Growing Up Part Three: The Drop-Out Edition

One of the most annoying things that I have to deal with in my days, right up there with awkward elevator rides and migraines, is private people. I know a lot of experiences we go through are not to be shared with other people. I have some of those experiences that I do not want to share too but it just makes life difficult when you really need to learn certain things from certain people and they decide to be closed doors and mystery. Some people find this sexy. I want to shoot it in the head.

When I was thinking to not return to MU, one of the first things I did was try to find people who’d done the same thing to see what their experiences were like. Here’s where I learned that this particular topic is a sore one for many but I guess my stubbornness and stalking skills trump certain people’s determination to avoid me, I was able to finally speak to various people about it and I don’t really condone being a drop out but what I learned was very, very liberating.

Dropping out of Uni wasn’t a decision I made one early Friday morning because I couldn’t get up to go to class. It had been in my head for quite a while and in the three years I have stayed on campus, I had dropped out in my head at least fifty times. I was always giving myself solid excuses about why I had to stay there and I think I finally ran out of those excuses. I was just done with it.

Doing the whole press release type announcement of my decision to people who kind of care about me was met with a lot of panic but also a round of high-fives. I couldn’t quite explain my reasons to them though. I’ve given several different excuses and reasons to different people and while that helped get them off my back, family is a whole different issue. You shouldn’t lie to family or say some weird shit to them to get them off your back. They’ll be around a long time.

One of the people I had talked to about dropping out said to me that I had to understand the reason I was dropping out myself before I could attempt to communicate it to others and that the reason I wasn’t able to explain it to others was that I hadn’t come to terms with it myself. So, I was given the assignment of coming to terms with it and explaining why I was doing what I was doing to myself. I wrote one of the longest essays I have ever written which now lies in a pile of ash in the container of our coal stove. I came to terms with the whole lot of it and I understand it but I still can’t communicate it to other people not because I can’t find the words but because I don’t know if they’d understand it and I don’t want to gamble with the idea of them thinking that my justifications just aren’t good enough and what might look like just big moments of weakness on my part. I decided that maybe I won’t attempt to explain it. Maybe it will be this thing I did because I needed to and if it was a mistake then it will have been my mistake.

I don’t know if now is the right time to write about being a dropout as it is so very early for me. I’ve only been out of school for a couple of months. But I can say that there are things that those “private” people “forget” to mention to you when they are telling you about their experiences.

I haven’t sat around and done nothing because laziness is a lethal thing at times like these. I figure if I learn that I could just lie around comfortable at home, eating and binge watching Roots all day, I will never again be motivated to get off my ass to do something. Meeting with friends becomes exhausting because there come questions like, “So what are you upto?” “Why are you still here?” and there’s always that one jerk who’ll attempt to have you sit down to talk about what the system is like and what life should be like and what big mistakes you’re making. Switching off your phone to stay at home hugging your blanket and crying all day seem like welcome ideas because you’ll feel like such a failure. Even though this was a decision you made very bravely, the valor falls away somewhere when people look at you and you just look like this idiot who thinks she’s got it all figured out while all her insecurity and fear shows in between the cracks.

This seems like a good time to pursue dreams and see what you’re made of. But like John Green said, even though writing has been something I’d wanted to do for what seems like my whole life, it also feels like something unreal like being “an astronaut or something”

I am very scared and intimidated by my future and because I was raised with the mentality that education is everything only to learn that what they actually meant was that papers are everything, I thought a deed like this would be the end of the world and it turned out it’s not.

Among the people I spoke to about this, one said to me the most interesting thing. “The panic does not go away. I always panic when I don’t have any gigs and when I’m not working on anything. It becomes a time for me to sit down and think if I’m on the right track and that happens more often than you’d think. But this panic also becomes a drive for me to start on more projects. All in all, we’re still young. Don’t forget that we can still attempt to go back to school and try to be successful at something like that again.”

The papers do provide a certain undeserved respect to a lot of people and the lack there of causes the light to go out of people’s eyes as they talk to you. I have seen so many people lose their respect for me because of this decision and what’s been amazing me is the amount of shits I’m giving about it.

“So, what are you going to do next?” has become this annoying follow up to “Oh my God you’re dropping out?” The thing is, I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I don’t know if planning out my life on a piece of paper is a good idea because I tried that in 9th grade and I have suffered a lot because of that paper. I still do. Do we ever really know what we want to do next? And isn’t that amount of hope like a certain blast of ego that we’re likely to fall painfully from because life never really goes the way we want?

My future seems like a dark, foggy set of Vampire Diaries and no one understands how unsettling that is more than I do. Yet people still insist on telling me how there are ways to turn my life around and it has been an endless array of people who’re trying to tell me how things could go wrong or how things should go right. The vague, “You’ll regret it.” has become my least favorite and possibly the one I’ll punch in the face next time I hear it.

Making decisions isn’t a very fun process and even though I’m young, I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’ve had to make difficult decisions in the past. My older cousin says there will be more of those to come. That’s unsettling. But with this one that I made which could possibly be the biggest mistake I’ll ever make or the best thing to ever happen to me, I feel good and empowered. If you know me, you’ll know I don’t take to mistakes very well. I get physically sick thinking over mistakes. But now, for the first time ever, I’m actually open to making mistakes because they don’t feel like the end of the world anymore. Life feels short but not so short and dark and uncertain yet still full of possibilities.

This could be just me going self-help mode to try and make myself feel better but the truth is, at this point, my life has taken a turn to be very different from a lot of my peers’ and I think I’ll always pick interesting over easy happy. At this point I could try and fail at a lot of things and according to all the voices whispering in my ears, figuring out what to try is the most important thing to do. It’s also the one I’m finding most difficult. People like me don’t have the rules set and the roads paved for us like a lot of the others do. We kind of have to make them as we go and it’s so easy to fail but it’s not impossible to succeed either. It doesn’t mean that you’ll get there because others have done it but I think it’s just best to keep in mind that you just might.