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IN MY SNAIL ERA
i am right on time
Hi, sweet beans. Thanks for reading Healing Field Notes, a newsletter I send out twice a month. This newsletter will always be a free offering. However, consider a paid subscription if you’d like to support my writing.
I’ve been working towards a bachelor’s degree and wove in and out of taking classes since 2012. I failed out community college twice, took a break to pursue a writing career, moved cities three times, went back to three different colleges, switched majors about six times, and finally graduated 10 days ago with a B.A. in Communication with an Interpersonal emphasis.
Going to school was never something I wanted to do. I didn’t graduate high school, clawed toward a GED, and resisted community college in the first place. But my grandmother, who helped cosign my first apartment, made it a requirement to get an education if she would help me escape my parents. I spent the next decade fumbling in and out of degrees that I hated, wasn’t good at, and wasn’t interested in. I lied to her about being in school for 2 whole years. After she passed and I took some time off, I decided that school was something I wanted to pursue. Despite failing out and botching a few degree plans, I had accumulated enough credits to refocus and graduate after healing my GPA.
There is so much to say about privilege and access in academia. I could tell you how I passed so many classes by the skin of my teeth after my chronic illness diagnosis. I want to tell you that financial access to school due to generational wealth is something I do not take for granted. I want to tell you that being an “expert” or having the “credentials” to speak on something is classist and elitist. I know all of this, and I’ve been working towards graduating, not as something I necessarily need in my field, but as something I wanted to do for myself. Because it’s true, I like learning. I liked the container that college offered for discussions and questioning. I wanted to heal my relationship with learning and find ways to make learning work for me.
It’s been 10 days since I walked across the graduation stage, and everyone keeps asking, “What’s next?” Sure, I could tell you I am excited to have more space to write, nurture my freelance career, launch a business and my book, go on tour, post some fun videos on the internet, teach workshops, relaunch office hours, and be the creative I know I can be.
But in the same way I wasn’t ready for school and was forced into what’s next, I find myself rejecting “what’s next.” I’m moving slowly. I’m in my snail era. I’m excited to travel to California in June, move toward a regular journaling practice, retrain my body to fall asleep before 1am, speak nicer to myself, and resist the urgency of next and sit in the now.
When Nic and Bud came into town, we went on a hike by the Mississippi River, and on our way to the shore, we saw a snail on the trail. When we hiked back to our car, the snail had barely moved, and I said, “Relatable.” The next day, Nic and I got tattoos, and they got a caterpillar to honor the bug kid in them–but also to honor the now. They remind me I don’t have to be the butterfly. I don’t even have to be in the chrysalis. I can be a cute little caterpillar and that is enough. I can be both snail and caterpillar, easing my way toward the next thing and stopping whenever my body needs it.
I get the impulse to ask about what’s next. I feel it in my body, but I, like everyone, am unlearning hustle culture. I am trying to rebuild what “productivity” means to me. I am allowing myself to welcome dreams and visions. I am listening to‘s new podcast and dreaming of all the beginnings that are to come. But what I have learned about unraveling the shame of finishing college 10 years later than I was “supposed to” is that there is no such thing as “supposed to.” I am right on time.
Honor your snail era
Move slow and stop when you need it
Your butterfly phase is yet to come
Stop asking people what’s next
Ask what is exciting about right now
Know that you are right on time
A sweet internet friend, Sophia, wrote a gorgeous zine about C-PTSD. As I’ve been unraveling my experience with C-PTSD, this piece was a welcome salve reminding me we are never alone. Please support Sophia by purchasing one of their zines here..
Also‘s new podcast. 🏻
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