How did I get here?
That is a question I have been asking myself for the past few weeks. How did I get here?
I am not even sure why I ask that question anymore. It could be a result of depression, but depression from what? It could also be an effect of being burnt out. However I know what burnt out feels like, or at least I think I do. I don’t remember it clearly, because being burnt out is like being in labor; in that moment or couple moments that it is happening to you, you are sure you can’t handle another second of it. You want to try and laugh, or throw something across the room, but you know it won’t really help, so you bear it. You suck it up, and you count the seconds, as they go by so agonizingly slowly. You count the minutes and hours, you fall asleep without knowing how you got to bed and you breathe through the pain until it passes. And just like labor, once it’s passed, you forget. And you decide to have another baby, or put yourself in a similar situation as is the case with me. And then the cycle starts happening again.
So again, I ask myself… how did I get here? To be honest, I am not sure when it began, but it was sometime within the past year. There are a few moments that I can pick that could be that moment.
Could it be that time when I prayed, seriously prayed and asked God to let me have it? I actually don’t remember that moment, where I was or what time of the day it was, I just remember praying so hard about it. I remember asking God to show me what my path should be.
Or was it the time, on the plane, when I was flying back from Miami? I clearly remember this moment; the sky was my favorite shade of pink. The kind of pink you see in a perfectly grilled salmon, it was that kind of pink that makes your heart melt like a baby’s skin. That pink that reminds you of a sweet innocent moment; your first kiss kind of pink. I was a few thousand miles off the ground, the day was half gone, and “if I lose myself tonight” by one republic was playing for the 100th or so time that weekend. I had never felt so at peace. That moment was as peaceful as that morning, which I spent on the ocean front watching the sun rise. I knew, on that plane that after the month of April, my old life would end.
And end it did. My life that is.
I remember the moment I held the letter in my hands. I was sitting in the car, staring at it, wondering how it would change my life; the contents of the letter. I knew it would, without a doubt, whether or not it was good or bad was remaining to be seen. I remember thinking, how could such a small piece of paper have such a big effect in my life? I’m looking at that letter now, as I ponder how my life has in fact changed. It’s hanging, on a tack board on my wall, surrounded by all the small moments that have defined my life. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back track to that early summer day.
My lungs were on fire, I could barely catch my breath, and my heart felt like it was going to explode into a thousand pieces in my chest. I ran like I’d never ran before, I was running towards my future. I yanked the doors to the management building open. I could barely hear myself asking Sandy to open the doors to my old apartment over the roaring of my heart. She couldn’t open the doors fast enough for me, I could see the mailbox through the glass doors – 402 — that was the mailbox that could held my future. I could feel my heart now in my throat as I shoved past her while she pulled the mailbox key out from the bunch. I must have prayed a hundred silent prayers in my head.
And then, the small door was opened.
I pulled the mail out and went through weeks worth of unopened mail… and there it was. The letter. The one I had agonized, prayed, smiled over. The one that held my future. I remember taking it, and my heart did explode into tiny pieces that spread across my face in a smile. My heart was in my smile, which was directed at that letter. My life was changing.
“Did you find it?” my sister’s voice made me look up from the letter. She was standing by our gray neon dodge, which I had carelessly parked in the middle of a side street in my hurry.
“I found it!” I yelled, jumping.
“Well open it, dude, did you get in?” She was already half way back in the car when she said this. I could tell she was just as nervous and excited as I was. As I settled myself back in the car, I mentally told myself that it would be alright if I didn’t make it. I would be perfectly fine continuing my dreams in the operating room as the leader of the ENT department. I would be just fine.
“Dude, just open it already.” Her voice sliced through my thoughts. I carefully ripped the side of the envelop, so as not to damage any part of the letter. And then I slid the thin piece of paper out. Now, just to warn you, this isn’t your typical college application letter, where a thin letter meant rejection and a thick envelop meant acceptance. No, this was all different. The feeling was different, even the warmth of the summer sun, as it bathed my skin through the front wind shield did nothing to help ease the excitement.
I don’t remember reading the words, I remember my eyes gliding over the sentences and my sister saying “YOU GOT IN!!!” she was always a faster reader than I was. But I remember reading the words over and over again, trying to find the words congratulations or you have been accepted. And when I found them on that piece of paper, I screamed! I screamed my head heart out and my sister was saying something but my brain was too busy thinking “I did it! I did it! Thank you God!”
That must have been it. It was that moment, on that warm early summer day, in May that my life took a whole new direction. My life from the outside in looks perfect. But from the inside out, I was lost.