Center of the Universe

The 20s are all about self-care. Making sure you're doing okay is hands down the most important thing you have to do for yourself. You are your own person and you need to be good, fine, okay. You can't reach out and be of any help to anyone else if you're not all there. Take care of yourself. Take care of you. Take care.  Be selfish. Be self-centered. Be the center of the universe.

Death ... it's so final. Once someone is gone, they can never come back. You're never able to speak to them, see them, touch them. Gone from your life and that's that. No matter how much your cry, moan, or beg - they can no longer be with you. Death supersedes everything. All the other problems and feelings we have in our lives become minuscule, insignificant and even unimportant when compared to death. The past few days have been some of the saddest of the semester. One of the people who I worked with, departmentally at least in residential life, died. I just stopped wrote that word and stopped typing. She died. She's dead. She's deceased. I'm crying. Tears are streaming down my face. My breathing is heavy. There is a lump in my throat that I cannot swallow. It's hitting me fully. Someone I knew has been called away, forever...

I'm writing this post to mourn. I'm writing this post to properly process. I'm writing this post to feel again. Early Thursday morning there was a house fire reported next to campus that came to be under control and I thought nothing of it. As the day went on it rained, the wind whipped and the sky was overcast as if foreshadowing something to come. I went through a class but began to feel more and more that something was wrong. I checked Facebook and people were posting their condolences and I just got up out of class and left. I walked through the pouring rain back to my building to see my advisor Drake, a few of the HESA (higher education and student affairs) graduate students were huddled on his couch. He turned to me, looked me in the eye and told me that the assistant director of residential life, Kathy, didn't make it out of the house fire and passed away. I just stopped. I didn't move. I couldn't comprehend. This wasn't real life. I sat, and sat, and sat some more. Tears would well up and I just let them roll down my face, fall off and splash onto my arm. I watched them trickle down, freefall and then leap up in a rebound. What had happened, happened. No longer at the center of the universe.

This blog has and is about me, what goes through my head, and everyone and everything in relation to me. Me. That's the only perspective I have. That's the only experience I have, my own. College is quite possibly the worst place to be when you're going through a difficult time. Why? Because no one knows what you're going through. It's awful because you have to tell people, over and over and over what's going on. Every time you have relive that same emotion that comes up every time. Yes, people aren't psychic but sometimes it's not that hard to put two and two together. It all never hurts to ask. When your world is off kilter, when you're out of orbit, and when you're on the dark side of the moon, you really understand that in fact, no matter much we should love ourselves and focus on the self, we're not the center of the universe. The world, time, space, and everyone in it are going about their days and there's no stopping for you (those who do, are a godsend - we should all strive to be that person who stops). Most people will never know, and/or care about your ordeals. It's the truth of the matter and it's fine to a certain extent but problematic in so many ways.

Thursday I went to physics recitation just to take the quiz. I came back to my room to watch TV and avoid the elephant in my empty room. Off to Latin where I struggled to engage fully on what I was supposed to be learning. I headed to the library to the help my friend prep for his physics quiz and the entire time I was out of it. I was thinking, none of this matters. This all so stupid. All these people unaware, going about their days, like nothing happened but truth is for them, nothing happened for them. It's fine. That's the way the world works. They shouldn't feel bad because I'm feeling bad. They don't owe anything to me or anyone else's lives. But there I was in the library on the verge of breaking down and no one, not even my friend sitting adjacent to me took it upon themselves to check on me, console me, see me (I'm aware it's no one else's duty but we are all under the same human condition, and that makes us one another's keepers when we cannot keep ourselves). Not everyone is "good" at being there, but being there is most of the time enough. I went to a haunted house in one of the residence halls and when everyone saw me all I is why is your face like that? Why do you always look sad? What's wrong with you? Even after I mentioned that I knew the person who had passed away, there was,  "you're killing the mood, being a Debby downer, and why can't you just get over it." We left the haunted house and walked back to our res halls but not before I slipped and fell. I just wanted to sit there in the soaking grass with my pants and boxer-briefs drenched and not move. I was helped up and we went our separate ways. Maybe I don't have any right to be mad, or maybe I do but either way to say I'm disappointed is an understatement. What needs to be taught above all else is empathy. How can you see someone, specifically someone you know and probably would call your friend and totally ignore them or be insensitive to their hurt? I understand you're not affected the same way, if even at all, but I'm here. I'm obviously not okay. The things people will do to avoid getting real, going a little deeper, and taking it there are unreal. If we don't address it maybe it will go away. In this case, it is a person and it is me. I'm not going to pretend to be happy, to enjoy what we're doing, or smile when there's no truth in those things for me. I'm sorry that I ruin your time by being there. I'm sorry I'm impacted. I'm sorry I can't instantly deal. I'm sorry I'm trying to be center of my own universe. 

Everyone deals differently. Some people ignore, some people make jokes to brighten the mood, some people sit in silence (for future reference I am the last one). All it takes is asking someone what they need, for me it's time and someone to just sit with me and let it be. I need a hug - not the random funny ones that people like to try and give me even though I hate them just to get a reaction out of me, a meaningful hug that says I'm holding you up right now. I don't blame my friends because they don't know what to do with me. I'm also really good at telling people what they want to hear so they'll leave me alone, but what you need to do is cut my crap, come to me and get me. Tell me seriously to stop, that it's okay to be real and to go. I do have those people, usually my fraternity brother's Zach and Dom but everyone has things they need to get done as well. Thursday night was not what I expected, and again because I wasn't explicit in saying what I needed or wanted. I stopped by the front desk in MSHCR complex where I talked for a couple hours with the RAs who all got me. Some knew her and some didn't but we all felt the heaviness of it and for me that was huge. Mac, Sam, Connor and I went to the grocery store to get some popsicles and then we went to hang out in Sam's room. Somehow we ended discussing, rather heatedly, relativism and some other random things. The entire time I was thinking I should go home. Multiple times I was asked if I was okay, and told that I would be okay if I wasn't it (true and great) - but all it would take is setting a serious tone and then asking to talk. Another distraction, a fun one at that and I thoroughly enjoyed it but definitely could have more. Friday morning was more pouring rain a meeting I literally said nothing in and that outreach that I needed. I stopped to talk to my castmate from my TV show, Molly, and she just listened - that's it. That's all that I needed. I went back to my room later to shower and be warm, went to class and then Starbucks with my friend Patrick. Another roundabout journey, but he listened and was just there and I was there and it worked. We didn't spend the entire time talking about it, but we talked about it - that's what mattered to me. Off to get ready for the Founder's Day Pep Rally where I organized everyone from my group of people and we did our part. Straight to the hockey game we went where I took pictures mostly and tried to get in the spirit but couldn't. Multiple reasons that I'll blog about soon, but mostly because I wasn't feeling festive or lively at all. Standing in a crowd, and still alone. The game ended, my school's team won and the group us went to go eat and then hang out. I truly enjoy the company of these people, everyone brings something special to the mix. Sam, Connor, Ben and I ended up putting the pep rally supplies away and joking around more. Midnight rolled around and I went back to my room to talk with my fraternity little brother, David, who kept it real. He has a lot going on but as soon as he came in and was not okay there I was, putting my stuff on the backburner and doing for him what I would love for other people to do for me. I just listened to him talk and prompted him to say how he felt and then we made a plan of where do we go from here to get you back to where you need to be.

*Friday I talked to my sister and within 3 minutes she said exactly what needed to be said (maybe because I'm never unsure that she loves me or the fact that she said it) for me to be okay and begin to process. What I learned from this is now I know who is at that level to get serious when I need them to be, everyone has the capacity but not the capability.

The 20s are all about bring people back up to speed. When we fall behind, and fall out place, we may need some help (not always but often) to get back on track. The world keeps revolving regardless if we're ready to go with it or not. We can be more than just fun time, big smiles, jokes for days kind of friends. If you're not able to be there during the tough times then maybe you're not as much of a friend as you claim to be. We all need self-work. It's hard to be there for someone, we're not trained on how to do it and there's no universal right way, but just trying speaks volumes for itself. When your universe is all fine and spinning around, wrangle someone else's back in order.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you mourn? As always, I write - I express how I'm feeling in written form, reread it over and over, cry as I need to and then when I'm done say why that person meant something to me and let them go.


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