Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's not the destination, but the journey, that matters

I'm often told that the destination is not the important part of life, and so I should enjoy the journey and make it my own. This journey has been such a roller coaster, covered in fog. I've gone through a lot of ups and downs with unexpected twists and turns. The spring of 2014 brings a big moment in my life. To most people, it would be nothing, hardly a blip on their radar, but for me it's a big deal. Because of this, I have done quite a bit of reflecting on the subject over the last few days.

A year ago this week I was moved back home, from South Carolina, after my engagement fell apart.

Let me start from what I would consider the beginning of this journey:

Roughly three years ago, I was biting my nails, worrying that I wouldn't get into what I thought was my dream school. Itching just to get that letter of acceptance. Checking my email and the mail every day for a sign that OSU had said "yes, you can continue the family tradition" and let me be the buckeye I desperately wanted to be. When it finally came, the sigh of relief brought me to tears. I didn't think I had what it took, but as it turned out, OSU was willing to take a gamble on me.

I flip flopped between absolute terror and pure joy all summer. I was desperately scared that I had made the wrong decision, that it hadn't been truly my decision to go to Ohio State. Rather, it was a decision made for me at birth, and I simply ran with it.

Then I got to campus.

What a dream I was living.

I was making friends with my roommates, albeit by changing who I was to fit all 9 of their personalities. I partied hard once, and decided that 20 something beers, and a blacked out, stumbling, drunk walk home in 4 inch heels from the frat house on greek lane to my tower on the opposite side of campus was an experience a person should only have once in their lifetime.

A few weeks later I got to see a friend of mine who I had been crushing on for ages. And by "crushing on for ages" I'm talking something along the lines of 14 years of head over heels loving this man. About a week after that we said, "fuck it" and decided to give a real relationship a try. There was a catch though, he was 10 hours away, and I was without a car. We seemed to make it work.

I was doing the typical college student thing, staying up far too late, deciding not to go to class, and putting off any and all homework until the last possible second. I was drumming it up in The Ohio State University Athletic Band, learning the same cadences as The Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL - pronounced tuh-biddle by most of us) and playing them at Basketball, Volleyball and Hockey games.

Then grades came back.


Time to reevaluate how things were going to go. Second quarter was more of the same, and by the time I reached my third quarter at Ohio State, I was dropping my course load to the bare minimum for my financial aid, and was still struggling through everything. So I left.

Meanwhile, in the middle of my failing my classes, my relationship was failing too. I had been asked to marry him in November, going as far as to have my finger sized so that he could design my ring - we used the Claddagh he bought me as a substitute in the meantime. But things were going sour. We couldn't stop fighting until we saw each other, but 10 hour drives are tough, and we'd think things were fixed, before returning to our respective homes and the fights would begin once again.

So I moved to South Carolina to be with him.

I moved in exactly a week before his birthday, and on his birthday, proposed to him. Using 10 Blue Ring Pops - having no better substitute for an actual ring. Even still, those first few months were rough. We really got at each other, but eventually it just got better. I got my job at petsmart and things were looking up.

Until we were transferred.

Until he bought that house.

I still blame that damn house for a lot of our problems. His company decided we were needed elsewhere, and through many stressful miscommunications, we wound up in a house at the border of South Carolina and Georgia.

The fighting restarted, and got worse.

And worse.

And worse.

Then I came home from work one day and he was sitting on the couch, as I walked in the door, he turned to look at me with the most hurt look I had seen. Three to four hours of screaming later, we decided to end it, and to finish unpacking our stuff so I could repack my stuff and throw it back on a moving truck.

My first few months home were a nightmare. Plagued by mental disorders I didn't understand, seeing more therapists and doctors that I cared to ever see in a lifetime, battling the desperation to be back where I was in South Carolina. I didn't think I would last the summer. I wanted to stop breathing, because every breath was painful. To stop my heart from beating because every time it did, another broken piece fell off.

I even thought I'd never dance again. He was the one who taught me, and I was afraid I'd never get over that fact. I was afraid he would haunt my every dance, and dance relationship. But determined not to let him ruin something else I loved, I went to a dance in Cleveland.

Shaky, nervous, almost entirely without friends in that area, and not having danced in a year, I was in no shape to be showing off anything special, but I still had fun. And my love for dancing was renewed. (I'll probably make another post at some point about how much I love the swing community)

Life was still unkind, and I continued to have many many months of hard times. Emotionally, physically, academically, and professionally.

But since then, I have found an incredible passion in my Blues dancing, and drastically improved my Lindy Hop. I even get to spread that passion with others now! I've learned how to control the majority of one of my mental disorders, while learning how to cope with the other one. I gotten over my desperation, and found a job that I enjoy. I'm succeeding in classes, and even finding the ones that failed me last time around easier to bear, to the point of liking them in some cases! I've not changed my major, but have changed my career path, and am much happier with the decision.

For once, I don't feel like a foreigner in my own skin. My confidence level in myself and my abilities has sky rocketed, and I actually feel happy in general.

My roller coaster is obviously far from over, but this spring marks an awesome time in my life. I have gone through a few kinds of hell in the past 3 years, but I haven't let it stop me. I've picked myself up, dusted myself off, and carried on.

Everyone who has ever used that cliche on me was absolutely right, it's never the destination that you should be paying attention to, but the journey to that destination that really matters. If you think life sucks now, that you've hit bottom, and things just continuously look dark. Please, please remember that it is always, ALWAYS darkest, just before the dawn.