Thirty Days of Feelings: Day Ten

This year I’m undergoing a bit of an experiment: Thirty straight days of doing/watching/listening to/reading something that makes me feel – however fleetingly – like an actual human being, in the hopes that this will thaw a layer of ice off my frozen shriveled little heart, and allow me to not be such a buzzkill this year. So let’s get to it.

Day Ten: Tangled

Tangled

Two years ago, I was in a pretty bad place emotionally. I was taking an extra semester of college, which was deeply embarrassing to me. Most of my friends had graduated. I’d gone through a painful breakup. I was living alone. And I was just about to have to call my entire family and tell them I wouldn’t be graduating because I had a D in a Finance class I freaking hated and would never use because I decided I wanted to be a teacher.

Over the course of my last week of college, I was taking finals, having meetings with my academic advisor, the dean of the finance department, and my professors, and basically crying myself to sleep. Eventually it was decided – by a very kind, gracious, and merciful professor – that if I redid two major projects and the final project (one of which I skipped, one of which I phoned in, and the last of which I was too hopelessly confused to do well), he would regrade them and hopefully be able to pass me.

Sidebar: a couple months later, I came to realize that the reason I was so unable to care about class was because of a fairly serious depression. I never allowed myself to consider depression, because the stigma was too great in my mind (and family), despite having clearly struggled with it for around ten years. Ah hindsight, my old fremesis. Anyway, I finally got over that shame, went to a doctor, and was put on medication. I have since successfully weaned off, and am able to treat any mild flare-ups with exercise and good old fashioned sublimation. So the moral of the story kids is: talk to a doctor when you find yourself chronically unable to care about things that are important to your future, sleeping 12 hours a day, eating your feelings, and/or crying for no reason. It can be treated. There’s no shame.

Anyway, for the next three days, I spent roughly 16 hours per day in front of my computer, desperately trying to figure out how to compress an entire semester’s worth of learning I didn’t do into three projects, in time for my family to still come in and watch me graduate. I sent… dozens of e-mails in those three days: to my professor asking for help, to classmates, to acquaintances. You name it. I ate breakfast in bed in front of my computer. I ate lunch in bed in front of my computer. I ate dinner in… you get the picture. From waking up early to going to bed late, I was violently nauseous and trying to avoid talking to my mother who wanted/needed constant updates.

In short, I was in hell.

Luckily everything turned out OK. I’m confident that I had between 95 and 100% on all three of those projects… even though my professor only graded one and it was enough to bump me up to a C… even though if he’d graded them all it would have actually bumped me up to a B or B+… But seriously it was a huge blessing and I’m never going to legitimately complain about that.

So, to end an already tragically over-long story, after getting the e-mail that I would in fact graduate – albeit with my name not in the program and half my family not coming – I realized I had a gift card to the local theater (Galaxy WUTUP!), and went to see the only uplifting thing available: Tangled.

Words cannot describe how much I loved this movie. Not only because Rapunzel seemed like an intelligent heroine who fought bravely and had dreams beyond a prince. Not only because Zachary Levi was perfectly cast as a charming rogue with a heart of gold. Not only because Alan Menken was back composing Disney music. Not only because it was a witty, sweet, nostalgic film. But because I was literally on the verge of a panic attack for three days and three nights, and all I wanted to do was collapse in the middle of a field and sob at the top of my lungs until I fell asleep. And this movie made me smile. It made me tear up. By then end I was grinning from ear to ear, and I was able to go to bed that night and sleep soundly for the first time in far too long.

And that is why I watch Tangled every December. It’s not a Christmas movie – not even remotely. I didn’t see it with friends or family. I saw it alone, in Waco, after most people had gone home for winter break, using a gift card. And it couldn’t have been more perfect.

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