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The Other Side of Paradise

August 11, 2010

So Paris was awesome…..

….but this has been a summer of painful awakenings and goodbyes.

Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore in Neverland

I only have one year of college left and, for a person who has spent their entire lives in the classroom, the sudden realization of impending adulthood and responsibility is overwhelming.

I’ve never had to pay bills, make life-changing decisions, live far from home, or go somewhere where I would be completely and utterly alone. I attended a university in which I knew I had friends and a clear avenue for making more (band nerd), one that was a simple 45 minute drive away from the comforts of home.  I didn’t go home very often, mind you, but just knowing that it was there comforted me enough to allow me to focus on school rather than fear.  I did leave my best friends behind, and I suffered from severe loneliness my first year, but I had enough social avenues from the friends that were already at the university to keep myself distracted and forward thinking.

So overall, despite hardships, I made it through, I adapted, but I had help.

The reality of the situation hit me when one of my best friends told me she was moving away to graduate school last May.  In only three months.

However, like a true child, I spent much of the interim in severe denial, avoiding the pain of missing her and the pain of the prospect of losing everything I had ever known.  Paris was an amazing distraction, allowing me to divulge into another world completely, but it was waiting for me when I got home.

I love this Munch painting called "Puberty." It really captures the uncertainty and fear of budding adolescence.

In the weeks before and after Paris, I did something I haven’t done since I graduated high school when I  marathon-read the Harry Potter books:  I used fiction as a sort of numbing opiate to avoid reality.  Except this time, I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the show was really cool and interesting and I loved diving into the characters and world Joss Whedon had created.  I’ll probably even blog later about my praises and criticisms of the show, because I loved it.  But I can’t deny the convenient timing and unhealthy nature of my pursuit.

I couldn’t face the real world, so I lost myself in a false one.

This is a Dali piece based on Alice in Wonderland. You can see the melting clock encircling the tree, and Alice in her dress beneath, hiding from reality.

I honestly don’t know why, maybe it was because I ran out of Buffy and Angel episodes, maybe it was the increase of alone time, maybe my family was just driving me crazy, but something changed.  I think it was a slow realization, rather than a Eureka moment.  I saw my friend come to terms with her emigration to another state, I went to a goodbye party for her and a few other friends who were also leaving.

I looked at a calendar, I looked at a clock, I looked in the mirror, and I anchored myself in reality again.

I had emerged from the rabbit hole and decided to face reality.  But what did that mean?  What was going to happen to me?  Where was my life going to go from there?

It was decision-making time, and even though I knew that it would be difficult, I had to face myself and my future.  But more than that, I wanted, I want, to ENJOY it.  That’s what I’m working on now. 😀

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    August 11, 2010 7:13 pm

    Miss Mantha, I’ll miss you 🙂 You’ll have to keep updating this.

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