September 6, 2011

On moving out, moving up, and moving on

Short version: I am now living in NC, a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate, on the tail end of getting over hella emotional issues, and should be posting more soon.

Long version (I did warn you): 
[Edited to add pictures because it makes my OCD happy]

A few years ago, while discussing the merits of outside perspective with a psych student, I was given an ugly truth that every solo magician knows in his bones: Just because you can see your dysfunction doesn't necessarially mean you can do anything about it. Usually this is cited as a warning to remember that shrinks need shrinks too, as you can watch yourself fall into a textbook disorder, yet find that your self-awareness and knowledge of that disorder don't leave you any better equipped to pull yourself out of it. Left without any outside council, one can wallow in their dysfunction, fully aware of it, for quite some time; usually until some major event or tragedy "snaps" them out of it and allows for a chance to re-focus. This was the position I found myself in over the past several months, thankfully without the tragic ending.

This summer was highlighted with cross-country flights and drives to interviews at pharmacy schools, emergency magic to influence said interviews, and emergency magic to correct some academic problems that have been plaguing me for the last several years (which should have been dealt with years ago), all against a background of being completely out-of-whack emotionally due to still being in love with (and pining for) my (now ex) ladyfriend, who had since moved on in her life. So there was some additional magic to influence that situation. It was pathetic, honestly.

My inane mental image of myself.
Only, you know, with less tits.
Over the course of the summer, emotions associated with my ex slowly started bleeding into every aspect of my life. I stopped thinking about what would happen after my lease ran out and I would have to move away from Gainesville; it was literally a dark, unplanned blank in my mind. I started getting ideas of some sort of "last hurrah"-type relationship, which is fine in itself I suppose, except that as time went on I found it wasn't so much the relationship I wanted (though I certainly did want it) as the ability to play the role of "angsty doomed lover". Long story short, I wanted to be a martyr and I was turning myself into one.

Sounds like your gothy middle-school years, no? Well interestingly enough, I found myself fully aware (rationally) that I was acting like a childish prat, but never experienced the embarrassment or defensiveness that one generally encounters (emotionally) when coming to that realization. So I found myself starting out a lot of sentences with some variation of "I know this is immature, but..." (as they say, there's always a but). Rationally, I knew that I'd get over this fit of asinine martyrdom soon enough and feel worlds better; and yet these thoughts carried no weight of emotion behind them, and every day that ticked by felt as if I were approaching my own funeral. I'm not exaggerating here, the physical sense of dread that hovered over me was inordinately dark and inescapable-feeling.

 Eventually, it occurred to me that my (lack of a) relationship wasn't the source of this angsty cloud; at least, not anymore. In true angsty-teen form, I realized that emotionally, I felt as if the entire world was set against me, and I was some sort of dying-light warrior on a doomed but noble mission. My rational side found this absolutely hilarious. (On that note, it should be said that I have sort of a dark sense of humor).

This folks, is what you call a Solar Crisis. Symptoms include radical idealism, unwavering conviction, extraordinarily inflated sense of self-importance, and the uncontrollable urge to be a complete asshat. Some people call these events a "mini Dark Night of the Soul", a term which makes sense emotionally, even if it has nothing to do with a "true Dark Night".

And then, rather uneventfully, the day came for me to move, and with more suddenness than I could have expected it was over. In the blink of an eye, I felt better than I had in years; and yet I felt that the experience had shaken something loose. I've never been a terribly emotional person; I tend to settle into a "mode" or "role" and sit there fairly unshakably. Once or twice this has led me to wonder if I had some sort of emotional deficiency, as things that would elicit strong responses from many people rarely seemed to affect me at all (I chose to think of this as "stability" rather than sociopathy). Now, it seemed, I was suddenly experiencing a whole range of emotions with far more immersion than I ever had before, yet this immersion never seemed to upset my inner sense of calm. Physically it felt as if a "butterfly" of emotion was set loose inside me, lovely to experience, but about as likely to overpower me as a butterfly is to break out of a bird cage.

The Blue Ridge Mountains.
Quite literally a breath of fresh air.
I have no idea what brought any of this about, but I found this little emotional crisis to be extraordinarily well-timed with other events in my life. Just after the "breaking point", I found that my top-choice school "just happened" to accept me, and that they "just happened" to be willing to make certain substitutions in their requirements to accommodate me. I "just happened" to be emailed out of the blue by my now-landlord, offering me a fantastic price on a place where I "just happened" to find that I clicked well with the land spirits. My tiny satellite campus also "just happens" to be full of people that I was able to immediately mesh with, and local job opportunities "just happen" to be geared towards people of my skill set at the moment.

If nothing else, it was all a wonderful convergence, even if looking back over it makes me shake my head in shame and vow never to speak of it again. There's really no moral to this story other than "shit happens". Shit which you won't always be able to puzzle through and find nice causes and reasons for. But hey, I'm in a state with real seasons, I'm starting a great career, I have great new friends, and emotional bullshit seems on a low ebb at the moment. Carpe fuckin' diem, eh?

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.