Hi. My Name Is Lindsay.
I don’t know as much as I think I know. The good news is that I’m willing to learn.
I get nervous in new situations. The good news is that this doesn’t prevent me from getting into new situations.
I worry endlessly because it’s what I’ve always done. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay this way.
New Years Day. 2013. I lie in bed with my eyes open. It is well passed midnight. The first day of the year has silently come to a close and I am pensive. Like so many evenings before this one I am overcome by anxiety. This is the dance that I do in the shadows. It is the way that I relate to the world around me. It is how I identify with new endeavors. I begin with fear and trepidation.
I dwell in the darkness. Earlier in the week I happened upon my high school bully in a busy supermarket. His eyes met mine over a Boxing Day crowd, but it was fleeting. Later I would wonder if it had ever even happened at all. Real or not, this chance encounter brought back a wave of uncertainty in me. I know that I’m older now. I know that college is different. I know that I will be learning material that I’m specifically interested in, which I find relevant. I am beginning as a student in a program that is catered not only to my needs, but my desires. I want to be a better writer. I want to be the best that I can be. I want to further my education.
I want to settle my nerves.
And so, I consult the voice. Because The Voice always knows precisely how to kick my ass into submission and squash The Child I used to be. The Child is still trying to run the show; she’s telling me I can’t do this alone. She’s telling me that I’ve already failed. That I’m crazy. That I’m not cut out for traditional post secondary. The Child thinks that she knows better. She doesn’t want to see me hurt, so her method of protection is not to try. You can never fall on your ass if you never get off of it to begin with.
The Voice puts a stop to all that.
“I can’t do this,” says The Child, “I am going to be embarrassed and everyone will know that I’m not as smart as they think that I am.”
“Welcome to adulthood,” says The Voice, “You’re going to be embarrassed. It’s up to you to realize that no one else cares whether you fall flat on your face or not- they’re busy. Raise the bar of what embarrasses you.”
The Voice tells me that I am strong. The Voice tells me that I’m excited. The Voice tells me that the hard part is over; I got into the program that I wanted to get into and all I have to do from here is work hard. The Voice reminds me that I am a hard worker. It tells me that I am going to be successful as long as I am determined to be successful.
I’m alone in the dark as The Child and The Voice have it out. They do this on occasion and I feel like a hostage inside myself. I don’t want to argue my virtues or my faults. I want to shut it all off and get some rest. Time is ticking and the day is getting closer.
The Voice asserts it’s position with reason, logic and evidence. The Child stomps her feet and says the sky is purple. I chalk this one up to The Voice. I know it is right. I live in this fear because it is a predictable place. I live in this resistance because it is all I have ever known. I want to change my approach and yet I am resistant to even that.
I fall asleep both comforted and quieted. I will succeed because I am willing. I will put in the effort and make the time count. I will not throw away this opportunity, and I will not allow it to be a repeat of high school. I fall asleep, understanding that it is human to be nervous, but allowing myself to get excited for the week ahead.
Worrying never got me anywhere anyway.
Except for this time, I was so busy worrying about starting school next week that I failed to realize that it started this week. I failed to realize it up until today, when I was glancing at my schedule to plan for my transportation times and a notification popped up for January 2nd, 2013.
But January 2nd was yesterday. My eyes darted from the notification on my calendar to the corner of my computer screen. January 2nd. Today is the 3rd. January 2nd. But today is the 3rd.
I worried so hard about what I was going to do when school began next week, I failed to even realize that school begun this week. And there is no going back on this. I can’t undo it.
Immediately I place a call to the professor and department head. I admit fault freely. I ask if there are materials that I can pick up or receive via email. I hold my head in my hands. I try and think of a solution where there isn’t one. I’m embarrassed.
I’m embarrassed and the world is still turning.
Later that day I talk to a new acquaintance.
“How are you?”
I look at her, unsure of what to say. My answer has taken too long. She smiles. I sigh.
“I’ve had better days.”
She asks me what is wrong and I sigh again.
“Long story?” She asks me.
“I missed my first day of college. I’ve been so busy worrying about college that I missed my first day of college. And I’ve never been before. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what I missed, or if I can catch up on it or-”
“Take it from me… I’ve been to a lot of first days of college and I’ve missed a lot of first days of college. You have nothing to worry about. Usually it’s kind of a course outline. Often times they’ll even end early.”
Speaking to this girl, I feel better. Not perfect. I’m still really disappointed in myself for letting this slip by. I just know that there’s nothing more that I can do about the situation. There is no time machine. There is only hard work from here on in.
And if everything goes right? I never miss another day of classes.