Against All Odds

Hey blog people. I know I still owe you a report on my new GI doc, and an awesome interview with a very inspiring awesome girl named Morgan Rutledge, and I need to accept a wonderful blog award, but I just cannot seem to find the time! I have a good reason, though, and hopefully my schedule is about to clear up a LOT.

Today, something is happening that I was honestly never really sure would happen. I am graduating from college.

Well, at least I think I am. Final grades aren’t quite out yet, which makes me extremely paranoid. My whole life could be a lie. But! Let’s just pretend like my life isn’t a lie and PAAAR-TAY!

I gotta say, it is hard to get through school with invisible illness. I know a lot of people can’t, and a lot of people give up. I can totally understand why. I’ve said that this semester my health has become a full time job, and there were many a tear shed in hysterical fits of wanting to give up. Even though it was my last semester, even though I was so close, there were many nights when I cried myself to sleep thinking I would have to drop out and give up.

If I could go back and do it all again, there is one thing I would change: I would have gone to the students with disabilities office and gotten help. I let myself get talked out of it by my doctor, who had the best intentions, but looking back I think it really could have helped me a lot. So to those of you still pursuing education, my one piece of advice is get help when you need it. It’s okay. The more weight you can take off your own shoulders, the better.

I often tell people that the worst day of my life was my orientation at UNT. When I got here, I fell into despair. The film program was rigid and unkind, I was told I wasn’t wanted there, and I was looking at 4 more years (for a total of 6 years) in college. I was sitting in the film orientation and I had a massive panic attack, which set off an endo flare. I dry-swallowed a vicodin (which, if you know me, should show how desperate and panicked I was) and left the orientation. I sat on a bench in the hall crying and sobbing and not caring who saw. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t belong here. I felt like I was standing alone on a beach, staring at a huge tidal wave coming my way. All I had on me was a one person row boat and an oar. I remember imagining myself pushing that boat to the water’s edge, getting in, holding fast to my oar, and staring straight up at that wave. I decided then and there that I would get through college. It may not be the way I wanted, it may not be my degree of choice, but I had to go where the water took me, and try not to drown.

I vowed to make the film school sorry they had pushed me away and told me I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t long before I got a job at CLEAR productions, and instead of paying for an education in film, I was paid to learn. I even got real world experience as a fringe benefit. It couldn’t have turned out better for me.

When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea I was sick. I only applied to one school – USC. I planned to maintain a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, get a degree in film, get famous, get married, and live happily ever after. When USC rejected me, I didn’t know what I would do with my life. I didn’t want to go to college at all. I’ve never really been a good student. I’ve always felt constricted and choked by formal education. I’ve always wanted to go off and do my own thing. I think that marrying my boyfriend and staying in Texas was the only way I could have survived college. Staying close to family and doctors, and never having to live alone are obvious benefits. But there’s the deep darkness of illness that’s so hard to describe, too. I don’t know if I could have navigated that darkness alone in another state. I do know I would not have taken care of myself.

I am so excited to cross that stage and say goodbye to formal education forever. I’m grateful for everything my education has done for me, but it was not easy. And I am ready to bid it adieu. Thank God it’s over!

On to bigger and better things.

Like Hogwarts!

16 thoughts on “Against All Odds

  1. You are such an inspiration! I think everyone has obstacles they have to learn to overcome to accomplish something so great. I know I have. While it’s so easy to give up, hearing how you have pursued your dreams is so inspiring! You really do have such a talent and I hope you continue to share your voice with the world!

    1. Laura – thank you so much for the very kind words. You truly have been so supportive of me, and I don’t think you even know it. Even back in high school, during the tumultuous times of trying to captain a very large group of girls while Mr. Torres got progressively more lazy and absentee, you were one of the few who made me feel like the world wasn’t about to collapse on itself. I suppose it seems like a trivial trial in retrospect, but being a captain was so nerve-racking, and something as simple as a kind smile in the hallway made a huge difference to me. I still remember the note you wrote me on facebook after I graduated, thanking me for whatever I did… captaining? Haha. But I felt like I made a difference for you. And that kind of confidence is what helped me get through college, start this blog, and heck, even just climb out of bed. People, people liking me, people smiling because of things I say and do, people like you. Love love love. End of gushing. ๐Ÿ˜› Thank you, Laura. I’m glad I can inspire you, and I am so grateful for your friendship.

  2. Congrats! I’m so glad that you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve. It’s no easy feat what you’ve done and I’m glad you recognise that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I had no idea your journey had so many obstacles. I knew about the USC portion and the endo challenge, but other than that. Well anyway, congratulations!!!!

  4. Yay!! Well done!!
    I just graduated from my post-grad last week too! And the best thing I did was go to Disability Services and tell them I needed help. Definitely a must for anyone studying with a chronic illness!

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