This last semester turned out not at all the way I was expecting. I thought that moving out and paying rent and taking 15 difficult credit hours would be overwhelming and that I would surely fail (oh, the optimism! ). But I was fine. I wasn't even worried about my work load at the end of the semester. I made wonderful new friends, I made enough money to get me through, I lost a good ten pounds, and I gained a measure of self confidence.
As impressive as these successes are, none of them were enough to prevent the pressure from slowly taking hold, settling comfortably back into place at the nape of my neck, down my shoulders, into my chest. Sometime around Thanksgiving, I succumbed to the stress. Fingers through hair, hands on face, forever tugging at collars and hemlines, stretching joints, cracking jaw, sleeping on the couch for a change in scenery. All the old habits creeping in, and with them that inescapable, tired melancholy. I tried to drown it in music, starve it of sleep, crowd it out with conversation, extinguish it in silence. Despite my best efforts it expanded and thickened. I couldn't-- I can't-- disentangle myself from this shadowy thing that seems to govern my thoughts and actions.
I wish more than anything that I could get up and do something about it. I try. For the life of me, I try so hard to free myself. I just can't shake it.
So here's hoping that Christmas (the extraordinary warmth of home, the constancy of family, the time together, the glow of the season) will do the trick this time. Here's hoping that a birthday party with dear friends will banish the loneliness. Here's to the promise of a new semester, a new year, another chance to discover what I love about life.
Merry Christmas, all.
P.S. In the search for the perfect word for "free", I found "disenthrall". Isn't that a beautiful word? Disenthrall. I hope to work that word into my casual vocabulary.