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Well, I’m about to complete the Philly portion of my grad school experience. Hallelujah! It’s been tough, but looks like I’m going to make it.

This experience has forced out most of my neuroses and made me examine every part of myself in the full light of day. Difficult, challenging, painful- yet cleansing, rejuvenating.

I’ve gained weight (probably like 15 lbs), I’ve procrastinated (probably more severely than at any other point in my life), I’ve been more easily distractable than usual, had major breakdowns (that’s a plural) just before important events were about to take place, failed a final exam, got a C (substandard grade for grad school) in a course, questioned the decision to go to grad school, put myself on the rack of all my doubts and fears for the future, compared myself to others enough to make it into a day job, questioned every decision I’ve ever made enough to have two part time jobs, and done a lot of work that isn’t my “best” (that is to say, I think I could have done it better had I not been going crazy, which in turn drives me more crazy). What have I learned? To breathe.

And now, there’s a definitive light at the tunnel. And there might be a wish coming true soon. And most of all, there’s the realization that the journey’s not over, (it never will be) and it’s okay.

It’s okay I haven’t defined a clear life path. It’s okay that I don’t always follow the “rules,” I set up for myself long ago, it’s okay that my ideas about what life is all about are changing and I don’t want the same things I did before. It’s okay that I’m still giving myself room to learn or grow. It’s okay I’m going to finally stop trying so hard to stop being someone else. It’s okay, I’m in the right place, I didn’t mess up. This is exactly where I’m meant to be, right here, right now. And I can just breathe. And take it all in, no rush, no worries, no fear.

I haven’t found a home here in Philly, but I’ve found a comfortable home within myself.

As Tiffany says in the movie Silver Linings Playbook, which pretty much revolves around Philly:

“There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, f****? Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”

I guess that’s the rub. You have to learn to love the parts of yourself that you would give anything to change, otherwise you’ll lose yourself, and lose any semblance of inner peace or self-mastery. Those parts are there to help and protect you, and the second you stop loving yourself, you open yourself up to all kinds of bad things because you seek validation from other people and lose your power. And all that crazy, it’s where your power comes from. Crazy as it sounds.

Yup, it’s been a tough semester. But I’m ready to like myself. I’m ready to be healthy, ready to wait as long as it takes to get there. Ready to do good work, even if it takes a long time to find the right job at the right place. Ready to accept this path, even though it’s not a clear one and doesn’t look quite like anyone else’s. Reading to accept my crazy, my curves, my spirals, my circles, and the part of me that exists even when no one else is watching applauding, screaming, blaming, or judging.  Maybe I’m actually ready for an existence without unnecessary guilt.

Whatever I came to school for, that’s what I’m really here for: the spiritual path. To go wherever this road God has laid for me wants to take me. To make tough choices and not always do the safe thing. To be a better person, even when it’s hard. And mostly, to be myself, even though it’s the hardest thing in the world, next to being anyone else.

I don’t want to fight anymore. I’m ready to lay down the weapons in the war against me.

Most of all, I realize how important I am. Obviously, as though this self-centered blog hasn’t proved it. For once, it’s not what my parents think, what my current love interest or future husband would think of me, not about trying to find the sweet spot between individuality and conformism. Nope, it’s all about me.

When I dream my dream, it’s amazing how much is peripheral in comparison. Sure, I obsessively focus on a lot of silly things, including what other people think, how worthless and undisciplined I am, what my love interest thinks of me, how spoiled rotten I am, and how I’m eating too much and can’t fit in my clothes.  But when I really get in the zone, all fo that disappears. It’s just me and my dream. Which I pray will become real.

Good bless us all.