Dinoaur Breath
By Irish McKilligan
Published on 10/3/2010
Seems like that could smell really rotten and foul... or it could be a sign that you're breathing or maybe you need to breathe...

This semester has stunk.  I love my tutoring job, my advisor, there's a couple of new face whose name I know.... and other than that... it's been pretty stinky.

Financial aid forgot to give me my aid package and by the time I got it and realized I'm about $3000 short per semester... I reached a total panic.  On top of it all, my efforts to communicate were heavily thwarted by my phone service not working in any continual fashion (and still isn't).  I'm trying to sell what few possession I've got worth sellling.  I need another job and am running out of ideas on where to look.  I can pick up a few extra hours at the college, but blast .... I got sick again.  Wonderful.  I am angry that I'm struggling as much as I am in college, but the struggle isn't so much the's how inaccessible everything is to the student.  Basic information takes days and mutliple meetings to get one simple form filled out.  No one at work is really taking ownership of the work, so you carry form to office and so forth.  I can't find people, people set up meetings for me without asking if I'm available.  It took 2 weeks to have a 5 minute meeting with one person and the teacher who is two lessons behind grading my assignments can't seem to figure out why I'm failing tests over material I'm two weeks behind on OR give me break or even extra homework to get the content.  So my "a" average is now a "d to c" average. 

Why is that?  Well, I'm so stressed out wondering if I'm going to have a roof over my head & where that roof might be and how I might get my things moved - particularly the heavy things - that I don't rest, I have lost my appetite, and what spare time I have is spent in meetings, looking for work and, of course..... worrying. 

I don't have the gift of telling myself it will all be fine.  I don't have the privilege of telling myself "be strong for the kids or the spouse" either.  It's amazing how isolating it can be to have no visitors, no tv, no radio... only the sound of the voice in your head.  A sound I'd like to turn off alot lately.  The few people I can manage to get on the phone I'm either following up on bills or paperwork or redialing because I'm disconnected..... or trying to touch base until I'm disconnected.  I've frankly given up on calling to see or tell anyone how anything is. 

No wonder people in the mountains developed cabin fever.  With all today's technology, have we developed a new "social fever"?  It's so easy to disconnect, that we almost don't know how to reconnect. 

I'm so upset about my grades, about my lack of job options and my lack of guidance at the college and the struggles with financial aid that I'm literally having nightmares.  My dog surely thinks I have gone nuts.  It seems pretty ironic that you can work your butt off to get good grades so you can get grants and scholarships only to have them work against you in that you actually net less of a budget - or at least according to this particular college.  I get that the school has a budget, I don't know if it is the same for every person.....what I don't get is that if you have grants and scholarships to pay for college, why they then take any other fund away from you as though the cost of living just went down.  Your cost of living is the same, those things helped with the cost of school.... but nothing else. 

I'm really upset that most of the meetings at college have largely been to appease me as though I'm some doofus who didn't notice that my loan is $2000 less than the max and no one bothered to tell me.  Even when I was prepared to adjust to that, living on my $13,000 a year, they have me sign loan documents and then don't give me the Award package or the loan.  I'm just waiting for Acme Brick, the Road Runner and Wylie Coyote to show up... .this HAS to be a cartoon?!!! 

So then I watch this movie called "My name is Khan".  It's moving, it's good and it covers a multitude of emotions about 911, religion, mixed marriage, mixed religious homes, small towns, big cities, death, guilt, innocence and more.  It makes you think and feel and its worth watching twice because it is so thought provoking.

I want to be his kind of person "Khan".  A line is this movie I saw called Ondine, the preacher says "misery is easy, happiness is hard" or something like that.  I thought... oh yes... and we all have misery and no tolerance for anyone else's and this is why it is so hard to reach past our own misery to help others out of, with or during their misery.  And this is what I'm missing.  I don't have a circle of friends who need me for anything anymore, there's nothing to draw me outside of myself or my thoughts.  There's no charity event to participate in and feel good about giving something back, even if it's just my time and my heart. 

There's nothing lately but me and my miserable life full of worry about how I'm going to take care of me.  And that movie "My name is Khan" made me realize that people with spouses and children and families and support systems make it through their misery because they stop in, check up on you, have a meal, make you laugh at the most awful time, make fun of you, help you let go of the baggage or help you carry it..... they journey through life's trials with you.  This is what I'm missing.  Where are the passenger's on the train of my life's journey?  Can anyone see me and would you want to?  Would you look at me like this guy Khan and say "wow, this person is a good person"..... or would you say... "shut up already".  Does this persons disability help you forgive his otherwise peculiar actions or help him get further along in his journey?  You want the best for him and I wonder.... who doI want the best for?  Does anyone want the best for me?  

Am I just whining in this blog about my experiences or am I truly bringing about some change?  Am I just changing me?  Have I encouraged anyone to return to school despite the difficulties?  Have I encouraged anyone to perservere?  Or am I just a whining person with a free forum hoping for change, hoping for a hope.... 

Sometimes I want to scream "do you see me?" or "do I matter?"  Then I wonder if the question is suppose to be directed at the world or me or both.  And then I realize I'm just alone too much.  It's hard to get along in this world alone all the time.  It's not that no one cares about me, it's that have so little contact with the outside world right now if anyone does care... I cannot hear, see or feel it and that feels bad.  

People say "it's all going to work out".  That is an incomplete thought though, because it may work out alright.... it's just that we have no idea how or when; that is the part that keeps me up.  I don't want to fail or barely pass my courses and I don't want to wind up homeless.  I want a life I am proud of again.  I want enough money to take someone to dinner and donate to a few charities or take a sad friend to dinner, I want to have a social life and I want to be filled with joy about college and I want to get my degree and get to work doing what I love and I want to be busy and travel and have adventures big and small.

Breath Dinosaur..... or am I breathing too hard?  Maybe I'm just raw and need to have fire breathed on me to warm me up?  My bones are shivering with the thoughts in my head, what next...oh pray tell what next.  Please let something work out, let me find the peace of mind to get my grades up and let me find a way to support myself through school.....  

What is that poem by Robert Frost... two roads diverged the wood and I... I chose the one less traveled by.  I wish there was a bit more traffic, perhaps I would not feel such solitude and uncertainty.