Previously: Would have I jumped?
My eternal battle to graduate from college started about 15 years ago, after I left high school. Since then I stopped and resumed my studies seven times — thinking about it makes me feel so ridiculous — and in six of these cases I had to go through all those damn lengthy admission processes. So much wasted time… I feel bad both for the wasted time of my life and the resources I made each of the universities waste with me.
My friends would be impressed by how I made admissions look something trivial, especially because I always aimed for the best possible colleges in the country and I never failed. But what’s the point? What does it prove? Many of them failed one time or another, many of them went for mid or even low-tier universities, but even then they achieved something I never did: they finished what they began and most of them have a career today — I don’t.
One of my best friends, instead of leaving our hometown to go to a top-tier college, as he pretty much could have done if he wanted, decided to settle for a mid-tier one, and today he has the kind of life I used to dream of: he’s made a successful career, left the country at the behest of his company, married a girl he loved, got a kid, and I have no doubt he is very happy about his life. I could easily have followed a similar path, but I didn’t — damn N., I wish you had convinced me to stay there with you, friend, but you were one of the people who most blindly believed in me and in my success, you thought I would be the one leaving everyone behind. You’d be so disappointed if you knew how many times I blew it, if you knew that I am still at that same spot looking to the ocean…
But I had many reasons not to stay in my hometown. Besides wanting to leave home, I wanted to be far from my family. I always have been totally different from my relatives, I was the black sheep that couldn’t relate to any of them. The only reason I still keep in touch with them is because of my mother. It’s not that I don’t like them, but they are pretty much uninteresting strangers to me, and I didn’t want them telling me what to do or snooping around my life. And besides, I was gay and I didn’t intend to come out of the closet, it would be hard for me to try to meet other guys living in my hometown — what a joke, little I knew that it would be hard anywhere! Hahaha!
Today I see that if I had stayed at my hometown for a little longer it would have been better. My family was poor, my mother even tried to help me in the first few months after I left, but her finances had been quickly deteriorating even before that. In a very short time I was not only providing for myself, but for her as well, and this is how my never-ending battle to get a graduation started.
Some other students from poor families could work very little or even not work at all by getting housing grants from the university and such, but even with such kind of help I still would need a full-time job, a part-time job wouldn’t suffice. I left college for the first time because my program was a full-time study one, it didn’t allow me to get a full-time job. I told everyone that I had left because I changed my mind and wanted to study something else, but it was not the truth, I just didn’t want my mother to find out that I was doing that to be able to help her, she would have felt very sad about it.
Actually, only once I left college because I changed my mind about the field that I was studying. I felt terrible when it happened and it took me more than a year to find out what I was going to do next. The first and second times I stopped related to financial issues; the third was when I truly changed my mind about what to study; the fourth was because I didn’t like the university where I was, found the classes too weak and shallow, and I really wanted to leave the city anyway, so I transferred myself to another university — it was not technically a stop, but the bureaucracy made me pause my studies for a while.
The fifth time is kind of hard to explain… Or not: I started feeling desperate with the fact that I was already 30 years old and I still was on college; I hated my job and my boss, despite the good wage; I felt frustrated for not even being able to apply for jobs that I liked and that I could do well just because I didn’t have a damn college degree or the required experience; I felt like a loser at the sight of complete dopes occupying good places, because I knew I could do better than them but yet no one would ever consider interviewing me; I felt desolated after realizing that even though I looked very hard for more than 10 years, I had never met a guy that I wanted to start a long-term relationship with; I started to think that if nothing had happened so far in my life and if the young me didn’t manage to get anything, why would the old me get something? Anyway, I thought from that point on I could only expect a downward spiral, so I left the college, left the job and tried to commit suicide by almost jumping from that bridge…
The sixth time was because the university wanted me to restart the course as a freshman, which led me to a huge depression crisis. And finally, the seventh time, which I am going through, was partly due to work and financial issues, and partly to unfortunate events.
I feel terrible when I look to all my friends or all the students that started a course with me. Each time I did it, I met people who invariably left me behind. It’s so ironical when I think that almost every time I was regarded as a good reference and as someone who would be successful. It’s so sad that these things were only people’s illusions.
These attempts that I made at college naturally coincided with the many restarts I had in my life as a whole. I always aimed and got even higher each time I fell, and since I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems, my friends could only see the tip of the iceberg. They started to believe that everything was easy to me, that I simply had to choose and go get it, that I was free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, however I wanted. This is far from the truth, I’ve never been free, and all I really wanted was a normal simple life.
A crazy rollercoaster my life has been…
So many ups, too many downs.
I lived in different cities, in different parts of the cities,
I’ve been a nomad, a nomad settled down on me, I’ve been a nomad that moves through space and people but not time,
I was there, I was not there, sometimes there was no there there,
I was a bad son, I was a good son, I pretend to be a good son who pretends to be me,
I chose a brother who was not my brother, I was envious of my friend’s parents, I saw people who should never had become a parent,
I had some best friends, some best friends had me, I met people I wish never existed,
I’ve been a black sheep among white sheep, I’ve been a white sheep among colorful sheep, I’ve been a sheep with no shepherd and a shepherd with no sheep,
Each place had a part of me, each part of me was left looking for a place,
I built things, I destroyed things, things destroyed me, I threw things away, I got away from things, things got away from me,
I was promising, I became a broken promise,
I followed rules, I made rules, I changed rules, I discarded my rules,
I had no jobs, I had boring jobs, I had interesting jobs, I had unusual jobs, I made my own job
I met a lot of people, every few months hanging with a new set of faces, I wanted to mix my many immiscible social circles,
I could walk freely among all the differences — was I a paradox carrying all the differences within me or was I simply indifferent?
I was tolerable, I was intolerable, I was mostly tolerant, I was intolerant with intolerance,
Each place had a part of me, each part of me was left looking for the whole,
I could go everywhere, I couldn’t stay anywhere,
I lied, I was lied,
I made white lies, I made black lies, I gave lies different colors, I tried lying to myself, I hid lies, I exposed lies, I shattered all lies — ultimately, I was fairly honest.
I wanted fairness, I wanted fairness…
I hitchhiked for need, I hitchhiked for fun,
I had nothing one day, I had everything on the other — except what I wanted.
I’ve been on the wild side, I’ve been on the mild side, I’ve been on the bright side, I’ve been on the dark side,
I’ve been on the sides, center, top and bottom, but the truth is I was outside,
I kissed a girl and I liked it, I kissed a boy and I liked it,
I loved a man who couldn’t give me love but gave me all his friendship,
I was loved by people for whom I gave more than friendship but less than love,
I broke hearts, I mended hearts,
I vanished, I came back,
I never found love, despite loves finding me,
I wanted to change the world, the world changed me, I wanted to leave the world, the world left me,
My enemy wants the best for me, my enemy wants the best of me, the best within me wants my enemy to disappear,
I wanted to kill myself, my self killed me.
If my life was a fiction, it would be the kind of story I’d be thrilled to read. As a reality, the thrill was not worth all the trouble.
Next: The seventh