Friday, January 28, 2011

The other Linda

I was surprised at my reaction this past week after visiting my alma matter. I'm naturally sappy and cry at commercials and everything from made-for-tv movies to Undercover Boss. If there's a sad story, a happy ending or a message of hope I weep. I'm a weeper. So, it should have been no surprise that I found a few tears after visiting my girl crush, Nancy Burt. In case you didn't know, I heart her.

After getting my bearings about me, having not been inside for oh so many years, I found my feet knew the way to the same hallways that I spent three years of my academic career. I touched the locker where I stored the heavy audio visual equipment I used to do mock interviews. I visited my old newsroom where we laid out the weekly newspaper by hand, only to find that the semester after I left they upgraded to Mac computers. Mac for everyone! I also got caught up with Nancy and picked her brain for what my next step and the step after I should take. So, now with continuing education brochures and a thought to attaining my Masters, I'm hyped. Hepped. Inspired. Giddy really. There is a light and I'm running towards it.

My friend Anasatan reminded me of something today. She reminded me to walk before I run. To realize that Rome wasn't built in a day and I shouldn't expect everything to fall into place at once. She's right. But I'm still giddy. I was even giddier when I got an email today, a response from an email inquiry I sent in hopes of securing employment with the college. It's for freelance right now and I have to offer examples of my photography skills, which have been non-existent lately, but I'm still excited. And nervous. And I have butterflies trapped in my gut that may make me spew.

It reminded me of the time, way back in the day, in my second year when I got trapped in the bathroom with a psychopath. Her name was Linda and she was in my class. She was also drunk, having admitted to being on the bottle for about a day and a half, and she was upset over something. Her temper was known. She was much older and had seen a lot of life, even then. Life had not been good, and although she was trying to turn her life around (she was in college as a mature student, after all) but she had inner demons. I don't know exactly what they were (I couldn't understand her slurring), but I knew she was in the throws of a meltdown and I was in her path.

I have the same feeling in my gut as I had that day. I wanted to help Linda but I didn't know how. I didn't know the right thing to say and no matter what I did - comfort her, offer her water, offer to take her home to sleep it off, nothing worked. Instead, I called in an instructor for help. Just like I called Nancy, and Terri, and Carey and Judy. Just like I sent emails to a college dean and former instructor now editor for any job opportunities. I felt myself sinking further and I reached past my comfort zone for help. And, I'm getting it unlike Linda who ended up dropping out.

I'm not sure where she is right now. I actually hadn't thought of her in years, not since I had heard rumours of her ultimate demise... death. I'm not sure if it's true. I hope not. But, I also realize that I have started to take the steps to shake my own demons without going down the same road - to harness the butterflies in my stomach and quiet my feelings of self-doubt.

I used to look at Linda and see a crazy person. Now as I recall her I see myself, just another person trying to fight off her inner demons. Bless you Linda, wherever you ended up.

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