Cue the highlight reel.
On June 12th, 2016, I put on my liquor-stained cap and gown and marched across the stage to get my diploma, hangover be damned. It was a day of celebration, reflection, and too many margaritas, but an overwhelming sense of apprehension lurked underneath. I was terrified of the real world ahead, but so excited to see what life had in store.
Don’t worry, I got that sappy shit beaten out of me pretty good.
A year later, and I’m a little worse for wear. Some people drink to deal with their problems, some clean aggressively, and some write snarky, self-deprecating anecdotes to publish on the Internet. Guess which one I am?
There’s less in this category than I would like to admit. Truth be told, nearly all of my happy memories from the past year involve someone I shall not name, so I’ll focus on the basics. I have my health, I make (barely) enough to live on, and my family has been supportive of my choices. I had some fun dinners with the few friends I have here. The woman I rent a room from is always kind to me.
As I’ve stated before, I really struggled socially this year. Making friends as an adult is hard. I completely took the built-in peer network of college life for granted, and the absence of that safety net hit me hard. The people I live with aren’t the same age as me, and navigating the social order of my various workplaces is a job in itself.
Mind you, I tried the volunteering thing. I tried to volunteer for an animal rescue organization (only to find out it’s way the hell out in the San Fernando Valley) and for a women’s center (only to find out it would be months before I could even go to the orientation). Thus far, it’s been a bust.
Look at the time, it’s Oversharing-o-Clock!™
I’m not going to lie, the past 12 months have been some of the hardest of my life. I don’t mean “hard” in the grand scheme of things- I don’t have some inspiring tragic tale about beating an incurable disease or getting my dream job against all odds, but I do think I hold the record for number of in-car sobbing sessions (both moving and parked).
Less than two months ago, I hit a major breaking point. Between several doomed professional situations, crippling loneliness, and a bad breakup, I had the rug ripped out from under me. The little semblance of a life I had haphazardly scrapped together completely crumbled. I spent every night crying my eyes raw and whispering “I am stupid, I am naive, I am a failure.” I was stupid for not finding a better way to make friends, naive for trusting someone and being in a relationship, and a failure for taking all those ill-fated positions.
I felt lost and alone. I still do. The glass ecosystem that was my self-esteem shattered, and I’m still pricking my fingers picking up the pieces. I had to confront a lot of ugly truths about the decisions that had led me here, as well as a lot of ugly truths about myself. Maybe if I had more self-esteem, I would have been able to walk away from people I knew were just using me. Maybe if I wasn’t so impulsive, I wouldn’t have taken that one position and waited for a better offer. I found myself perched on an earth-toned office couch, staring at a wall, as the pantsuit figure sitting opposite me asked “so, what are you going to do?”
I’m not there yet. I’m a work in progress. But I’m trying.
To see how I was doing six months ago, click here.
Twitter: @qhopp | Instagram: @quinn_madelaine | quinnhopp.com