Friday, April 27, 2012

Kind of Depressing

This post started out as a meandering meditation on language, but quickly spiraled into a painful reflection on my present life, so feel free to opt out when things get too depressing.

I have been reading the Success with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin while at work, interspersed with endocrinology, urinology, and water retention. Though only part way, the discussion of language in that book has me drifting over memory and the present, as I struggle to give meaning to the English language to ESL students desperate to have a slip of paper to prove they have comprehended what the American educational system believes to be standard.

Words were my first pursuit in the realm of academia, and books were a longtime friend since I was small and realized real people weren't always as great to interact with as the characters in a story, or learning things about the world beyond my own corner of reality. It took me a long time to agree an English degree was what I wanted out of my first college experience. I wasn't confident enough to  pursue music or art, and did not want to be mired in the bizarre dance of conducting scientific research. Looking back, I see how much time and resources were wasted on a degree I only had the slightest idea of how I could apply to a career.

A lot people ask me, upon finding out I have an English degree, "Oh, are you going to be a teacher?" To which I respond, "no," and then attempt to explain how an English degree is useful for more things than making sure people know how to read and write. In a rather hilarious bit of irony, it's what I find myself doing a lot in the short-term employment I find while pursuing other academic subjects.

Not that I have anything against teachers, I just hate the American public school system. Yes, I could very well try to get a position in the private education sector, but choices are slim, and it gets very cutthroat. I have worked in part-time positions for elementary schools, both in after-school tutoring programs as well as in-class help. The people I see aren't very happy, not the teachers, the staff, nor the students. I can't imagine it gets any better at higher education levels, as any time I peer around my own lecture halls, I see mixtures of boredom, disbelief, and an eagerness that is rarely directed toward the professor.

As it stands now, I can't with good conscience say I am one of the attentive students, but that has more to do with my personal distaste of anatomy and physiology than any fault or laziness in my personality. The fact I'm hovering around a B+ in that class while by no means putting in the focus I'm normally capable of should more than prove my intelligence and studious capability. Still, I look at what my life has become, and worry about the future.

I used to avidly watch anime and television, and keep up with what movies would be interesting to see in theaters. I devoured fantasy and science fiction novels by the wagonful, and webcomics and graphic novels at an even greater rate. Heck, I remember being able to keep up with discussions on the latest video games with my brothers and friends, whereas now I have to be constantly reminded of what is even on the shelves. I have hundreds of bookmarked sites that I used to check daily, the stories borne on the waves of cyberspace pulling my attention for a welcome brief time. I'm not sure when I fell into this rut of waiting, barely surfing the internet for something to distract me for a couple of hours, trying in vain to either study or find that job that will stay longer than a few weeks or months. I don't even make things at home beyond a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies anymore. My rpg gaming group is even starting to grate on my nerves, everything seeming so mediocre. Am I expecting too much? There was a time when coming up with a new story, a new character ignited a spark and drove me for days on end; when going out to meet people and push myself to creative new heights was everything.

This new house could be part of the problem, I live 30 minutes from an actual town, and going out does cost money, both in travel and on arrival. Nevada has become stagnant and stifling. Even my family members seem worn down and exhausted by the passing of time. The fact I can't, have a dozen reasons why I physically cannot leave this space to find something to awaken that drive in me is so depressing. I want new faces, new conversations, people who can understand my literary geekiness and obsession with various fandoms, or at least have heard of the bands I listen to. I need someone to shake me up and make me want to make new things again, to reach for more. I hesitate to call what I'm feeling depression, as this feels more like ennui and frustration. I'm stuck in the mire and I have no idea how to get out.

Instead I have to be an adult and keep trudging forward to complete my Dietetic Technician certificate and hope that the universe is kind enough to help me find the resources to build a financially stable business on that. Maybe then I can soar and feel that thrill of success, that spark of joy of having made something of myself that has impact on the world.