A Finer World

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of a country, and a finer world to live in.”

– Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Anxiety Attacks

For the past few days, I’ve felt like my lungs have been in a constricting bird cage. It was very difficult to breathe and it was hard to think clearly. I became more sure of this when I got to work today. At first, I thought it was the Monday blues. But slowly I realized that was too easy of an answer. So, I trudged through all my work and slowly sauntered home. I have learned at this point in my life that I think most when I’m alone, have my headphones in, and I get lost in the environment. Before I got on the bus home, I walked a little slower and drank in my surroundings more. I saw the people walking past me, the buildings teeming with employees, and the sun beaming on what it chose to shine on. By the time I got on the bus? I was sure of what was going on with me today.

I have a tendency to agree to all things that will keep me busy and then let those things easily overwhelm me – causing my judgement to become cloudy. Today, I just took a deep breath and started thinking to myself on the bus ride home. I understood that I was letting everything feel like the end of the world while attempting to keep my outer appearance calm and collected. I was keeping everything in internally and lying to myself that I felt better when I talked it out with others. I decided to shirk that. I let myself look panicked, stressed, and distressed. I let myself tear up a little and also scream out in agony. Of course, I did all this in the comfort of the apartment I’m staying in, but doing it at all was a huge step for me.

As a person who constantly feels the need to guard my emotions and figure out everything on my own, this was an extremely huge step for me. Of course, the next step from here is to be honest about it to those closest to me and those who care for me – but I will get there at my own pace. For now, I’ve managed to allow myself to feel and more importantly, look human. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt alive. To be honest, I haven’t felt this way since my soul searching journey I took a few years ago and my journey through different temples 2 years ago. And it felt hella good. Now, my lungs feel a little more free and my thoughts aren’t attacking my brain anymore. More importantly? I was able to remember that everything happens for a reason and that is why I didn’t feel like the ground beneath me was crumbling bit by bit, taunting me until the very moment that I fell into an abyss.

I still have a long way to go before I truly feel better, but I am willing to take the time each step needs. I am going to work harder at not overwhelming myself immediately. I will breathe and then take each step breath by breath. The world is not ending, so there is no way “my world” is ending either.

Leaving Home vs. Leaving Family

For a long time now, I have been caught between what I want to do once I graduate from undergrad. I’m almost sure that I will have to go to grad school to truly finish up my studies, which will cost a lot of money and will probably require me to be a part-time student – meaning it will take longer than it should. Unless I get a job straight out of school, I don’t know what I could do. And then I’ve been thinking about whether it would be a good idea for me to stay at home or not as I try to figure out the next step in my life. It has been a pretty rocky two years coming back home on breaks from school, and although I am rarely the person that gives in easily, I’ve been thinking that maybe it would be better if I spent some real time away from my parents.

There is no question about it: I would do anything for my family, especially my mother and sister. But I just want to feel like I’m really doing something with my life and I think the first step would be to move out once I get a stable job and save up enough money. It doesn’t have to be my dream job, I can always work up to that. I just don’t think it would be a smart move for my own personal growth if I stayed at my parents house so that I have one less financial concern. I need to be away from my parents so that I can truly appreciate all they have done for me and also finally feel that I can really be self-sufficient for the things I want to accomplish and not be reliant on my parents.

Also, I honestly feel that a relationship cannot be improved until a significant amount of time is spent away from each other. You start to treasure the little things that you got used to having everyday. Whether it be the conversations, inside jokes, little quirks, and the overall comfort – it cannot be genuinely appreciated until you miss it all. And maybe in this way, I will be able to truly have a better relationship with my parents instead of all the miscommunication and walking on eggshells that I feel has been happening for the past few years.

My relationship with my sister was not always the best, but we have gotten better with age and time. When I got this internship in DC and I knew that I would be living with her for the summer, I set a goal for myself and said that I will try to build a better relationship with her with this time we have been given. I don’t really know what to say about the progress so far, but it definitely has been different than it used to be when we lived in the same room together back home. I can only hope for the best from this point on. Hopefully I will have good news to report.

In this case, I come down to the real question: is leaving home the same as leaving family, or are they two different things with separate connotations? That is what stunts me in this future decision for my post-grad life. Sure, I still have a few more years before I really have to think about this…or do I? I feel like I have to start saving up money just so I know that I can make it happen in the future. But then again, seeing myself so conflicted right now, maybe that just shows that I’m not ready to be thinking about all this right now. The right time will present itself and I will be sure in my decision.

After the past three weeks in this internship program, I feel that I have gotten a lot of time to self-reflect and really think about what my life could be like once I graduate. And all of it cannot be possible unless I plan it out reasonably and set the proper things in motion. Until then, I guess I put this post up in hopes that someone else who may feel like this knows they are not alone. The quote “Pick your battles, win your war” never resonated more than it has been in the past three weeks.