Carrying The Weight of Myself And The World On My Shoulders
This year has surely been a rough one. I’ve been carrying around my own issues along with carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I started off this year fundraising for emergency relief in Sudan as human rights advocacy is something I’m very passionate about.
Then school came around. I decided that Palm Beach State would be the right fit for me.
My Tourette’s suddenly took a turn for the worst and became much more severe than it’s ever been. On the first day of classes I walked into the registration building at Palm Beach State to change my schedule because I realized that morning classes were going to be too difficult considering I can barely get out of bed due to the heavy medication I am on for Tourette’s (these meds don’t fully help-there is no direct cure for Tourette’s).
As I was using one of the computers, a man next to me was helping his son with his schedule. This man saw that I was making unusual movements and sounds and asked me, “Are you okay?” I wanted to believe that he genuinely cared, but his tone of voice made it very clear that he was asking out of annoyance. So instead of answering him confidently, I quietly and angrily replied, “yes….I have Tourettes…,” and I didn’t even turn my head to look at him in the eyes while saying this. In the corner of my eye, I saw him turn around to look back at his computer, and he didn’t say a word. The thoughts in my head went as follows: “Does he think I’m lying?” “Is everyone here annoyed with me?” “Is this what’s going to happen in my classes?” “I want to leave-No Natalie, sit through this and don’t cry.” “You’ll be fine Natalie, don’t worry about what people think” -*tears start falling down my face* *I leave the building crying and walk to my car*
It may seem like the problem here is just a lack in confidence but I will tell you otherwise. Walking around making unusual movements and sounds automatically gets you stared at. Even though people may or may not be judging, it doesn’t feel so exciting to be the center of attention everywhere you go because of a neurological disorder. I walk around the grocery store and young children look at me in fear, like I’m some monster.
But back to what I was saying about the first day of classes…
The incident with the man who questioned me in the Palm Beach State registration building somehow discouraged me to the point that I decided to drop all of my classes that day. I chose to take the semester off.
I began making appointments with doctors and therapists. However, at the same time, I made a closed-minded decision that I wouldn’t live life to the fullest until a cure for Tourette’s was found-which is pretty far-fetched. Then I barely left my house for about two weeks other than when I had to go to appointments.
I realized that staying at home all the time wasn’t solving any of my problems so I started to do more things. I began going out with friends but I realized that it was very difficult to have a good time because I felt so self-conscious and I was constantly getting asked questions because of the Tourette’s. It felt like I owed an explanation to almost everyone I encountered. Me having Tourette’s always ends up becoming a topic of conversation which is relatively annoying considering the awkward and uncomfortable ways in which it comes up. Once I explain it to people, they are usually understanding but there are some people who laugh in front of my face. But I guess I can’t control everyone’s reactions because that would be too much to ask for.
Anyways, being slowed down in life (hence taking off a semester) because of a neurological condition that has no cure feels extremely discouraging to be totally honest. Especially for someone who wants to save the entire world.
In my lifetime, my dream is to help people undergoing human crises because I can’t deal with being a bystander. But how can I do so if I can’t help myself? I couldn’t even bare a first day of classes because of ONE comment that I received from a random person.
I know my purpose in life: it’s to help this world recover from the terrible hatred and inhumanity that occurs on a daily basis. It’s to spread a message and to help people.
I cannot stand the terrible things that go on in this world and when I say I carry the weight on my shoulders, I really mean it. I’ll be out having dinner with friends, or laughing till I cry, or eating the best meal, but at the same time I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I’m not helping someone who doesn’t have friends, someone who isn’t able to laugh, or someone who doesn’t even have a meal to enjoy. I feel bad having fun while knowing that someone on the other side of the world is living in the middle of a war or genocide (side-note: when I tell people this they often respond by saying: “take care of America before you take care of people on the other side of the world.” I just want to say that me worrying about people globally is not political in any way. It’s the feeling of not wanting to be a bystander and knowing that there are certain conditions that any human just shouldn’t have to go through). The amount of guilt I feel is beginning to consume me EVERYDAY but at the same time I know this guilt is what makes me a caring person and it is what gives me purpose.
But I guess that in order to help the world like I dream of every day, I need to help myself first. So this upcoming semester I will be taking online classes to get some credits out of the way. I would tell you that I am going to do five other things as well, but I’m not going to set unreasonable goals for myself. I’ve learned that setting one small goal and accomplishing it gets you further than setting five goals at once and failing four of them.