When a fairy tale ends as this one does, with a death or dismemberment of the protagonist, we ask, How could it have ended differently? Psychically, it is good to make a halfway place, a way station, a considered place in which to rest and mend after one escapes a famine. It is not too much to take one year, two years, to assess one's wounds, seek guidance, apply the medicines, consider the future. A year or two is scant time. (Estes 272)
I think I thought that the years I gave to my professional job would be that way station, but I see it is not. I'm still very much fighting for the ground on which my spirit will prance. I have come a good long way, but there are months of work ahead. I have set aside 3 years' time to get my debt to income ratio manageable and to germinate the seeds of my future. I'm 2 years in. Interestingly, when I moved to Chicago, I set an approximate 5 year timer. I'm 3 years in. It still makes sense and that gives me hope.
In the first post of this series I mentioned a poem I'd written in the parking lot of the first after-college office job. I read it to Ammie a week ago, on a lark because I get the urge to read aloud semi-frequently. That poem, and the others in the book were Angry. Living in the suburbs with my parents, working an office job that was unbelievably uninteresting, and commuting by car (through endless lines of suburbs) for 3 hours a day to do it, nearly drove me stark raving mad. Instead of going mad though, I went dead. Convinced by the Senescent Force in my life, I hopped in the Gilded Carriage. I left all that was real to me; the North Woods, the Clean Air, the Big Lake, the Wholesome Existence, for a dead place 6 months after I graduated. I have reasons, and the stories those reasons get told in are all about how Privilege fucks you up in life. I've said it before and I'll say it again (some other time): I grew up being spoon fed (a certain kind of) Privilege without actually having (the right kind of) Privilege to back it up. That's why I'm so terribly in debt from college. I didn't go to a recognizable name school, I went to the boonies, but I did in a fiscally Idiotic way.
If I had taken the reigns to my life after high school, who knows what would have happened? I probably would have gone to college eventually, but I'm pretty certain I would have known enough to read the goddamn loan contracts before signing them. If I'd worked for awhile, found out what I liked and didn't like, if I had time I wouldn't be in this mess. If the idea of "What Everyone Does" hadn't been so important to my mom, who is so important to me, I would probably be somewhere entirely different. But she didn't know. She didn't have to struggle until she transferred the ownership of herself from her parents to my Dad. And my Dad thought it was a partnership; they never had enough money, like it'd been when my mom was a kid. Goddess bless them, they love each other and did the best they could. They just happened to have given birth to a child who doesn't fit the suburban mold and who asks a fuck lot of questions after reading a truck load of books.
So, I took the day off. I relaxed as much as I could. The little jagging voice that wants to know how I intend to get out of all this debt prison is quite present. Before I melted into the ground, wanting to puddle off like Alex Mack did on Nickelodeon all those years ago, I was more certain. I was hanging onto my plan, keeping my feet on the ground. I am hoping to get back there now, because the combo of wanting to run away and not knowing how just really staggers me. I'm not hopeless, I'm just a little fearful. That was some really hot rage. I'll repeat my mantras and ideas and remember to take time to myself while I work the stable job that supports me while I (find a way to) get There. I'll ask how it can be different, so no one else has to wonder how it could have been.