Hello, dear old blog. It’s been over a year since I visited your dusty pages, and, to be quite honest, for the past year I’ve never even given you much thought. Life has been busy. Crazy busy at times. I’ve also had my last two computers die on me, so this once-book-marked page was lost for a time. So, naturally, I forgot about you.
But the other day I found you again, as I began doing research for a school project. I needed to peruse some blogs, and you poor, lost, forgotten thing, suddenly reappeared. So here I am. I don’t intend to stay long—in fact I may start another blog at some point in the near future—but I wanted to pay my respects to what was once a cathartic outlet for a hurting, lonely young woman. I also wanted to let you know just how far I’ve come since I last visited. I’m not the same girl who left. Or woman, rather. I still want to call myself a “girl” at times, but the reality is I am nearing 40 (40, yikes!), and although part of me still rebels against the relentless march of time, and mentally I feel much closer to 25, I’m becoming a little more comfortable with my status as a “mature woman” and the wisdom and respect that (hopefully) comes with that.
The truth is, I’ve become more comfortable in my skin over the last year or so, and I feel like I’m more “me” than I’ve ever been. My fragmented sense of self, shattered by years of trauma, isolation and intense pain, has finally begun to coalesce, and I no longer see myself through the incredibly warped lens that I once did. It’s true I still feel fragile and broken in many ways, and I know I will carry some of my scars for the rest of my life, but despite my places of brokenness, and the struggles I still face, I no longer see myself defined by that brokenness. After all, we are all broken, to some degree. It’s part of being human. So I will keep you around, dear old blog, if only as a reminder to myself of where I’ve been and how far God has brought me.
It truly is amazing how far I’ve come in only a couple years. Totally by God’s grace, of course. I stated in a post prior to moving to attend my current university, that this new phase in life would either make me or break me. Well, I was convinced the first year that it would break me. A very difficult living situation and the adjustment to a completely foreign (and very demanding) university environment bowled me over for a while. I struggled with intense loneliness and feelings of not fitting in anywhere. But by the end of my second semester I’d begun to feel a little more comfortable in my new environment, and even began to make a few school chums. Thankfully, things only continued to improve once I found a new living situation last summer—I now have a wonderful roommate I get along fabulously with and actually have a lot in common with.
I am now staring at two more months till I walk the “Lawn,” flip my tassel, and become an official college graduate, possessor of a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. It seems hard to believe. What I once only dreamed of doing will soon become a reality. It’s been a rough, challenging couple of years, but I can say with full confidence that this college experience has been just what I needed to “get back on my feet,” as it were, and gain the confidence and skills I need to do something useful and rewarding with my life. My university experience has not broken me…on the contrary, it has helped shape me into a more confident and well-rounded woman. Living in a different city, and further away from family, has also been good for me. It’s allowed me to grow, to become more of my own person, and to put behind me/at a distance certain negative environments and people that only dragged me down and kept me stuck in my dark valley.
On the flip side, I’ve met so many interesting and lovely people here at the university—much to my surprise—and each one, whether a fellow student or professor/instructor, has impacted me positively in some way. I shall miss some of those people—one person in particular, who’s been a blessing and encouragement to me throughout the last two years (although I know he has no idea). I shall miss the university itself too: the beautiful campus, the grand old libraries, the stimulating academic atmosphere. Although I’ve never truly “fit in” with most of my fellow students, due to my age, this university, and the city it resides in, has still come to feel like home to me.
I’ll miss too, the wonderful ESOL kids I’ve tutored over the last year…I get teary-eyed just thinking about saying goodbye to them and perhaps never seeing their precious faces again. They’ve touched my life immeasurably, and made me realize, more than ever, that my calling lies in some kind of educational work. Teaching and tutoring them has brought me such joy.
So it is with ambivalent feelings that I’ll be moving on in a few months. And although I know I still have many challenges awaiting me, and darkness, doubting and pain will inevitably raise their ugly heads from time to time, I no longer see a bleak future. And as far as my relationship with God goes…it’s not where I want it to be, but I’m slowly realizing that He is the only One who will never let go of me and never stop loving me, and if I can only learn to rest in that, and let everything else go—all my shame, hurts, disappointments, failures, and unrealistic expectations of others—then maybe, just maybe, I can eventually find the life of joy and wholeness I so long for.