Step by Step5:15 PM
I've missed you all! I literally literally literally have no time to blog anymore. This post is squeezed between reading a bajillion pages of The Iliad and a Charger tailgate party. I'm sacrificing my Intro to Western Religion homework for you guys. That's how much I love you.
You'd think when you step onto campus, the world would immediately tilt in your favor -- you all grown up and smart, taking on this college thing, bravely kissing your mother goodbye. You'll conquer this campus. You'll make friends. You'll change their lives. They'll change yours. You'll write a profound paper on Grecian tragedy that makes the toughest English professor's jaw go slack.
Yes, things change. The first thing that changes is that you're stripped of everything -- everything. You stand in the middle of campus totally lost (figuratively and literally -- by the way, don't try reading maps in the rain).
Where am I? Why? Who am I? What do I do?
Everything changes. You bawl when you have to say goodbye -- something you never, ever do. You walk into a room and realize the only familiar face is from Facebook. Discussions center on majors and hometowns. You learn somebody else is the popular one, the best singer, the amazing actress, the -- big breath -- better writer. And you? It's too frightening to focus on that subject.
You come to two realizations: I'm a Nothing and there's no way I can do this.
The first days you ride the freshman wave. It's surreal: College. Whoa. No way. Yes way. Whoa. College.
Classes start. You still have hope. It's like a week away at camp -- a fancy, collegiate camp, where you get up at the crack of dawn to dress up and skitter in heels from dorm to classroom to student union.
Then the second week. Reality slams in. You don't wake up from this. You don't come home on the weekend with a suitcase full of dirty laundry and a bag of funny memories. These people you don't know are your links to friendship, encouragement and love. This system you're not familiar with is your ticket to success. Everything hangs on the unknown.
It's like dangling upside down in thin air.
It's hard to breathe.
You make the mistake of calling your mom -- a mistake, because you realize the person you want most is the person farthest away from you. So you curl up in the middle of the student union five minutes before class. You cry. It's the Wednesday of week two. You shouldn't be crying. You should be friends with the entire student population like every other laughing, smiling freshman. You should be acing the first English quiz like everybody else in your English class. You should be singing opera-style like all the other girls in the alto section.
Instead helplessness has stung you, and you cry -- a position, a place, a person you never saw yourself two weeks before.
And while you're crying, and swallowing homesickness, and praying that God would come down and wipe away your tears without smearing your mascara, He does.
Step by step, Bailey.
Day by day. Moment by moment. Crisis by crisis. Breathe. Fifty pages of Homer? Read it a word at a time. The essay due in four days? Just start at the beginning. Best friends? Conversation by conversation, interaction by interaction.
I've forgotten that lesson, having accumulated so much -- the love of family for eighteen years, amazing friends in six years, faith in a few years. I forgot the pining beforehand, the pain, the loneliness, the daily struggle to change. So excited to finally be on the top of the world, I forgot the trail behind me.
Now I'm at the bottom of another big, hunkin' mountain -- and boy, is it a long way up.
I hate walking, hate putting one foot in front of the other, hate trudging, trudging, trudging with hope and faith (or is it naivete?) as the only light. But that's how everyone starts out -- naked, screaming. That's how everyone learns -- wobbly handwriting, failed math tests, pathetic rough drafts. Nobody stays there, no matter how naked, screaming, wobbly, failed or pathetic she is.
I won't stay here. I will change. Little by little. Grace by grace. Step by step.
|Raptors by Ronald Reagan (a.k.a. my hallmates on our first night of supervised craziness)|