My life at this particular moment is the definition of entropy. Complete chaos. The epitome of messy. Because change is messy. And I am right in the eye of a change storm.
I was watching Grey’s Anatomy the other night and at the end of the episode Mer says, “The pain you know is coming is what makes it easier to just keep holding on.” This is why we fear change, why we don’t walk away from the things that hurt us, why we cling to the known. Because at least the pain we already know is a comfortable, orderly kind of pain. We already know how to compartmentalize that pain, so we cling to things that aren’t always good for us. But, sometimes life forces us out of our comfort zone. Makes us leap off the cliff into the messiness of the unknown. That is where I am currently.
Grad School is Messy
I changed my degree plan. I went from being a school counseling major to a clinical mental health counseling major. It was the right decision but it has come with a heap of challenges that are forcing me to fight for what I want. I’m being tried in such a way that tests my tenacity. But the way I see it, this is just another wall to scale. Because as I’ve said in a previous post, walls are there to prove how bad we really want something. So, I’m taking it one step at a time, continuing to climb no matter how tired I become because I really, really want this.
When I realized I couldn’t take any classes during the summer because I changed my program, I began to fight for a place in some of the courses that would go toward my degree plan. I emailed back and forth with my new program advisor for hours. I emailed three different professors, using the best charm and logic I have to convince them to make a special exception for me. I’ve so far convinced one professor to give me special permissions to take her Summer class. Now I just need one or two more to come on board. But, there is time.
A random $800 charge showed up on my account February 28th. This means there is a hold on my account and I’ll be unable to register for classes until it’s removed anyway. So, I’ve sent an email about that charge. Then there is the matter of being unable to complete the expected enrollment form which makes me eligible for aid in the coming year. I’ve emailed about that as well.
This is the thing about the messy bits of life, often they require a lot of waiting. A lot of sitting in the mess until someone comes along and does their part because we humans exist in relationship. All sorts of relationships. As it so happens, this mess is giving me a chance to test my ability to trust strangers in professional relationships, something that I have proven not to be very good at, if my therapy relationship is any indication. But, I will say, in this case I have a lot more faith in the outcome because I trust myself to keep fighting. It is just that right now, no matter what I do and how persistent I am, ultimately I’m at an impasse. I have to be okay with that.
Therapeutic Relationships are Messy
Speaking of relationships, you may be wondering what happened with my counseling relationship. Let me tell you, I’m a pansy; that is what happened. We are on an open-ended break. I couldn’t bring myself to completely, officially end it; I know this is ridiculous. I still feel all the hurt of that rupture. I still don’t feel like she took proper responsibility for her part. I still feel blamed in the matter. But she said and did all the right things Wednesday and I just melted. People are my weakness! I am ashamed that I couldn’t just end things. I’m also kind of sad and angry that it is up to me to have to do the ending. But, alas, here I am in a messy situation. Attached and focused on what I’ll be losing, instead of what I’ve already lost. And what I have left to lose still, if I stay.
I consulted with another counselor in the area; she is an LPC-S which means she does supervision for counselors. Our talk was incredibly validating. She reassured me that what I needed as a trauma survivor was choice and empowerment and that was the exact opposite of what I got in my relationship with C; however, it is what C has been trying to have us work on since the rupture. That complicates things. It’d be easier if C was just completely off base and didn’t get it but she has the capacity to be warm, caring, and competent. When she gets it, she really gets it. But when her stuff comes into the relationship, it really mucks things up and somehow it all comes back to my cognitive distortions. It’s times like this I wish I could live in a black and white world. But, I can’t. C isn’t all bad and she isn’t all good. She is human. She made some pretty terrible mistakes and I paid a lot of money for those mistakes but she has redeeming qualities.
There are a lot of “buts” in those last two paragraphs. That’s something I probably need to explore. Am I just making excuses for her because I grew attached? I am hoping as time passes it will be easier to reach out just to say, “hey, I think our break needs to actually be an ending.” I was so attached to the idea that things would be different this time, that I would be able to stick it out with a therapist. I think I let myself believe that if I could make a therapy relationship work then I could make any other kind of relationship work. But it doesn’t most come down to me alone. I get that.
I have interviewed another therapist. I was going to do an intake with her. I’m still up in the air with that though because she didn’t seem to validate my C experience and the pain I felt about the rupture in the same way that the LPC-S did. But, the LPC-S is too expensive right now, as I dig myself out of debt from seeing C. The one I might do intake with, Dr. W, does have some promising things going for her though. She did convey warmth over the phone. She gave me a phone consultation even though that isn’t something she usually does. She seems much more boundaried than C (no hugs) but she does seem willing to genuinely co-create the therapeutic experience. She also does walk and talk therapy which seems cool. Plus she is on my insurance. So, maybe.
Work is Messy
Among the many unknowns in my life right now: work. I am still at my job, of course, but I’m actively looking for other work. Because the change in degree means I have to change location. The university I will be attending is 2 hours from where I currently live and work. Way too much to drive two or three days a week. But, I’ve not had any hits in response to putting out my resume. It’s a little discouraging but I’ll keep trying. If there is one thing I know for certain in this mess, it’s that I want out of the school system.
I think I would like to continue working with teens though when I become a counselor. One of my students said to me the other day that he could tell I was “so over work” but then he said, “that’s okay miss, just as long as you don’t give up on us.” I told him I would never give up on him or any of my other students. I told him they were my reason for getting up and coming in when I manage to actually make myself go into work these days. The whole exchange really touched my heart.
Finances are Messy
At this point I can’t really afford any financial uncertainty but that’s exactly what I’m throwing myself into as I thrust myself into the messy unknown. I think I managed to sell my car, which will be great, because I can pay off the debts I acquired during therapy. Then I’m going to start looking for a house or condo to buy. I think in the long run that will save me money because a mortgage is cheaper than rent. Plus, it will feel nice to actually own my own place. I just need to do this now while I still have consistent employment. Otherwise lenders won’t take the chance on me. Home buying is a tedious process.
Gosh, as I type all this out, I realize how absolutely insane my life is right now. But, it’s the good kind of insane, I think. It’s facing the unknown, enduring the pain and discomfort of change, in the hopes that life can be better, that things can be different. It’s a hopeful kind of messy.