When I first started this blog, my life was a bit of a mess. Some could argue that not much has changed, but I beg to differ. 😂 I genuinely wish that I could properly describe the state of my existence back then. I was in pitiful health and utterly heartbroken from a breakup that left wounds I thought would never heal.
After leaving a place that had never felt like home, I found myself in the middle of Arizona. My professional and personal life were both in shambles; I felt defeated in every single area of my life. Though I tried my best to slap a smile on my face each and every day, I was silently dying inside at the same time. That was back in February— seven short months ago.
It’s crazy to think about how much can change in seven months.
Though I am often hesitant to acknowledge my strong suits or applaud my own achievements, I have no reservations in saying that I am indescribably proud of what I’ve accomplished since moving out here. Sure, it may not be impressive to other people, but that doesn’t diminish the hard work I’ve put in or the dedication I’ve shown. Regardless of how difficult the road has been, I never gave up on what I believed in. Today is proof of that.
Many things haven’t gone exactly to plan this year, but that’s okay. Life is about trying new things, seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. Whenever an obstacle has gotten in the way, I’ve consistently done whatever I could to figure out another means of getting the job done. In many cases, the “right” way was the exact opposite of what mainstream society would suggest. Fortunately for me, God led me to the path I needed to be on.
You see, I wasn’t even just on the wrong path in life. I was out, staggering around in the bushes, about a quarter of a mile away from any road at all! And when I say that He “led me”, I almost want to say “dragged me” because I wasn’t always a willing participant. Though I desperately wanted to know what His will for my life was, I wasn’t always sure that I was ready to actually act on it.
In fact, much of this year was spent spiritually covering my ears and humming in an attempt to ignore the things I knew He was saying. In all fairness, this wasn’t always about me being blatantly disobedient and rebellious. Most of the time, I simply didn’t feel good enough for the things He was calling me to do. That was actually the problem 98% of the time.
The most difficult thing to face was graduate school. I know, I know, who is afraid of school? People may not particularly like school, but it’s not as though anyone is shaking in their boots over it either. Well, as much as I hate to admit it… I was.
The reason I mentioned how life was when I first started this blog is because some of my early posts revolved around my desire to try applying for grad school—a third time. I’d had this idea about doing a whole series on my past experiences. It seemed as though it would be fun to document the whole process of prepping for my final attempt to get my Masters. I thought I could make it funny and kind of poke fun at myself along the way. However, when it came down to telling the story, I never could finish.
The truth is, it wasn’t funny. Feeling like a huge failure wasn’t funny. Feeling like I’d let my entire family—myself— down, wasn’t funny. This wasn’t some goofy storytime about running a stop sign over in high school or being catfished by some weird guy I met online when I was 16. This was… my entire life. I had wanted to go to grad school since I was like, ten. Anyone who knows me could tell you that.
Outside of publishing a fiction novel, the PhD was the one thing I wanted before I died. That’s it. I wanted a book and a terminal degree in Psychology. It’s hard to describe why it was so important to me… I still don’t know. I mean, sure, I needed it to pursue the career I wanted, but it was so much more than that. It was this mysterious longing that burned within me. I could never extinguish the flames, no matter how many times the circumstances of my life told me I wasn’t ready enough or good enough.
Eventually, I got so sick of having doors slammed in my face that I started agreeing with what I felt life was telling me. I felt so crushed, so useless. What else could I do if I couldn’t pursue my passion? Sure, I could get some random job and climb the corporate ladder, but that wasn’t me. Don’t get me wrong, I had to do exactly that for awhile, and I wasn’t half bad at it. All the same, it wasn’t why I was here on this Earth. This poorly suppressed realization was the root of much of my depression.
As it happens, I’m the type of person who can’t live a life that isn’t mine. I can’t follow trends that I do not like. I can’t associate with people I do not respect. I can’t compromise my morals and values for the sake of followers and likes. I also can’t do work that I’m not passionate about. Therefore, I decided awhile back to take a significant financial hit in the pursuit of what felt real.
Some people may scoff at this; I don’t particularly blame you. Trust me, I’ve wished that I was like the majority of people. I’ve wished that I could wake up early to brave traffic on the way to a job I hate. I’ve wished I could hand over the best years of my life to a company who doesn’t care about their customers or employees. I’ve reveled in the idea of spending the majority of my days around people I can’t trust and/or don’t like, and I’ve imagined how comforting it must feel to know the feeling is completely mutual.
I hope none of you take this the wrong way. We all know, or at least have a pretty good idea, of how it feels to do work you don’t resonate with. I am fully aware that most people don’t have the opportunity to fool around “chasing dreams” at 32 years old. In fact, most people don’t have to even bother because they actually did things the right way in the first place.
What can I say? I genuinely tried to do everything the “right way”… things just didn’t go according to plan. And as much as I have often resented the challenges I’ve faced over the years, I am starting to realize that most of it was designed to push me back towards the very thing I thought I wasn’t meant to do. I say all of this because I submitted my grad school application this morning. That’s what the CV I’ve been working on was for… and that humiliating phone call. 😫
The kicker? I still have no idea how I’m going to pay for school.
Realistically, I should probably be freaking out right about now because this is exactly what the problem was the second time I tried to go to grad school. I got into my school of choice, started making plans, but right at the last minute I got laid off. Overnight, my whole world came crashing down around me. Sure, there were student loans, but I had so much debt at the time that I was terrified of acquiring more. These days, I’m not terrified as much as I am resolute: I refuse to borrow money I don’t have.
Am I worried whether or not I’ll be accepted? Not particularly. Believe me when I say that I’m not over here tooting my own horn or puffing my chest out. Though I recognize my intellectual abilities, this isn’t the source of my confidence. The only reason I bothered to take another chance in applying for this program (especially the specific one I chose) is because God led me to it.
I won’t tell the full story today, but I can assure you that this has very little to do with me at this point. It was only by pursuing smaller things (that God led me to do) that I was able to find the confidence to apply. Outside of finances, the things that were hindering me from trying again are now mere worries of the past. Somehow, someway, critical pieces of the application process (that I didn’t have, mind you) either materialized or were simply waived based on my academic record.
Of course, I initially tried to brush it all off as a coincidence, but I knew deep down that God was literally clearing the way for me. He was removing anything and everything that I might use as an excuse to not take a chance on Him and myself. Now that the application is in, I am continuing to rely upon Him to help me find the money to pay for everything—without the bondage of student loans!
And so the wait begins.
I just want to end this by encouraging you guys to spend some time contemplating and reevaluating the things you may have labeled as “impossible” in your own lives. Sometimes our greatest blessings lie in the places we haven’t felt strong enough to look. 💝
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