So I got the news that I don’t have the money to go back up to college, which is thousands of miles away so it’s not like I can get a local job to pay for it either. I’m still mentally unwell, and it’s just not a good situation. I got so upset imagining myself sitting around living with my parents all my life, stuck in the small town I grew up in, that I went into my bedroom and cried. Then I realized I couldn’t handle this anymore, so I left. I ran away, basically.
My sister tried to keep up with me for the first half a mile, but I was walking away from my house so quickly on a rush of adrenaline that she had to stop, choking, and throw up from trying to keep up with me. She fell behind and called Dad to pick her up. They caught up with me eventually walking down an old dirt road on the way out of town. Dad told me to get in the car. I told him frantically, my eyes wild, that there was no point to anything in my life and I kept walking. They drove back home.
I walked and walked. I felt the beginnings of heat stroke coming on after a while, but I continued walking. I figured maybe I’d get sick and pass out. Maybe I’d die. I wanted to die. I thought about jumping in front of a car, but was afraid I might live. I hated myself. I wandered onto someone’s property once and they warned me away; after that I stuck to the main roads out of town.
I walked and walked. It took most of the afternoon. I stopped a couple of times to rest and then I kept walking. I thought wildly about just running away — going homeless. Never coming back. It seemed like anything would be better than being stuck. Anything at all. Extreme poverty, anything. I hated the feeling of being trapped and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I called 911 once. The woman over the phone told me that she was sure my life was worth living and tried to get me to tell her where I lived and went to counseling, and I hung up on her. I kept walking.
I was getting exhausted by the time an aunt of mine called my cell phone. She said my sister was frantic, calling everyone in the family and telling them I was running away. My aunt is often called crazy by my parents, but she was really nice about this. She said she understood and promised not to tell anyone where I was if I just told her where I was. I told her I was out by the local pumpkin patch outside town. She came to get me.
She gave me a big pep talk on the way home, about how it was my life and I was very smart and I could do whatever I wanted if I worked hard enough to get there. She took me back to her house, where my uncle just sort of nodded along awkwardly to everything his wife was saying and shoved a bunch of chocolate into my hands. He ended up driving me back home.
I had a huge argument with my Mom back at home, and I ended up calling another aunt of mine who lives up in the city and telling her to come get me. I started packing my bags in the heavy silence in the house. I packed everything haphazardly, having no idea how long I’d be gone. I had a vague idea of getting up to the nearest city and then calling my counselor and asking her about a local job, or extra student loans (on top of all the debt I’ve already incurred trying to make it through college).
I just needed to do something. Anything. Feel like my life was going somewhere. Anywhere. I feel so trapped here, with only two years of college under my belt and no good prospects in sight.
That was when my Dad came in to talk to me, and what he said is really the only reason why in the end I decided to stay at home, for now. He gave me a whole laundry list of reasons why they just couldn’t afford college until the end of next summer, which wouldn’t have convinced me, but then he said that after that we’re going to move somewhere cheaper, where my parents will be close by and can help me adjust to a more independent life in college. He said that I had already accomplished more than either of them had at my age, that my life wasn’t going nowhere, and he pointed out that I was looking into getting a second part time job as we spoke.
He said that he didn’t move out from his parents until he was thirty, and he hates himself for it. He said I’m smarter than he ever was, with more done in my life and more to look forward to in the future — I’ve passed a full eighteen college classes already, with good marks, with a few more electives on the side. He said that in this economy he still goes to his Mom for help a lot of the time. How do you think he feels about that?
This is what he left me with: “That’s one of the reasons I’m so angry about politics right now. Because all these politicians telling everyone what to do, they don’t care. No one in Congress. No one in the Presidency. No one. They don’t care about things like this, don’t think about it.
“Because they all have jobs.”
So I’m staying… for now. Trying to keep busy with hobbies and looking for work. Hoping I’ll be able to get back to college next fall, once we’ve moved to a different place.
I don’t know if it’s the right decision. I just feel too tired to do anything else.