living in my head

" groans are many and my heart is faint." -Lamentations 1:22

I'm frustrated with life right now. I'm very mad at one of my best friends and I can't imagine a way of becoming un-mad. Another of my best friends seems to be very unhappy and I can't figure out why or devise a way of making it better. I got lectured today about the ungrateful child that I apparently am, and I feel guilty all over again for what I've put my parents through but also annoyed by the nature of said lecture. I think I'm categorically different from the rest of my family--much less practical, which is probably a bad thing. In the words of my beloved Augusten Burroughs, "I live in my head." There's so much to do in there (I've come to the conclusion that my brain contains much more of my favorite neurotransmitter, dopamine, than most people's), and the outside world is infinitely less interesting. The real world--the world where the most important thing is whether or not my car is clean--is an awful bore. Why should I bother with washing my car when there are poems to be read, dreams to be interpreted, theological issues to be pondered? I'm ridiculous, probably, but if so, I'm not so much frustrated with how ridiculous I am as with the fact that everyone else isn't ridiculous too.

Yet another wedding weekend has come and gone. It seems like all I've done this summer is watch my friends get married, and it's obviously very exciting, but it's pretty weird, too. I think my current circumstances make it especially bittersweet, because while I'm very happy for all my friends who are moving on to bigger and better things in life, these celebrations are also powerful reminders of the fact that I'm not moving on to anything bigger or better, or anything at all, really. It's like I'm standing still on the side of the highway because my car (you know, the dirty one) broke down, and I have to wait for someone to come and fix it, and in the meantime, I just get to watch everyone else pass me by. Sometimes I just want to whine about it, to utter those terribly immature words: "it's not fair."

Similarly, I've become increasingly frustrated with our society's tendency to define people based on what they do rather than who they are. This issue is one that has bothered me for a long time, but its destuctiveness has taken on a new level of clarity for me recently, because now, when I'm defined by what I do, I'm being defined, essentially, by nothing, because that's what I'm doing with my life right now. In the past week, I've visited with two different sets of family members who are/were visiting from out of town, and it has been quite awkward. Normally, they'd ask me about school, but since I'm not in school for right now, there's really nothing to talk about. My great aunt and uncle spent about an hour talking to my brother about his engineering classes and his medical school plans while I just sat there, feeling invisible. I can't blame them, really, because they really don't know me, but it was difficult nonetheless. Yes, I am taking a necessary break from being a student, but I am not, for the record, taking a break from being a human being with worthwhile thoughts. And to make this whole exchange worse, one of my most-loved family members (maybe the nicest person I know, really) said something that really hurt my feelings. While my aunt and uncle were talking to my brother about how he might end up as a hugely successful physician in Houston (where they live), she threw in, "If Sara ever finishes, maybe she can work on their minds!" If I ever finish. I hadn't realized that there was any question in my family's mind that I will finish, that I will do what I have planned to do. I know she didn't mean it how it came out, but it left me feeling like she has very little faith in me; it left me feeling (as if I didn't already) like the Black Sheep of the family: Alex will be a doctor, and maybe someday Sara might be a therapist. I am going to be a therapist someday, and I'm going to be a damn good one. It is not a possibility or a maybe. I know this. But still, that "if" has been echoing in my head over and over, and I need it to stop.