By the time you get to your sophomore year of high school, you’re itching to get out of your parent’s home. Whether you plan to attend college or go off on your own to work, the idea of freedom is just a few years away. By my sophomore year, I had changed my major and narrowed down my college choices. I was determined to make it out of my mother’s home and up the ladder in the Director’s Guild of America. My future was bright and I was excited. College was going to be everything I had dreamed of.
By the time I got through my first semester of my freshman year, my dreams fading slowly into a nightmare. My entire college experience was plagued by fatigue, nausea, painful bathroom visits, urgency and anxiety. I didn’t really understand what was happening to me, but I didn’t think it was that big of deal. I was determined to be an adult, independent and self sufficient. But what most young adults fail to realize is that while you are in college, the very last thing you are is, self sufficient. Most of us have to receive financial help from our parents or guardians. I suppose I thought, my health was the one thing I could take care of myself with proper diet & exercise. I also had a sinking feeling that I told my mom just how painful life had become for my physically, she would have had me on the first plane smoking from San Francisco back home in the comfort of her motherly home remedies. Because of this, I didn’t enjoy college. I also never finished.
I know! Little Ms. Education/policy nerd doesn’t have a degree. I used a job opportunity as an excuse to move back home, as I was sick and scared while going through the college experience. Wow. It’s taken me 15 years to actually say that out loud. I quit school, because I couldn’t take it. But I couldn’t stand to let my mom down. I was ashamed I had allowed this thing, whatever it was, to take over and keep me from doing my best. So I threw myself into work and over did it. Ending up exacerbating my symptoms and eventually that led to the dramatic end to my production days. I have spent the last few years wondering if, how, why and could I have…but without any action. Frozen in fear of repeating the same mistakes, but now with the added responsibility of a small person. The older I got, and the further away from college I became, the harder the idea of going back became. The fear was almost paralyzing. I talked about it. Dreamed about it. But never got the nerve to submit an application. Until last night.
For the past few months, I’ve been planning and organizing. Trying to hype myself up, only to talk myself out of it. When will I have the time? Can I afford it? Will I be able to handle that, a child and a chronic disease? I couldn’t handle college and a chronic disease before, what makes this different? Those questions have been circling around in my head as I looked at schedules, mapped out financials and considered universities. But I realized that in this one life, this is my biggest regret. And that over the years of living with IBD, this disease has been disruptive, but it doesn’t dictate my life. I also realized that I am not a naive girl anymore who is ignorant about what is happening to her. I am a grown woman who has been through the fire and back again. I’ve recalculated and reconfigured my life. I’ve gained knowledge and strength. I’ve got more to fight for now. It’s time to give myself a second chance.
So, yes, y’all, starting this June, I will be a, Crazy Creole College Student! It’s amazing where the journey will take you. I never thought at 35, I would be starting all over again, but here I am. Lets get it!