This semester has been rough. That’s the nicest way I’ll put that. No one factor made it rough, but then again, when things are rough, it is rarely for just one reason. To sum it up, I took some difficult classes, held executive positions in both student government and a social club, was in a Makin’ Music cast, and served as a seamstress for said Makin’ Music cast. I had all sorts of crazy things going on in my family life, I was working part time, and I was struggling with the depression end of bipolar. By the end of the semester I was burned out, wound tighter than a compressed spring, and stuck in a cycle of anxiety that I coped with by sleeping, watching Netflix, and obsessively reblogging things on Tumblr.
I was a mess.
Then, finals were over. I finished packing up my car, and on Friday, May 16th, I hit the road. I was headed to the Carolinas to spend the summer with my grandmother again, and even though I know that is going to have a whole lot of stress that goes with it, as I got further from school, I started feeling better. It was me, my music, and the road. By the time I hit Atlanta, I was belting to music and just felt joyous. I was asking myself questions, and thinking “Oh, I should research that this summer,” or “Hmm, that’s an interesting thought, I’ll have to see what So-and-so thinks of it” and all kinds of things.
That drive allowed me to clear my head, and drop some of the baggage off on the side of the road. I’ve been thinking about baggage a lot recently. I helped with a Ladies’ Day in Hohenwald, TN in April, and we did a modified rendition of the Skit Guy’s video “Baggage.” I played the main character, the one who had all the baggage. It hit close to home, because I carry a LOT of baggage. I like to think I carry less than I used to, and I probably do, but I still have a lot of it, and I don’t know when I’m going to get rid of it all.
I left some of it on the road though.
I realized how therapeutic long drives are.
They aren’t that way for some people, and that’s okay. Driving isn’t the only thing I find therapeutic. I went to the ocean on Tuesday night, and I frolicked in the waves for a while like a 5 year old. I didn’t go out very far, (mostly because I’m afraid of being bitten by a shark, even though that isn’t very likely to happen) but I waded far enough to wave jump and swim around a little bit and get thoroughly soaked by the tide washing in. I felt free, like I did when I drove from school to my grandmother’s. I felt alive, and whole. I sang “Step By Step” and I talked to God, and showed Him the joy that I had again.
There isn’t a whole lot to be done about the past. It’s over and done with. Learn from past mistakes. Stepping out from your comfort zone and asking for help when you need it, saying no, and maintaining boundaries are all lessons I had pounded into me this semester. Those three things were more important than all the lessons I learned in my classes. And stepping away from that experience and doing some self-care has got me back to relatively normal.
Find the things that are therapeutic for you, and do those things from time to time. Do something to get yourself out of the rut. Work in the yard, read a book, do something spontaneous, take a drive. Do something that will relax you, something that is fulfilling. Sometimes you have to push through the bad times first, but once that time passes, do something you enjoy. God got you through the rough patch, do something to show Him your joy. Create something. Serve someone. Encourage others. Spend time doing something productive.
Whatever you find therapeutic.
That’s the lesson I learned from a long drive and a trip to the beach.