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19 June 2013 @ 04:03 pm
What a difference a year makes  
There appears to be a cycle in which I write in this journal for a few months, and then something happens, or something distracts me and I forget about it. And then a year later, I rediscover it, and read back through the previous times posts and decide I should start writing again. I like this little cycle. I hope that Livejournal never goes bankrupt, and the site never goes black, because so much of my life's perspective I gain from reading these things. I always think it's interesting that I will look back on a period of time in my life and think "Man, I really had it together then. Things were really going well" and then I will find this ol' boy and read it and realize that I was really just as fucked up and a mess then as I am now. The scenery and cast change, but the plot really stays the same, doesn't it? Speaking of perspective, I am in dire need of some. Oh faithful Livejournal, aid me in this endeavor. Except the thing with the kind of perspective Livejournal gives you, is that you have to wait 11 months for it to kick in. Well, here's to you future Paula, you are 26, about to turn 27, and my guess is that you still don't have anything figured out, and that is okay by me.

There is virtually nothing about my life that is the same as it was the last time I wrote in here. I looked back on my last post, which was July 10th of last year, and I laughed, a somewhat bittersweet laugh, because the very next day, the first domino in the demise of mine and Jacob's relationship tipped over. It was all downhill from there. It's a long story, and it's bloody and gorey and I won't go into it in depth because frankly, I don't like talking about it. The highlights are that we started fighting a lot, and he became more distant, and at the same time (ironically not related) my anxiety started getting bad, and it was just too much for him to take (so he says). We broke up, and I struggled really badly for the next couple of weeks thinking that maybe if I just hadn't been a mess, and hadn't had panic attacks about my job, and was not afflicted with the mental illness monkey on my back, that things would have been ok. And then I found out that he had been seeing someone else since about a week before we broke up and was with her still. That didn't sit well with me, and I didn't behave in the most mature way possible. There was a lot of name calling and some pretty horrible things said on my part. There was a lot of nothing said on his part, which was equally as difficult. I guess I just needed him to see what a mistake he made, and to admit it, and until i realized that wasn't going to happen, I was setting myself up for a pretty bad go of it.

Shortly after we split up, I got a new job here on campus. I will be so bold to say that this job may have saved my life. August was a really, really bad month for me. The Jacob breakup perpetuated an already bad situation. My job, my friends, and my life was in a place where I really couldn't see redemption on the horizon. I was suffering from a lot of panic attacks, and some heavy depression that was taking me down a dark path. Luckily, I was still strong enough to know that I wasn't able to do this on my own, and I sought the help I needed. I spent some time in the Psychiatric wing of the hospital when i felt like things were going really badly. I got hooked up with a counselor, and some prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines. While in most cases it is the last thing you want to do, I actually made myself better by letting go of a lot of people in my life I used to call friends. It was just time. These people never would have been my friends if it weren't for circumstance and proximity. I knew that they were never strong enough friendships to build anything on. They were people who were close by, and who were nice. We had nothing in common, and came from very different backgrounds, and were at very different places in our lives. I don't want to sound so degrading but they served their purpose, and they were there when i needed them, and then it became time to move on.

More about the job though...suffice to say, things did not get better in the Business Office, they got worse. I eventually got to the point where I applied for anything that became available. I applied for a job in the Admissions Office that was a significant pay cut from my (at the time) current job. I interviewed and they went with someone from within their office already, which was understandable. Then a job was posted in CARS (the Center for Assessment and Research Studies) which I knew NOTHING about. It was a full time Administrative Assistant job, in an academic office on campus called CARS. That was all I knew. I got an interview, and really liked the people that I met with (the director and assistant director). They talked a little bit about what they do in the center and I really felt comfortable with them. We talked a while about things that don't pertain to the job description but about us in general. They really liked me. A few days later I got a call, and they offered me the job. They said in the voice mail that they considered themselves really lucky to have found someone like me. After the most unappreciated, miserable 3 years of my life, I can't tell you how incredible that felt. I accepted immediately. It was also a bonus that it was a little bit more pay than what I was currently making. Brandon was out of the office the week i interviewed and got the job, IRONICALLY he was adopting another baby. I wrote my letter of resignation and was in his doorway at 8am the day he got back. I said "I hope you enjoyed your trip, congratulations on the new baby, here's my letter of resignation, September 6th will be my last day" and walked out while he picked himself up off the floor.

The new job didn't solve everything. There was still a lot of resentment toward Jacob and a bit of bad behavior on my part trying to work through that and come to terms with it, and my anxiety and insecurities still follow me to this day, but I worked through it over the fall. I started on a new career path and switched my major toward counseling and psychology and I'm much happier. I finished up the fall and spring semesters at the community college here and transferred into JMU this summer. I am almost done with my first course as a JMU student. My degree program major is "College Student Development" and I am engaged and excited for what comes next. I work with some really incredible and intelligent faculty member, and some awesome graduate assistants who have become good friends of mine.

In December of 2012, I deleted my prior group of friends (Deanna, Steve, etc...) and started fresh. In March, I forgave Jacob and told him that I wished him well, and I let go. There is still a small part of me that hopes one day he will realize what a mistake he made, but it no longer occupies my thoughts. Through counseling I learned that you and you alone are responsible for your feelings, and that no one can change that without your permission. I met someone named Mandy, who taught me what it feels like to have a really amazing best friend, and her husband, who together show me what kind of marriage I hope to have one day. I've been in this job for 9 months, and it's not perfect, but I am appreciated, and I will never take that for granted again.