A Continuing Education
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Politics and Activism

A Continuing Education

A first semester in graduate school

A Continuing Education

I can’t talk like I used to. I can’t form sentences; can’t express thoughts.

Everyone tells me I’m “growing up,” but this never seemed as cold as the snow drooling downward from the Manhattan skyline.

So I come home, hang up my keys, run over to the sink – wash my hands. Never let the dirty subway contaminate blissful thoughts in an apartment with old pipes, brick walls, and the window with a view.

Remind myself that this is rent I cannot pay and proceed to peruse the fridge. Always odd, my food habits seem to change when I feel fewer options are afforded to me. No more cereal or cow’s milk: things go bad so quickly.

I got bad so quickly.

Walking over to the “fun house” mirror in my living room, I notice the change in my perception. It’s the warping of my thoughts as the movements shift. Up or down – the waviness of a concept. Left or right – the widening of the void.

They call this distortion, I believe. A frame for it: positively challenging.

Is graduate school in a city like New York positively challenging distortion?

Distractions appear in the fractions of the evenings typically spent watching infomercials or listening to religious zealots. Well, in suburbia, that is.

I woke up twice in the middle of the night – frenzied and afraid. Twice. One semester. Maybe the tears refused a pushdown. Push them down,

And down.

And further down.

So dark they surpass the subway in depth. They go beyond the holes that rats scurry. Taking their garbage with them.

Perhaps I am stuck in a rut, and my rut is one of those holes. Swoosh me down with the rainwater on the tracks. I am the gutter rat.

There are extremes, but both make coping harder.

You found yourself in the lowest of the low; you exalted the highest high.

It is a case of the between. You hate being back in your lows and depressed in your highs. Feelings and emotions may be on a continuum but your tolerance for bullshit is not.

Develop apathy? Melancholy? What out of your bag of feels can you grab with convenience because you’ve got a subway to catch to that place uptown so you can go wash your hands again, give this thought process a go once more.

Huh. It got pretty bad there. Sitting on the orange seat next to the red seat next to the person reading the news deemed “fake” in the “fake” newspaper. I need a distraction or I will faint on this train. No one can know. No one.

One step onto the platform — high five yourself. You made it. I reward myself with a deep breath — consciously forced. Those past ten minutes seem real quick when you are not breathing.

I come back, sit my backpack against the whitewashed walls of an apartment room, and I wash my hands.

Let’s start this over again.

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