Saturday, February 15, 2014

The very slow

Spring came last Sunday and then it was gone. I went for a long bike ride with a girl named Holli. It was warm and sixty degrees out. We pedaled for miles, in short sleeves up a winding road to a junction of trails on the top of a mountain. From there we could see all of Asheville and the surrounding county, miles of bare trees beneath a blue sky.

The snow came on Wednesday, and the town shut down for days.
I loved the coziness, the park at night filled with people hollering and sliding on their odd assortment of makeshift sleds- cookie trays and canoes amongst them, but I no longer want school to be shut down. It just slow things down.

I want to go to school. I want to get through the text book as fast as possible. I want to finish this class and the next and the next, get into nursing school and then finish nursing school and become a nurse so that I can have a good income and be able to finally buy that really expensive blender that everyone has now.

You know the one.

But I'm at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom. I'm at the cellular level, chiseling away at things I learned in high school. Not that I can remember them, but I feel so thrown back. So completely humbled.

I'm starting all over with school, with my career, with these big pieces of my life. I go to community college in a mountain town in a state where I have no roots. The first day of class the professor asked if anyone had children, and just about every girl raised her hand. I have no children. And I have to study and study just to keep up. It feels surreal; I already went to college, I already have a degree. That doesn't matter. Being back in school is putting me in my place.

Silks is putting me in my place as well, which is to say it's kicking the shit out of me.
I love the nights spent at the aerial studio, with my instructor and a few other girls, the mirrored walls and the blue fabric hanging from the ceiling. It's been so cold at night and it's so nice to be in bright spaces. But it's hard, it's a harder sport than I ever imagined. And it hurts. It leaves angry burns behind your knees and across your chest. When Andrew pushes the knee of an upside down girl tightly against the silk you can hear her wince and cry out.

He'll say, "Don't worry, the spot will desensitize soon."

He told me I needed to wear cotton pants when I get to level two, because some of the drops are so fast they will cause polyester fabric to melt onto your skin.

When I first started, I didn't believe the twisted fabric could hold me up, so I clenched the silks in a death grip. I tried to fake my way through the climbs and poses by using all strength and no technique. The girls around me are doing mid-air splits and arching their legs above their heads, grabbing their feet.  I started waking up in the morning with stiff, swollen fingers. I would have to stop silks altogether if I didn't learn to let go.
I thought that because I already had a college degree, I'd never have to worry about registration dates and advisors and study guides again. I thought I'd already proved to the world that I was smart and responsible and that ought to be enough.

I thought that because I've been climbing for so long and people tell me I look strong, that I'd sail through aerial and blow everyone's mind and be asked to join the company. But I struggle with knee hooks and basic climbs, and I have to be reminded to breathe and to put my tongue back in my mouth, because it's an art, not a sport.

Starting is the most difficult part. Everything seems overwhelming and impossible. And I've started, thank goodness. But the long road to nursing school, the steady but so far paltry accumulation of knowledge, the painful practicing and tedious repetition of basic moves in the aerial studio, it all seems like very slowest process in the world.
I enjoy it mostly, even if it doesn't sound like I do. I love spending hours at the cafe in West Asheville, drinking coffee and coloring in sections of the human body. It reminds me of Seattle, of writing papers at Zokas at a huge wooden table with my friends studying at my side. But it's different this time, of course. And I feel like I need to rush, to get it done, like I've stared far too late and I'm already so far behind.

But there really is no speeding it up, there is only the very slow, the head down, the day by day.


Susan S said...

Melina, I'm 47 and working on my degree in health information management. I have an associate's in random studies, but this is my first degree proper. I am working full time and going to school half time, and it is blistering my biscuits. Solidarity, sister!

Susan S said...

Melina, I'm 47, and I'm working on my degree in Health Information Management. I have an associate's in random studies, but this will be my first degree proper. Right now, I'm studying public health statistics and database management systems. I suppose there are some people who are fascinated by this, but they aren't me. I'm working full time, going to school half time, and it's blistering my biscuits. Solidarity, sister!

Alice said...

I chose to go to nursing school as my second career, unmarried, no kids, and in my late 20's. It was an eye-opening experience but I trudged through, have been an ICU nurse for 4 years and am now applying for grad schools (including Western Carolina!). Nursing school will be one of the hardest things (mentally) you ever do but you seem like you'd be the perfect person to do it so keep your eye on the goal and you will make it!

R y Recker said...

Melina, I know what you mean I just got into pta School and so nervous that I'm going to be only one unsupported. To old to be taken care of by parents and to young to be married, and I so badly just want it to be over before it's begun so I can have a career and money to do my sports and trips!

aimee said...

There is no such thing as to late. There will always be someone ahead of you, higher on the career path, married for longer, kids or more kids, further up the property ladder, richer, thinner, blonder, smarter, fitter, etc etc.

It doesn't matter. We are where we are because of the road we take, and we cannot regret that road because it has led us to this point, to the people and places. The ups and downs are a part of you.

Enjoy the process, not just the expectation of the destination.

Karen Travels said...

What a lovely post - congrats on starting over. I would be one of those people raising my hands for "wish children" I wonder how many are single . .. I was thinking of getting another masters degree before my little came along . . . but no rush . . .

Asheville is my dream town, btw!! Love the pics. Hope to get there someday. p.s. Charlotte totally shut down too with the snow! But spring is coming this week!!

Jill said...

Melina, I needed to hear this today. Grad school is kicking my butt- I am burned out, burned up, and overwhelmed. A good reminder- that the process is what counts. Most days it doesn't feel that way, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one! Good to hear your voice again, friend.

Sian said...

You inspire me always. You always walk towards what is difficult with honesty, with a humble heart and with strength. Even when you dont think you are strong you are xxx

CaliGal said...

Sweetie....have faith in knowing you're exactly where you need to be, with the people you were destined to be with and doing exactly what needs to be done. Your goals are set and now you're just doing the work. But oh, the rewards that lie ahead of you, girl!! :D I'm very happy for you! It won't be long before your caring touch, knowledge and expertise will comfort and help those who are really hurting and in need of your assistance. It's not easy work and I feel that those that are called to this type of work are precious and very special. Kudos to you kiddo! Everything will come together. Don't be in such a rush to move your life along. Enjoy every step! You're on your way, babe. :)

Christal said...

54 & 1 credit from just the associates degree. Some days it's hard to keep going, but others I revel in the knowledge I'm accumulating. If I could, I think I'd always be taking just one more class except they'd probably be more esoteric and creative.

Anonymous said...

Learning never stops. Great reminder and just the kick in the pants I needed to hit the books. Keep it up!!!