Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Which Time Marches Onwards

The end of March is approaching. It will be five years. I worried a little that the fact that it would be five years would somehow make this anniversary different, more difficult, somehow-- I guess because people and organizations tend to celebrate five-year reunions? I keep getting emails from my undergraduate class about the five-year reunion coming up. I should have graduated with them, but I didn't because of what happened the first weekend of my senior spring. I could still attend (Dartmouth considers you part of the class you entered with and not the class you graduated with), but I'm not sure I'd want to go back to campus anyway. I went back for an important meeting at my fraternity that solidified and implemented the change in the permanency clause, and I thought maybe that would help me feel kinder or fonder feelings towards them again, but when I looked at how they were going to conduct trials, and when they asked me to recount my story and be available for questioning by the undergrads, my response was a pretty unceremonious "are you kidding me?" (ok, that might have been the G-rated version of what actually went through my head). So that was that. I have a handful of fond memories of my time there, but I don't really have any plans to form more, and I am ok with that.

I've been thinking about the anniversary a lot this month, more so than I have in the last two years. I've been a little worried (ok, that might be an understatement) because I've just started seeing someone; I really like him, so the last thing I want to do is fall apart and give him the impression that I am an unstable ticking time bomb. For the most part, though, I've been ok. There have been a few sleepless nights and a few days when my stomach was unhappy with me (thanks, enteric nervous system), but I think I might have brought that on myself by worrying about it being five years specifically and by fretting about what to tell him. I wanted to be open and honest with him. I also wanted to spend the Weekend with him. However, I was nervous about making him uncomfortable, or putting pressure on him, or just plain saying too much too soon, which I know I've done in the past.

And then I proceeded to start fraying at the edges yesterday, which is a week too soon, so it threw me off-balance. I managed to keep it sequestered until the prospect of being alone that night unlocked the door and let the ugly fear and memories and feelings out, and then I kind of lost it and started crying. (I did make plans to spend time with friends after I knew he was going to leave, but somehow that didn't quite stop the flood.) I felt awful, embarrassed, and scared that I actually was an unstable ticking time bomb. I had to remind myself that it's the end of March, and that I'm normally okay. In fact, this year marks the first anniversary where I feel like I've significantly moved on with my life and really accomplished things, which is awesome, even if it is four years behind schedule. I'm well into my first year of vet school, my grades are good, I was granted funding for my summer research (as a Merial Scholar, too, so I get to go present at a conference in August), I'm president of an organization and co-vice president of another, I have an amazing group of friends, and I'm seeing someone I really like. I've been impressively stable in the past year or so, with only a few minor episodes (most of which were brought on by people making rape jokes, which is shitty and not really in my control), which I was able to get over in a few hours at most. So yeah, life is quite good-- it's just the end of March that sucks.

This week is my spring break. As my physiology professor has emphasized to us, it is not a break from studying-- it is a break for studying. I have an overwhelming amount of material in several classes to catch up on and a final exam and 3 practical exams the week after break to study for (and they're all on the same day, too, because the scheduling gods didn't receive their blood sacrifice or something). I was worried that falling apart last night was a sign that I would have to spend this week taking care of myself instead of doing all the work I badly need to do. I'm feeling more optimistic now, though, so hopefully this lasts. I work best with carrots dangling in front of me, so I am gathering said carrots and also making sure I'm not alone when I know things will be rough for me. I have a lot of wonderful, caring people in my life, for which I am very grateful.

This year the dates don't quite line up, so the 25th is a Monday, but I'm pretty sure Friday is still going to be when I will acutely feel it. I asked him to spend the weekend with me, or at least Friday and Saturday, and he was really sweet about the whole thing. Haven't planned for Monday night yet, other than having an appointment with my psychiatrist in the afternoon. Overall I think this anniversary will be ok. I think I will want to set aside some small amount of time to remember and to affirm to myself that it was not my fault, that I did what I could to protect myself, that I am stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes, and that I have moved on. But otherwise I think it will be a more-or-less normal weekend where I can be happy and enjoy his company. Yay for that.

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