There came a time in my life when I suddenly realized what I’m supposed to do with myself. I’m talking about particular things in my life, such as who I am, where I’m going, and what I was meant to do, were exposed to me. In deed, I wonder if this is a prevalent awakening? Who else has experienced something so profound? It happened to me this evening at the library. I felt my heart quake as the epiphany opened its gates so I could walk through some sort of “right-of-passage,” and feel motivated to enter upon a solid conclusion.

But before I share the rest of my realization, I think I should revert to the time just before I arrived at the library.

I felt reluctant to go in. Suddenly I was telling myself that, inside the library, were people who were more intelligent and better bred than I. These kind of thoughts may seem negative and distorted to anyone who has never lived with depression, for me (someone who does live with depression) they were real and justified. Suddenly, my clothes – a comfortable pair of track pants and a hooded sweatshirt- seemed inappropriate. I felt like I should have worn something a bit more scholarly. Perhaps gray tweed pants with a thick, black turtleneck? Like a vicious cylce, I began to think about my shortcomings: my learning disability and my inability to concentrate on reading. And I began to panic for a moment. This couldn’t be happening! I was angry with myself for allowing these little “Debbie Downers” to take control over me. Though, finally, I was able to soothe these towering thoughts enough to allow a miniscule amount of confidence to sneak in under their enormous stance. I parked the car, turned off the engine, snatched up my bag, then proceeded to the library entrance. As I walked across the dark parking lot, my thoughts began to feel lighter and lighter. Before I knew it, I was smiling. There was a bit of a bounce in my walk. I said hello to an elderly gentleman and commented on the unusually warm weather we were having. As I got closer to the library, my inner being leapt out from way down in the pit of my core. I was ready to tackle the academic reading, which created a great bulk in my bag and an enormous weight on my shoulders from carrying it. And, Like a military woman sent out to accomplish an important operational task, I said aloud, and with a serious expression: “Let’s do this!”

I marched into the lobby, past the lines of people waiting to check their books out, and straight up the wide, spiral staircase. First I walked around the second level, hoping to find an empty study room. No luck. After completing a huge sweep of other sitting options, I decided to go up yet another level, to the third floor, but unfortunately, there were no study rooms available. So, I marched into the very back of the room and sat myself down into a small cubicle.

I opened my Personality Theory text. I thumbed through the pages until I came to the assigned section. I was ready! I situated my notebook so that it was in a diagonal position, which I needed in order to produce the neatest handwriting. And that’s as far as I got.

Then, without warning I was hit with a powerful realization, which pushed me up against a formidable impasse. Then, I was able to discern that it was the wrong time to do academic work. In fact, I knew that I had to set aside my intellectual pursuit to make room for my emotional capacities. What was I thinking; trying to hash out social-cognitive theory? The letters in the text came together to form words, which could have been written in Latin, because they were undecipherable (oh, had my concentration walked out on me again?) When I allowed myself to open up to the possibility of regaining my emotional dignity, I realized how little my heart had been in the pursuit of intellectual stimulation. After all, how can I make my way through chapters upon chapters of text when the thought that, ” I’m not good enough or smart enough to successfully finish my classes” dominates? I have to be emotionally strong in order to clear a path through Academia In other words, I realized that I had been going about it all wrong! I Understand that I wanted so much to make myself feel better and for that to happen, I thought I had to receive an education.

I wonder how many people, who attend Harvard Extension, face the same challenges of living with low self-efficacy? Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to accomplish things such as weight loss, tests, or quit smoking. According to an article I read, “self-efficacy theory provides basic guidelines and suggestions for becoming more confident, effective, and productive in specific areas of life and for enhancing your general sense of self-confidence, self-esteem, and personal efficacy.” Wow, the theory sounds great, doesn’t it? By the way, to answer the above question, I must agree with my darling of a husband, Eric, who said most likely, the number of students with high self-efficacy far exceeds those with low self-efficacy. I take my hat off to the students who are capable of believing in their abilities. There is no way for any of them to know how debilitating it is to not be capable of such. Perhaps Eric’s thoughts were a precedent to the epiphany that hammered at my head during that particular moment.

After I sat down in the cubicle on the third floor, realization of my mental weakness dawned on me. I thought how I was constantly on the verge of explosion. The lyrics to “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” came ringing in my head, like they were dedicated to me, from me:

I cant light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I’m growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life

It’s much too late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of life
But you misread my meaning when I met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light

Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, its always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me

Once again, I started to hope and wish for a higher power that could intercede by addressing the underlying issues, which cause my emotional well being to dwindle down. I remembered: “If the universe is for me, what can be against me?” I know that the power lingers around me, but I’ve never, at least boldly, tried to reach out and grab at it. As I sat, hidden inside the cubicle, I started to think I should.

I also realized I’m in need of a new perspective about life – one that will provide more space in the universe for me to be me! I desire, from the most abysmal part of my soul, the freedom to be who I am. Constantly, I hide my true self away out of fear that it will be rejected. I act shy. I hold back from sharing my thoughts and ideas with people; this behavior has gone on for at least ten years. It has rusted my undercarriage, like a car kept out in the winter for years and years. A new perspective would open my mind in ways I could only imagine.

I learned a lot about myself at the library that evening. My knowledge, ironically, came from within myself instead of from one of the tens of thousands of books placed, forcibly and tightly on the shelves. I was proud that I walked through the doors of that intimidating library. And even though I failed the coursework mission, I successfully explored and conquered my feelings for the first time in months, which will, subsequently, open doors to hundreds of self-realizations.

 

Advertisements