Friday, July 29, 2011

A Loss of Faith. ...Literally.

I was in a bathroom a couple weeks ago, where a couple of girls that appeared to have an IQ that match their jean’s size, were rambling on, making my brain go... more or less, numb…  when I heard one of them say as they were leaving about how her knees were killing her.  No, “like LITERALLY killing” her.  Please bear in mind that the establishment I was at was the Safe House in Milwaukee (if you don’t know, the Safe House is a cloak-n-dagger espionage themed restaurant.)  With the Safe House ambiance for inspiration, and since my brain kinda works like JD’s on Scrubs sometimes, all kinds of ridiculous images of how a knee would kill a person, came to mind.  I suppose I both love and hate when people misuse the word “literally.”  Love, for the moments of hilarity it can prompt.  Hate, for, well…….  Ignorance and stupidity grate on me.

So, how can one “literally” lose faith?  Well, for me, it has to do with this.

Those that know me fairly well know this symbol as I wear it around my neck.  Or rather wore it around my neck.  I lost it for a bit which is not surprising.  It was the manifestation of what I had been feeling for months.  A struggle and question; have I lost faith?  Turns out, the answer was yes. yes.  And though I did manage to find the pendant (the holy trinity/celitic and wiccan rune of protection) when I did, I thought to myself, perhaps we need a bit of a break from each other.

Now I’m not talking about faith that there’s a God.  I have all the proof that I need that there is.  But my faith in God actually hearing me...  It’s a bit more complex than that, and I’m a bit more bitter.  Please, before I get a bunch of judgments and lectures, allow me to explain e few things that have been going on, and ask yourself, is yelling at me really going to change my mind anyway?  Or will it just do more damage.

I’ve worked hard in my life.  I really, really have.  And I sit back and think on that work sometimes.  Especially when I get hordes of people that know VERY little about me or my experiences telling me that my problem is lack of ambition and attitude.  But again, thanks for passing judgments without knowing any of my past.  All you just accomplished for me is making me think of the INFINITE number of times that I DID keep a positive attitude, faith that things will get better, and worked SOOOOO hard for the things I cared about.  And how none of it mattered.  I still lost my marriage, I still lost my family, I still lost my home, I still got treated like crap by my employer, I still a lot of things.  And a lot more that very few people know about.  But through it all, I tried to keep the philosophy of, when one door slams shut there's an open window.  Maybe now that I'm single, I'll find someone that can give me the emotionally supportive things I need.  Maybe now that my family isn't part of my life, I can be more free to focus on my spirituality without feeling ashamed or have to hide.  I lost my home and a walked away from a bunch of my possessions?  Well that just makes it easier to move and travel and see the world.  After all, another way of saying "freedom" is "nothing left to lose" right?....  Always, finding some kind of silver lining.  Sure, life was not turning out how I had originally expected or wanted it to, but I would make do.  So I find it funny how I keep hearing the line now, "you can do it, it just might not be how you wanted to" where certain things are concerned.

Really???  THANK YOU!  I was SOOO unfamiliar with the concept of sacrifice or compromise.  Thank you for insulting me as deeply as you possibly can, proving that you don't listen to anything I say, and that you know absolutely nothing about me.

Point is, I’ve never been afraid of hard work.  Of keeping the opinion that things will get better if I work hard at it.  They HAD to get better.  If I wasn’t happy with a job, I found another one.  When the marriage became unsalvageable, I did what it took to move on.  Always going the extra mile for friends.  Always working hard for my dollar.  Always finding a way.

And then this year happened.  And it was an extra bad one.  Starting with my back injury last fall.

An analogy of trust.

Two friends are driving down the road.  The passenger says “Quick, pull over!”  But instead of pulling over the driver demands “why,” first.  Too late, the passenger throws up all over the car.  Don’t make me explain what I’m about to say next.  I don’t want to throw up in your car.  If you trust in me and my intelligence, just take what I’m about to say at face value.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m running out of time to do the things I love in life.  No this isn’t a mid-life crisis or anything resembling.  But I don’t have much time left to enjoy things like camping, or community theater, or hiking.  I’ve in ALL likelihood missed the opportunity to raise a family.  And I KNOW I can’t do the kind of jobs I’ve always worked anymore.  So…  time is against me.  A change was needed.

But change is hard.  And for me?  THIS time?  It seemed damned near impossible.

I explored every route.  I did all of the math.  And even if things worked out none of the options were really my first choice.  They were going to be hard and somewhat confining as far as my personal lifestyle choices go.  But as always I was willing to do what was needed.  Even if that meant joining the Navy.

But, as luck would have it, and though I was in MUCH better shape than many who are accepted…  It would just so happen that because I have dense muscles, and a skinny neck…  I failed the Body Fat Index to qualify.  Well, there goes that option.  But it was a second choice anyway.  What I really wanted to do was THIS.

I wish I could go back to college.

In fact I tried.  Nothing fancy.  I went to the community college paid the application fees, took the tests, selected some classes, and applied for financial aid.  And I waited.  And I didn’t qualify because the divorce was not finalized yet.  (By two weeks.)  So winter came around, and I did all the leg work, made the corrections, and reapplied for the financial aid for THAT semester.  And I QUALIFY!!!!  YAY!!! ….but the school seemed to need more information, which I brought them.  And it was now too late to attend the winter semester.  Then I received a letter requesting special forms and all of my tax information AGAIN…  So, I got the forms, filled them out, brought them back, along with all of my tax information, (bear in mind this has been 8 months of emails, phone calls, trips and letters now and I'm glazing over the details and paraphrasing or this would be just far too long to write)  When I brought them THAT batch of papers, I was told that they closed an hour early that day and I was five minutes too late.  I was also told one of the forms was wrong because I printed it off a government site instead of the school (even though it’s the SAME EXACT form) and turned away.  *sigh.

I was upset to say the least, and wishing I could demand my application fee back.  Eight months!  Going on NINE!  It was insulting.  After seeing some of the “quality” students that attend this school, I was left to wonder how they figured out how to work a doorknob let alone get past financial aid.  It was an added insult to feel that I was somehow not smart enough to get past the reception desk.  I stormed out, "thanking" them for their efforts and telling them that I will be attending a “real” school instead.

It was going to be hard.  I don’t have money to throw around.  I understood that I could acquire a great deal of the credits at Gateway for half the price of a State University.  But if this was how I had to do it, then so be it.  I was willing to compromise.  I started researching UW Whitewater again, filled out the application, wrote the essays, and submitted it with my last 44 dollars.  As I had ONE little question about the application I called the very next morning to make sure I filled it out correctly.  Upon that call, I found out that submissions had been closed out two hours before I sent my application through.  …oh good.  Glad I wasted that.

But there was still hope.  The counselor I was speaking with was very kind and understanding and put me on an exceptions list for transfer students.  So long as I could get my transcripts from my short attempt at attending ILIA, I may still be accepted.  I had to wait until pay day to have the money for the request.  As soon as I had the ten bucks in hand, I had the forms requesting faxed out.  I got a call from the UWW a few weeks later.  They wanted to know if I was still interested as they had not received the information yet.  Not only did the college transcripts not go through, but my high school transcripts failed as well.

I called both places.  The high school assured me that if I made the request, they would have sent them. (FAIL.)  But they agreed to send them again without much fight.  ILIA however, told me that they had a staffing change and my paperwork must have been lost.  I told them that I needed them sent out ASAP and they said they couldn’t do anything unless I re-faxed all of my information, ID card, and such again.  I did the very next day with notations of “urgent please call if questions.”  ONE WEEK LATER I receive an email from them saying that their fax machine printed a line through part of my credit card number and they were unable to send my request unless I provide the payment information.  That same day, I received another contact from UWW claiming that if they do not receive my transcripts by July 15th, they could no longer consider me.  Needless to say, I was NOT very kind in my reply to the request for my credit card information to my former college.

And while all this has been happening around me, I got to sit idly by and listen to friends talk about going to school as if it is the easiest thing in the world for them, or complaining about finals that I wished I could be taking, or telling me that I should just go back "part time" without understanding my situation or why that wasn't a possibility for me.  Naw, that's okay, please continue to make the assumption that I'm not doing that simply because I just "don't want to."  And look, it's not that I begrudge them the good fortune of going to school themselves or that everything is just falling into place so easily for them, but I felt like I was attending engagement parties after getting left at the alter.  It just wasn’t doing well for my disposition.

Sometimes You Only Get One Basket for Your Eggs.

And no…  of course there are SO many more things going on than what I am saying here.  Things got REALLY bad for a while.  Hell, they’re still bad.  SOOOO bad.  But again, just trust me and don’t make me spill everything all over the front seat of your car.  If you’re my friend, you will show some trust that I’m intelligent to know what I’m talking about.  But, I’ll deal with it.  I always do.  And I did at least get one small glimmer of hope.  July 15th, the cut off date…  July 16th, I received in the mail, Welcome to Whitewater.

I can breathe.  For now.  I’m now at the same stage I was at with Gateway.  Getting through the Financial aid process.  But I have more faith in this school’s office.  Though it is crunch time.  If I can’t get it approved in the next three weeks, I will be without a place to live, without money for class, without a job, and the whole process will have been for nothing.  I have everything riding on this one last dice roll.

I can’t bring myself to put the necklace back on.  But I have to have faith.  Faith, that it’s going to work out this time.  As there is no other choice.