As with any post that contains incredibly personal themes, I must preface the blog with this: I am okay and I do not want you to ask me if I’m okay or talk about my mental health to other people without my permission. Good? Good.
So here’s the story.
I woke up and the weather app told me that today was going to be the best day in a couple months. The temperature was a glorious number of 64 degrees and I had my favorite class later. It was going to be a perfect day.
If you know me you’ll know I’m addicted to traveling but I also crave the same places over and over. My top favorite place in the world is the UK, specifically London, and I’ve wanted to live there for pretty much my entire life. My dream has always been Oxford. The problem was until today that dream was just that, a dream. I never thought it was possible or realistic, it was just an idea for the perfect world.
You may also know that I recently transferred schools. In 2016 I left the University of Arkansas and in 2017 I enrolled at Texas A&M University. So far this change has been amazing. The classes are definitely harder and the campus isn’t as pretty, but it’s still been incredible and I do enjoy being here (and proclaiming that I’m a 2 percenter every Saturday).
So today, half for fun and half because it’s time to seriously look into my graduate school options, I looked up the Oxford and Cambridge programs and their requirements. Based loosely on the words I read on the screen, I met every single requirement while I was at Arkansas.
I don’t meet a single one anymore.
This is for a variety of issues that range from A&M not offering my minor, to not having enough time to finish with Honors, to classes simply being more difficult and my grades reflecting that.
Even though Oxford was always a dream, suddenly I realized it could have been a reality if I had stayed at Arkansas. (Or, more truthfully, it had more likelihood of being a reality).
From there, I spiraled. You know, the normal stuff that we ALL think and struggle with. I’m not good at this or that. I make bad decisions. I make mistakes. I lose literally everything. I’m fill-in-the-blank-with-a-lie-from-the-enemy.
To try and work out some of this anxiety, I went on a run. The problem was, I paused to text all these thoughts out to my mom (because you can’t text your mom “why do I ruin everything” without her expecting a detailed explanation) and in doing so, I ended up having a full on panic attack. Chest tightening, can’t draw in breaths, legs don’t move, world is out of focus, the whole gosh darn package.
I had to sit on the sidewalk to try and catch my breath and work through the panic attack and while I was sitting, a little puppy ran across the parking lot and jumped in my arms, licking the tears off my face.
(another piece of Madison information: I love dogs a ridiculous amount)
This dog was incredibly sweet and both well fed and groomed but he didn’t have a collar on. I could see the impression in his fur where a collar must sit most of the time so I knew he had an owner somewhere but I was in the middle of an apartment complex, so how was I supposed to find his family?
I start walking around, asking strangers if they know who’s dog this is. My limbs are weak and my eyes are probably puffy and red from the tears, but my chest isn’t tight anymore. I can breath and I have the sweetest dog ever licking my face while I walk.
I ended up finding his owner, she was driving around frantic looking for Hercules (that’s his name) and was incredibly thankful when I handed him over.
I finished my run with the fastest mile time yet outside.
I took a breath and cleaned my face.
Life doesn’t usually go how we plan. Sometimes we have to transfer colleges or move somewhere new, even if we don’t want to. Sometimes we screw up and lose our roommate’s cups. Sometimes things happen to us through no fault of our own.
But that doesn’t mean everything is screwed up forever. It doesn’t mean the future is ruined and you don’t deserve to be loved.
God knew how much that puppy would lighten my heart in that moment. He knew I needed a little joy and the puppy, Hercules, would bring it. He always seems to be there for us and today, it was through a lost puppy.
Hercules represented a promise to me. A promise of a future that will be better than I had planned. A promise that I am loved more than I realize. A promise that I am not dictated by my own mistakes and panics.
A promise that this isn’t the end and there is so much more to come.