Tag Archives: experience

I Hear a Bell

Sometimes when I sit in the silence for long enough I can start to hear a tiny little bell. I wonder what that means?

There are sayings that will tell you that if you hear a bell that it means that someone you are meant to marry is nearby. The issue I have with that is I know who I want to marry and they are usually just close to me in general. So I have decided that I have enough facts to debunk this.

I wonder again if it means that something, good or bad, is coming my way. There are not too many bland and straightforward answers that can provide me with any relief. What happens within me is a jumble of this and that and things that make no sense. It’s all hazy until it isn’t, or something like that.

This bell rings always in the same tone. Small, loud and sharp. Do you remember in school when we had to take those hearing tests? The ones that would send a loud beep into your ear and if you could hear it you would raise a hand, depending on the ear? That is the bell I hear.

Sometimes I wonder if I raise my hand and acknowledge the bell then maybe it will stop. If I give this bell more meaning than what it actually holds maybe I will get it to leave me be. If I humanize the sound in my ears than maybe the sound will become so loud, deafening me for just a moment, until it finally fades away.

I can hear the bell when I am worried. I can hear it when I am sad or mad or even placated. It does not matter when or where I am, the bell is more than that. The bell is almost a beacon now. When I am alone, which is rare, I listen out for it. I want to hear it because it calms me to know that in a world that is ever changing at least I can still hear the bell.

When you type into google “I can hear a bell ringing” it tells you maybe you have ruptured your eardrum. This, like most things, is the WebMD example. You know when you have a headache and all of a sudden you realize you have 3 out of 4 symptoms for a brain tumor? Well I apparently have 1 out of 1 symptom for a ruptured eardrum.

The thing is I am not hearing this bell all of the time. I hear it when I think hard enough, when nothing is around me and I have no other option but to listen for the bell to avoid being alone in my own whirlwind.

As I write this, as I think about all of this, I realize me and this bell are close. We are friends and we are the only two things in my life that are constant. My own self is a constant because no matter when or where or who, I am going to be this same self. The bell in a constant because it rings when I need it, comes when I fear the silence, nothing else has ever held onto me that closely before.

This one is for you bell, and your damn imaginary ringing.

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Obsessively Compulsively Myself

OCD is this big broad thing that sometimes means a lot and sometimes means so little. I think it means so much when you know that it is happening, but it means so little when it is in a low time. Media and movies have made it seem like those with OCD are only those who must count to twenty before they leave their houses, or they must turn a light on and off multiple times before they leave a room. For me OCD means not sleeping because I am too worried about something going wrong or having a breakdown when the night or day does not go exactly as I have planned.

The moments when I know I am going to spiral are long and drawn out. They last for hours sometimes days and all I can do is be a passenger to my own mind. I can feel when it creeps up, usually due to something that is going to change and it is so far out of my control. My jaw will clench and my stomach will drop and no matter where I am or what I am doing I need to stop. I must, in that moment, drop what I am doing so I can simply harvest enough energy to panic.

I have ever met someone else with diagnosed OCD. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one in the whole world who has breakdowns because there is a possibility I may be promoted. Do other people feel like the entire day is no longer worth it if they are running late for work or sleep in past an alarm? Am I one of few, or one of many who don’t need to count everything, but have been keeping a running count of my steps since I woke up this morning? I hate math, but I am so drawn to even number that my radio can never be on 17 it needs to be on 20. I will even reach up from someone’s back seat to change the sound level, because it makes me sick.

I am one single person. One person who identifies as female and stands at 5 feet 6 inches tall. A person who somehow is two people because in my mind I am a buzzing mess of things to do and times they need to be finished but on the outside I smile and move along as if nothing is wrong.

Every night before I go to sleep I take a small white cylindrical pill. Sometimes before I swallow it down I just look at it. I look at how small it is and at the thin green stripes that enclose each end and I thank it. I thank it because it was there for me even when I did not want or care for it. It has brought me up and made me sleep. This small white cylindrical pill has done more for my mental health in a year then anything has done in the last 20.

I have OCD and it has been one long year. I have had it my whole life is what doctors say yet I recognize only a one year milestone. One year I have felt so much relief and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night worried that everything I own will stop working. I no long cry because I can’t seem to think one normal thought. I am me and me is obsessive. I am me and me is compulsive. I am me and I have grown for the better. I am me and I will no longer be a victim to my own mentality.

Finding A Home Away From Home

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When everyone tells you to go to college, they tell you it is all for this amazing education. That this is the only way you can grow up to be successful and get a job one day. That it is a growing experience and a time to find yourself.

The things I was pensive about made a list; things like, moving from home, making friends, being comfortable and everything that involved being an adult in general. I was more then nervous to leave the safety of my High School, and being the first child in my immediate family to ever leave home.

I was scared of all nighters and papers that would take me months to finish, college finals that would consume my life and make me unable to sleep. I was uneasy about parties and the loud atmosphere associated with living in dorms. I was so put on edge by these things that in my first month of college, I cut myself out of everything.

I called my mother crying telling her I couldn’t go back and that living on campus just wasn’t for me. I was convinced the entire college might not be for me. I wanted to abandon my desire to pursue anything in the science field and go to the safe state school in the next town over and get a teaching degree. I had told myself, and scared myself so much that I was ready to accept all of this.

When my mother told me I had to go back to school and try for at least another week, I was convinced that by then end of that awful week I would be ready to go home even more.

What they don’t tell you about college is that it is very hard to adjust. I know for some kids all they needed was for their parents to drop them off and they were simply ready to start being adults, and some kids have one night of loneliness and then they move on, but there is a large portion of kids who struggle immensely with being far from home and having to make decisions that they never thought the would need to, I was that kid.

What I learned though was that I was missing the experiences. I was missing finding my passion and finding a group of people who embodied everything that I desired to be. I needed friends who didn’t mind staying up late with movies rather then drinks, friends who gave evil eyes to people when they didn’t recycle their water bottles. I found those friends, and once I did college changed for me.

I was ready to get four hours of sleep because my test was the next day; ready to write an excessively long paper solely for the fact I would be so proud of myself when it was done. I learned that renting a study room and streaming a fake fireplace on the T.V. would be a memory that I will never loose. I found clubs where treacherous rock climbs lead to quaint pumpkin patches were we would bond.

College hurt at first, and there was not one moment that was easy, it was hard work, but it was work that without the surprising “no” of my mother I may have never experienced.

What really needs to be considered is that even things that seem scary and unattainable and never really such. If surrounded by the right people almost any near fatal situation can become a success

Free Lunchers

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There comes this time in your life when everything is almost at this standstill. When you hear news or open a letter that breaks apart everything you had. It feels like your breath is ripped from your lungs and you can’t even imagine moving on from everything that has just happened.

I had one of these moments recently. Being only 18 years old there has never been much financial stress that was directly my responsibility, but now there is. I can no longer find myself in the guidance office begging for someone to waive the fee of a trip my mother can’t afford to send me on, or help me get a used $100 calculator that was required for the math class I had worked so hard to get into.

When teachers look at you in high school and tell you all the work that they give you is to prepare you for college, they are not telling the entire truth. The hours of work they assign over the summer or over a break is not what prepares you in the least bit, what they should be doing is telling you how hard things are about to get.

Teachers should tell you how hard it is to even make it through the college that they all insist you end up at. What they should be warning us “free lunch” kids about is that we are all basically stuck.

In most school systems that kids who find themselves on a free lunch plan are the ones who have parents that fall below what they school thinks is “average” living standards. This also reaps other benefits such as reduced SAT amounts, only a down payment requirement for AP testing, and a slew of other seemingly great things. The only issue is as soon as this group of kids leaves the public schooling system all the benefits that made it possible for them to do much of anything in elementary school and beyond are gone.

When us “free lunchers” begin to apply to college they even allow a waiver on applications, and reduced fees in sending over test scores. Then we get in and they tell us not to worry because financial aid will come through and help make up the difference in what you cannot afford to pay. Everyone tells you from day one as long as you work hard and do the right thing everything will work out. So far I have found this to be overwhelmingly false.

Not only did the extensive forms otherwise known as FAFSA fail me, so did an abundant amount of other things. Now it is important for it to be known that I did not go to the state school that was probably the better option, but a smaller liberal arts college. I knew from the start this would be more money overall, but in my mind I had spent four years in high school proving myself academically, and I should have been able to go where I would be happy.

For an entire year of private education $7,500 seems small, and for many middle class families it is very plausible, this is what I thought. When I sat down to tell my parents everything that had happened my father looked me dead in the eye and told be we would need to split the bill in thirds.

Having divorced parents is an entire other issue. It means more paperwork and hoping your non-custodial doesn’t choose to lie, and claim he pays more then you have ever seen in your entire life.

When my father told me he could pay a third, I believed him. I worked all through school, and my mother picked up extra hours. Just when I thought I was safe and everything was being paid on schedule I received quite the letter.

To sum it up, if the $2,200 balance left on my account wasn’t cleared starting spring classes was not going to happen. That was when I did the math; that was almost an entire third of my bill. My father hadn’t been paying like he was supposed to.

Now it seems harsh that I knew it was my father and not my mother not paying, but in my situation, trust me when I say it was my father.

I still took a deep breath and called him, hoping there was a misunderstanding. There had not been. He told be he hadn’t had the money. It takes a lot not to implode at this point. So, I hung the phone up.

Panic. Sheer panic set in, as my education was so far up in the air it would take a NASA telescope to see it. I told my mother voice shaking, and I knew she wouldn’t be able to help me. She was alone and had just managed to pull of the holidays with all she had that was extra.

This is when I bring back the idea that schools should be helping kids who they float through understand that all of that help fades away. As soon as a diploma lands in your hands there is nobody to run to when you cannot afford something. When FAFSA tells you they can help finance your education, they only mean so far. It almost seems that we go through years of public schooling being told half-truths.

Luckily for me I had someone to turn to when my options were next to nothing. College is never going to be the same for me now, as I now can never count on one of the only people who you should be able to. The next few years will be spent commuting from home to avoid paying room and board.

I am grateful for the year I got to spend on campus, and for the college I am lucky to even be going to. Life throws these kinds of sick curve balls, and it seems the people who are barely standing are the ones who get knocked down. A lot needs to change when it comes to helping those who find themselves just above poverty. The people who are hardworking and just too proud to not take a job and find themselves on government assistance. It’s an issue, one that affects me firsthand.

Overall it seems that an education is mandatory to make it in life, yet without a pretty hardy college fund, it’s difficult to get one.