I had a plan. That plan was graduate with my BFA, do the Peace Corps, in that time find out what I want to do with the rest of my life while living in a beautiful place and working within a new community building relationships abroad, and then go to grad school on the United States Gov't’s dime.
If you have already heard this spiel about why I couldn’t go, feel free to skip this paragraph.
I got accepted as a co-teacher in Thailand to depart Jan 3rd 2019. During the medical clearance I came across two bumps in the road. 1. I had a history of being on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers for approx 6 months when I was a senior in high school. 2. I have a blood condition (G6Pd deficiency) and If i take the anti-malarial medication I needed in Thailand I would (probably) die. So the first issue was a hard emotional hit and was the source of most of my anxiety during the peace corps process. I knew I was stable. I knew I was emotionally ready for this experience, I had worked really hard over many years to do better emotionally every single day. Yes, I still struggle and am always working to improve but I knew I was capable. The letter from the Peace Corps Psychologist said they did not believe I was “Emotionally capable to handle the tasks presented as a Peace Corps Volunteer” So of course I had a mini breakdown and then decided to appeal. I had to call almost a dozen offices before I could find a psychologist that could update a mental health evaluation and write a letter of recommendation. After explaining my situation to the doctor, she was more than happy to help and deliver all documents needed. Then comes the blood condition. This was a really tough time. After my primary doctor wouldn’t sign a waiver presented by the peace corps I was passed around from a hematologist to a cancer doctor to an infectious disease doctor to a travel clinic and was on the phone with the CDC every day trying to learn more about this condition and if there was a way to accommodate it. Turns out, there is not. And due to this, I had to decline my offer to serve in the Peace Corps. And of course my long-term-long-distance relationship (she left a couple months prior to serve Peace Corps Ethiopia) began to fall apart at this time too.
So I’m going through a breakup with someone who lives across the globe, beginning my final semester of college, and have zero plan for where I would be in six months after thinking I had a plan for the past 5 years.
I spent months, and part of me still is, coping with the life I thought I would be living and accepting that it was not the path for me. I began journaling through this time and was writing three pages a day to help through my coping process and, more pressingly, find a new plan!
Journaling changed my life and got me through this time. I now use this skill more as needed but am grateful to have it as a tool. It slows down my mind and helps me let go of these demons that are stopping me from embracing the unknown. I began to open my eyes and see what was around me. I had been emotionally prepared to pick up and leave Grand Rapids. Then I started to see… I was actually happy here.