Life Update – Spring 2018

How do I even start off a blog post anymore? Idk tbh.

I’ve been pretty MIA on this site for a little while now and I thought that deserved some explanation.

2018 didn’t really start all that well for me, or my family really, as my grandma passed away in early January. I haven’t really talked about it with anybody because it just doesn’t feel real sometimes. We knew that she was sick, and we knew that she didn’t have much time left. It was nice to be able to say goodbye, but watching death suck the life out of somebody that you love so dearly is one of the most heartbreaking things to ever witness.

My grandma passed a little less than a week before my spring semester of junior year started. The days after her passing, I was incredibly depressed — it felt as if the numbness in my heart was being squeezed out of me and the numbness traveled throughout my body, immobilizing me. It felt wrong to sleep in a world where my grandma no longer lived. The only part of me that was able to move were my eyes, so red and raw from tears, drooping heavily but not enough to let me sleep.

So I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the pain of her death negatively affect me that semester. It was so hard to jump back into school, meeting new professors, each of them asking what fun things we did over break, unbeknownst to them that I just lost somebody that meant so much to me. Being back at school also meant that I wasn’t in the same town as my family, and sometimes that meant that I could pretend that was all a dream and my family would still be intact when I went home for break. Of course I knew that wasn’t true, so I tried to not think about it often.

I was doing alright in my academics, but I didn’t have a lot of motivation. I know my grandma would want me to do well, and I tried to channel all of the pain from her death into bettering myself over the semester, but I just couldn’t find it in me to do it. I felt so drained and burnt out.

And then, about a month into the semester, the shooting happened at MSD in Florida. I don’t know anybody there, I’ve never heard of Parkland, I have literally zero connection to any of that shooting, but it affected me so much. I’ve always been incredibly paranoid and anxious about shootings, but for some reason, this one hit me in the gut and fueled the flame of fear in me. Every time I slung my backpack over my shoulders to go to class, I thought about what class I was going to, where I sat, where the windows where, where a shooter would enter, how far away from the door I sat, where the shooter would come in at, where I would be visible to a shooter from, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was having panic attacks, but I was able to psych myself out so much that most days I ended up not going to class in fear for my life.

Now don’t get me wrong, the University of Iowa is a great place. I love going to school there. But I couldn’t help but think about how open our campus is, and how easy it would be for somebody to bring a gun in, and how devastating it could be. I stopped going to one class in particular, mostly because I sat near the door that had a full sized window in clear view of the hallway. I know it’s so stupid and I could have just sat somewhere else, but everything about that classroom gave me the heebie jeebies. I didn’t feel safe anymore. When I did make it to class, I was always facing towards the door, flinching any time walked by outside, barely paying a lick of attention in class. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to in that class, and my teacher started noticing. I didn’t feel like it was valid to explain any of this so I just stayed silent.

So, those are both things I’m working on: processing the death of my grandma and feeling safe in school again.

Going back to the topic of school, as I mentioned before, I have been so burnt out from it. I was unpacking some boxes at my mom’s new house, and I found a lot of old knick knacks and pictures from elementary/middle school. I used to love school. I loved learning. I still do (sometimes). But I was also a person outside of school. I had hobbies and things that I liked to do and routines that I used to do. And I asked myself, who am I? What changed since then? I unpacked a bunch of books and thought about the days that I used to read for fun! I used to check out 3-4 books at a time from the library every few weeks back in high school, and now I can’t really remember the last time I really read a book just for pleasure. When I’m at school, I basically just do my schoolwork, and then go home and watch Netflix.

So I guess you could say I’ve been struggling with my self-identity this year as well. If you ask me who I am, I would probably spew off things that I used to like. I don’t really know who I am anymore. So, there’s another goal of mine: rediscover myself.

So, bear with me while I embark on a summer that I hope will change things. I want to get back into the swing of things, and find my passions again. I love music, and always will, but don’t be surprised if you see some non-music related things on here.

 

One thought on “Life Update – Spring 2018

  1. Russell Moulton says:

    To my daughter, Jen. As I read this, I flashed back to my junior year in college. One of my Fraternity brothers died in a bicycle accident that year. This was somebody I hung out with, joked with, and had many deep conversations with. It made me question a lot about life and who I was. That year I began doubting myself a lot and I felt lost and alone. Your grandparents and one of your aunts lived 1500 miles away from me; your uncle lived 2000 miles away from me and your other aunt lived in Germany. Talk about feeling alone! As I opened up about my depressed feelings with some of my Fraternity brothers I found out I wasn’t alone. Many of the guys who I thought were “all that” experienced the same feelings and self-doubt I did. That didn’t make my pain go away but it opened up my eyes and allowed me to be vulnerable (at great risk of being ridiculed) by expressing myself to people. You aren’t alone young lady; your circumstances may be unique but you are smack dab in the middle of finding out who you are and who you want to be. Sharing your thought on this blog is a bold step in the right direction. Write away, I say!! I might have told you this once or twice or a thousand times before, but it bears repeating; You are Beautiful; You are Smart; and You are going to do Great Things in this World. I feel your sorrow and I hope a few kind words from a dad who loves you dearly will help ease the pain.

    Like

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