Monday, November 03, 2008

an anatomy of a breakdown

It was the fine hairline fracture that changed my future. I was adamently pushing myself to earn a BS in Nursing so that I could be a scrub wearing, pulse checking, booboo fixing nurse. It was my latest dream in a short but tasteful line of dreams. I had been fixated on this 'cure' for my future for several years and was convinced that it was the right direction for me.
So convinced was I, that in later years, including 2008 to be exact, I would wonder "what ifs?" about the nursing career I failed to successfully pursue.
I decided to take a discombobulated and unbalanced semester of courses, convinced that with determination and hard work I could make it through. Of course, I did not account for my nonability to do homework to drag me down- nor did I feel like my terrible study habits might be a hindrance to succeeding. I sure didnt know myself very well :) In fact, sometimes I laugh in the face of my former self.
I decided to take Spanish, Chemistry, an excelarated 8 week Human Anatomy evening course( with a 70% failure rate- D's and below!), and Sociology in the same semester. This was not nor could never be a good balance for me due to my intense lack of interest in the majority of science courses. I was incredibly overwelmed and I was too bored to do anything about it.
It started with the intense pressure I felt to ace my Chemistry class. My mostly unheard of and intensely foreign last name led to this first step into my breakdown. My mother, a thriving college student who returned to school in her mid thirties, had attended the same university just 6 years before, had become a star chemistry student and now led a successful career in the Environmental field with a degree in Chemistry. The teacher called me out during roll call the first day and stopped to ask me how my mom was doing. The entire class looked at me intently and I could see them mentally calculating my possible preformance abilities and trying to sum up if I would be the class genius. Little did they know that I was the least studious person in the room and soon set to receive my first F on my college transcript. To be truthful, the intense pressure I felt to like Chemistry becuase of my mother and the intense bordom that I felt each time the professor talked about ionic compounds, molecules, and the quantum theory was enough to do me in. But this was not the breaking point, just the starting point.
With swift determination and gusto I marched into my first night of the 4 hour course with my greys anatomy in hand and my anatomy coloring book. I had convinced myself that I would enjoy the course( ha! still with the not knowing myself!) and that the people who said an 8 week accelerated course that would teach me the entire skeletal, lymphatic, muscular, vascular, nervous, digestive, reproductive, and endocrine systems in just 16 days was difficult were crazy.
Then came the evening that we had to take dowl rods and place them on a model in place of all the skeletal joints and unions. We had one class session to learn them all and the next class session would be a test over the entire skeletal system. I drove home in a daze and saw my career as a nurse swirling down, down, down, into the drain of the toilet of life.
Human Anatomy and Chemistry were definitely not for me. And so I decided that Nursing was not the thing for me either. I promptly dropped the anatomy course and spent the next 3 semesters trying to decide what to do with myself. This led to a deep and confusing period of self discovery. The problem was that I didnt discover anything about myself.
And this was the moment that the breakdown felt complete. I was officially broken. I earned a code 99 on a career placement test at the career guidance office which officially meant- " we dont know what the hell you would be good at or enjoy doing" which to me translated to " good luck with college becuase you are never going to graduate at your rate you poor confused child."
This led to a string of courses off the beaten path which led to my enlistment in the United States Airforce. Still knowing nothing about myself, I decided to pick a science related job- Meteorology.
Of course, this too ended rather differently than I thought it would and due to a series of unfortunate events( OR SOME might say life saving) I decided against enlisting during the twilight hour.
I can offically state that I was enlisted in the United States Airforce but never fulfilled the basic duties of the job and therefore have some kind of discharge on my permanent record, and this, the recruiter told me, was like a black mark that would follow me wherever I go.
8 years later, black mark and all, I now say I hail from Stillwater Oklahoma. It has been a strange series of events that have led me to this place. It is a place I have grown to refer to with affection as " my home".
10 years after my pseudo breakdown and I could not be happier with where I have ended up.

And so time passed and I stumbled in the dark down a road that somehow led me to the here and now. A here and now that I have grown especially fond of.
And now let me just say how thankful I am for that breakdown and for the One who has guided me through the darkness all this time. What I didnt understand is that I didnt ever need to know my way, for the One had it all mapped out.
My creator could do more with a broken down me than a me of any other form or fashion.

1 comment:

Fawn said...

i love this this post. i remember all of that so well. and your telling of those days is hilarious, from your title on. great post!