Different This Time Around

My left knee hurts as I march across campus. The sun beats down on my skin and I sweat through my shirt, wondering to myself: why don’t I carry an umbrella like my roommate suggested? It really won’t help that much, I remind myself. I sweat bullets.

And already I carry too much shit in my bag.

Oh my bag. It’s the one I got from a Britney Spears concert years ago. Fact is, the bag is falling apart. Old, beaten up. Reminds me of me, on my worst days. There is a hole in the bottom of it, so now I only use one small pocket in the front for the items that are big enough not to fall through the hole. My change, gum, asthma inhaler, and countless pens have been lost in the past few weeks.

School, for me anyway, doesn’t start for a few months. But I needed to get myself adjusted to this huge campus all over again. The fact of the matter is I haven’t been in school for three years. That’s three years of not writing essays, not reading assigned books, not going to class, not staying up all night studying, not doing homework, not getting lost on campus, and not sucking up to teachers.

Three years is a long time. But I have missed this life every single day I haven’t been here.

So here I am, back on campus, attempting to get readjusted.

My therapist suggested that I try this during the summer break. She suggested that I go to campus, walk around, sit and think, read, work on projects, and write before I decide to attend school again. Her suggestion made sense, I mean the last time I was here I nearly always had a panic attack. It was horrible. Granted that was back when my abusive, ex-boyfriend lived on campus. I was terrified to see him, and even more terrified for him to see me.

So I dropped out. I stayed away; I even moved from Arizona to get a better idea of who I was, to heal and to feel safe. Rumor on the street is that my ex has left this state. Rumor is he is far gone. Well, today, as I walked across campus, I noticed that construction had taken hold of a good chunk of the center of Arizona State University, but what remains is something that looks like a place I once knew.

I walked by my exes old dorm entrance, right where he and I once shared a cigarette and he told me that he never loved me. That memory would have driven me into a week long depression, made me break down, unable to function. But today, I didn’t so much as flinch. I did think about the memory, then I thought about classes, and all the writing I needed to do to prepare for my creative writing degree. He really is just a memory. A memory that really doesn’t mean a thing.

When I was an undergrad in the past, I didn’t take it seriously. I did anything I could to stay out of the classroom. But now, as I prepare to finish up my degree, there is no other place I would rather be. It’s going to be different this time around, and I am more than excited for it to begin.

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