This blog is a result of weeks being up at 4 AM crying, unable to fall sleep with the only explanation being the thought going through my head, “I hate my life.”
On most accounts I have an exceptionally good life. I have a stable family who loves me and cares about my wellbeing. I have a sense of purpose through my faith in God who I believe desires good for me and is intimately involved with the details of my life. I am able bodied, well liked, educated, relatively attractive, and privileged in my white, heterosexual, cisgender life.
So why do I find myself in my last few months of graduate school feeling like I’m walking into a death trap as I contemplate which jobs to apply for. The stress mounts, I have an extreme pain in the back of my head that brings me to tears of frustration the longer it lasts. After some internet searching, it would seem that either I have a tumor in my neck, or I’m stressed. I take a few days off work and internship to “calm down”.
I’m not exactly sure how I came to the conclusion that I needed to take a year off to travel, but somewhere in the midst of countless conversations with my therapist, peers, friends, professors, supervisors, and listening to the little girl inside me who kept telling me “if I don’t get to run around and play, I’m going to lose my shit.” I dreamed the dream of travel. This feeling of needing to get out and be free is not a new one for me. I have struggled to break the binds of entrapment and imprisonment that I constantly feel in my life; sometimes from society and it’s expectations or from my family, but mostly from within myself. It is as if I can’t access my emotions fully or breathe fully or think fully.
Restricted, inhibited, lonely, and terrified.
These words feel accurate and I hate them.
So, I wrote down my “unrealistic” plans and my “realistic” plans in my journal, which is a common habit of mine and started to plan my future (haha). I would try and choke my way through explaining my realistic plans to people and nearly collapse out of disgust and annoyance for the road before me. It seems that the only topic I could tolerate entertaining was my unrealistic plan. The more I dramatically shared my ideas the more encouragement I got and the less drastic my plans sounded. I started doing hours of research to see how exactly people travel for long periods of time.
I may have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, but I am not without resources. I gave (and continue to give) myself a pep talk similar to the one in Cool Runnings and recite: I am an intelligent, resourceful, capable human being and if all these other people can travel with no money, so can I!
And with that I began my (un)realistic life…