jargon to explain why the body’s nervous system reacts to pressure, something about suppressing the nerves, blah blah blah. And something about that episode, that moment, made me realize how incredibly lonely I was.
I’m not a lonely person by nature. I like being with people and actively seek out companionship when I need it, but I also really appreciate sitting at home watching TV, reading a book, or cooking for one. Sometimes I need to be alone.
But I think watching that episode, I realized how I’ve been completely alone for almost two months. Obviously I see people and engage in conversation, friends and classmates and people on the bus and Starbucks employees who upsize my latte for free because they’re out of pumpkin spice flavouring. But these people aren’t familiar, comfortable, a part of my every day, and I haven’t had a prolonged interaction with anyone since September. I haven’t had human contact with a familiar, everyday person, in a long time.
I went to church in North Vancouver on Sunday, and when I saw my friend Jen and she hugged me, I almost cried. I’m not an overly affectionate person, but sometimes it’s just really nice to be hugged.
Luckily, friends are there when you need them most. On Sunday evening, I met with three friends who had all worked at MUN's Writing Centre and who've all ended up in Vancouver this fall. It was nice to be with familiar school friends, people who know the profs and other coworkers you're talking about, who've gone through the same program and work experience as you. People who know your history. I spent Tuesday evening with my fellow displaced Newfies, Jen and Shane. I went to Jen’s house where we cooked supper (with real utensils and real garlic and in a real house). Spending the evening in a home, as opposed to a residence, with friends who knew friends from home, and who could relate to everything I was feeling about being alone in a new, big city was exactly what I needed to feel rejuvenated. Plus Shane might be a bigger Gleek than me, and we had a grand time enjoying the Rocky Horror Glee show while Jen mocked our love of Britney and Sue.
I also have been a terrible student since this whole program began. I had an assignment due on Wednesday evening that I completely forgot, or didn’t even know I had to do in the first place. Luckily a classmate texted me to remind me, and luckily I already had some research done that I could quickly pull together, and luckily it’s not a massive deal, but the whole situation freaked me out about my even being in grad school.
Another classmate and I were talking during our class’ break, and I just told her everything I was feeling about grad school - how I feel like I’m sick of school and still not recovered from the burnout of 5 years in my undergrad; how I’m the youngest person in the entire school of library studies, which makes me feel like I have no life experience and thus missing out on some vital part of grad school; how I’m so unmotivated and uninspired; how I feel like my comments in classes are annoying and unhelpful; how I feel like I have no idea what’s going on most of the time.
She assured me that everyone feels lost and confused with school, that my comments are not useless, and that its normal to feel burnt out. She admitted that she also feels unmotivated sometimes, and that life experience isn’t all its cracked up to be. Talking to her really helped, but more than anything, it was nice to be able to voice all of this pent-up fear I’ve been feeling increasingly since September, and know that I wasn’t alone.
A friend sent me this video, and I think it's beautiful.