2016 was a turbulent year for us all. As we reel in from the insanity of watching the unreal election of a politically inexperienced billionaire and the intermittent rash of terrorist attacks here in the U.S. and abroad, we need to pause and express gratitude for all that we have and pray for those less fortunate.
Here’s a list of things I’m most grateful for:
1. A loving family. They may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love them just as much as they love me.
2. A good education. College may be mentally and emotionally challenging for some people, especially at the university level, but it’ll all be worth it once graduation comes.
3. A supportive boyfriend. Throughout my most difficult time adjusting to a four-year university, Kristoff has always been there for me to vent out my worries and to share my accomplishments. He makes me the happiest girl in the world!
4. Good friends. Need I say more?
All these and more make me feel like my life has a purpose, so from 2017 on, I’m gonna put my past behind me, leave my future in God’s hands, and live every precious moment with a positive and open mind.
I thought I would be happy to get back into the groove of academic life after my eight-month break from school, but unfortunately I’ve transferred to Florida Atlantic University in worse emotional shape than when I left Broward College with my AA degree in hand. Why? Although I’ve become more socially engaged, my anxiety has somehow managed to come back to ruin me–not just in mind, but in body and soul as well. For over two months, I’ve had heart palpitations, headaches, upset stomach, muscular spasms, and more recently pins and needles. I can still function just fine, but my body would still be in optimal condition if not for the following issues looming over my head.
- My incomplete novel
- I’m just one hair strand close to done with writing my first novel, but I just needed some inspiration from Law & Order: SVU to finish the last chapter or two. I promised myself I would finish the book by the time I got back to school, but it seems I kind of let myself down. If I had signed my soul over to a publisher, then I would’ve had it finished, edited if need be, and placed it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble a lot faster.
- On Friday, September 9th, I passed my driving test and acquired my driver’s license. While I am grateful that I worked so hard to get the ultimate ticket to social freedom, I should’ve done this a lot sooner. Right now, I’m driving to and from school with my mom in her mini-van, and so far I’m doing remarkably well. My parents got me a new car on Halloween, but I have to put off driving it by myself for a few days.
- The possibility of someone ending my new relationship
- Kristoff is just the most amazing man to ever come into my life. He’s smart, funny, affectionate–and he was in my church’s youth group back in high school (even though I don’t remember talking to him much). Unfortunately, someone on Facebook wasn’t too happy about the fact that I found love during the summer and he didn’t. That someone was my college acquaintance, who I’ll call Juan. About a week into the Olympics, Juan messaged me on Facebook asking me what I did this past summer. My answer was very simple–“I went to Vegas, went to SuperCon, and I found love.” The last part pissed Juan off to the point where he bitched at me for spending so much of my time with Kristoff and not him, to which I responded, “He’s a good guy! I even practiced some of my driving with him!” (Okay, I probably didn’t type that last sentence, even though it was true. Either way, that conversation has been long since deleted.) Juan got pissed off even more, saying that I sat our friendship on the sidelines as was the case with all of his other friends when they got into relationships. I decided he went too far, so I blocked him immediately. A few weeks later, I talked to Juan over the phone and told him that me having a new boyfriend doesn’t give him the right to yell at me. I assured him that he’ll find somebody to share his life with someday, but he has to do some growing up first. Juan apologized, and I never spoke to him again since. What Kristoff and I have is beautiful, but I’m scared that someone will do something that will bring our relationship to a screeching end.
- Attending university may cost a lot of money–and thank God for financial aid–but it shouldn’t have to cost me my mental health. In Broward College, I was able to focus in class and complete my assignments without any issues. Now at Florida Atlantic University, because I’m now a junior, the workload has become a little unbearable, especially because I’m taking one class that’s not exactly required for my major. On top of that, the majority of the journalism classes I need to take are held at the main campus 45 minutes from home, and my mom isn’t exactly ready for me to attend classes at that campus next semester, which means I will be forced to take two classes next semester and two classes during the summer (if my financial aid will even cover that), or I’ll have to take two online classes (which I don’t want to do, not after what happened with Intro to Ethics). If my brother is able to go to a medical school far from home, why can’t I attend a campus that has all the classes I need for my major? This brings me to my final point.
- Double standards
- This practice is highly prevalent in Hispanic families: sons have more social rights, whereas daughters need to be overprotected regardless of their maturity level. Even though I’m autistic, I’m quite mature for my age, yet my mother insists that I shouldn’t participate in the some of the same activities as my brother based on the simple fact that I’m a girl.
- My brother can go on trips to Orlando, New York, Vegas, and pretty much all the other 50 states with his friends and his girlfriend; I can only do so with my family.
- He can work while he’s in school (although he’s unemployed now because most schools forbid Master’s students to hold a job); I cannot.
- He can go sleep over at his girlfriend’s house if he so chooses; I cannot do the same with my boyfriend, even though his apartment has a guest room available.
These problems have been causing me great anxiety for over two months already, and I’m afraid I won’t relax until I take care of most of these issues. Why anxiety chooses to afflict the smartest people on the planet, especially autistic people, is something I cannot fathom. It’s a bitch, but I have to fight it so I can be fully happy again.
Night has fallen on my old life,
And the sun has risen for a new day.
Will I make the change to achieve greatness,
Or will I remain stationary and miss that chance?
The page of my life’s story has turned,
Yet, somehow, I feel the same.
Do I look forward to create a bright future,
Or do I continue to live in the past?
The answer to the first question becomes very clear,
As I look up at the heavenly blue sky.
God wants me to be as great as I’m destined to be,
So He says, “Go forth and live your dreams with love.”
The wind bellows the second answer,
Shaking the flowers beside me as it blows.
God wants me to have great people and rewarding adventures,
So He says, “Your friends love you, so go and be with them.”
It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and while I should’ve been doing something to celebrate his accomplishments on peacefully integrating marginalized groups into society, I’m sitting at home with the sudden realization that… Holy shit, my 22nd birthday is precisely two weeks from today!
My 21-year-old life hasn’t been all that’s cracked up to be due to all the bullshit that crossed my path in the past year (See: Different Strokes). I still can’t fully drive yet, so I feel like I got my learner’s permit for nothing; I’ve been single for over a year and a half; my social has been crappy (except for hanging out with my brother and his girlfriend and my family, but such is an Aspie’s life); and I’m about 20 to 40 percent done with my first novel.
I want 2016 to be MY year, I really do. But I really need God’s help to make my 22nd year of life (and beyond) as bearable as possible. Here are some of the things I wish to happen after I turn 22. I want…
A.) To practice my driving more often so that I can take the driver’s exam and obtain a LEGIT driver’s license.
B.) A boyfriend who can accept me as I am and support me through all my trials and tribulations.
C.) To spend more time with friends I haven’t seen for ages.
D.) To finish my first novel and have it published, and further hone my writing skills along the course of my career (which hasn’t begun yet, but still).
I really just want to get the hell out of my comfort zone and experience as much of life as I possibly can. It sucks having to stay home all the time.