My Blaqk Audio shirt is gone, a good friend of mine has been sick, and my dog is dead. There, I just put all the negativity right out there. My favorite shirt? No idea where it went MIA, but it never resurfaced after Sicily and Germany. My friend in Germany doesn’t have it. Considering that I don’t own a lot of clothing in general and the washing machines here are decimating everything I brought with me, it’s annoying. My friend’s situation is her own. As for my dog, she had been sick for the past few weeks, and even though I felt this was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier. I haven’t even heard the full story, but in addition to the illness, there was something wrong with her leg. The vet had her on pain meds, but she was up for several nights crying, and they don’t think she had slept in days. It’s not entirely clear to me whether my family took her to the vet the last time for the purpose of having her put down, or if they took her there for an appointment and the vet suggested it.
I am not sure how I feel about euthanizing animals. On the one hand, it cuts short a long and painful death, but on the other hand, can one always be sure that the animal really wasn’t going to recover? Moreover, a human being can make the reasoned decision “I want to die,” but it is impossible to know whether an animal is capable of desiring death. Will and consent involve reason, which an animal lacks. I am not saying that I wanted my dog to suffer – I am just expressing my ambivalence. Debating morality isn’t going to change the fact that she won’t be there when I get back, anyway.
At the moment, I am feeling ready for this to be over. I want my life back, but more than that I want my identity back. I have no sense of self here, which I suppose is caused mainly by having what I always refer to as a context-dependent personality. I amused by people who talk about travelling to find themselves – if anything, I’ve become more lost. In addition, I don’t even have the one thing that makes me worthwhile. I didn’t take Latin this semester, for the first time ever – there were two classes that it was more advisable for me to take instead, so there was no room in my schedule. Academically, I’m nothing without Latin.
On Thursday, I got to hang out with one of my classmates from Mary Washington, who is in the ICCS: Sicily program. He had about a 12-hour layover, and due to the Centro’s bad visitation (or lack thereof) policy and our ignorance of the fact that Termini closes late at night, we ended up staying up all night walking in Rome. It was interesting to compare experiences, not to mention a relief to see someone from my world.
Mary Washington is really where my life has been for the past two and a half years (I was a transfer). I’ve never had the kind of college experience that one sees in movies and that society seems to expect, but I like the one I have had. I’m not ashamed to say I’m not very bright, so I have had to work really hard. There have been a lot of assignments that an intelligent person could do in about three hours, but I sit there staring at for hours with no idea how to go about completing it. Nevertheless, I consistently chose to sit there as long as it took to get it done. I guess what I am trying to convey is how college has been the first time I have really, wholeheartedly committed to something. Ultimately, I fell short of it; I didn’t get the 4.0 overall. Neverthless, I have found a place where I have built something, no matter how relatively insignificant.
More importantly, I am content there, and I feel like I am a part of something. Incidentally, I don’t believe in happiness as anything other than a fleeting emotion, so I can’t make a sweeping statement like “I have been happy in college.” The best I can ask for is to be content, and I’ve had that. Nevertheless, I have met people whose presence and company does fill me with genuine happiness, and maybe that has been the most worthwhile part of it all.
Of course, the painful part of the current situation is that the first semester back will be the last semester there. I’ll graduate to being nothing again, and I suppose I will inevitably lose the people who made a difference.

*Post title appropriated from the song “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” by Death Cab for Cutie, Plans. If you don’t have this CD already, get it. Trust me on this one.


One Response to “I live inside someone I do not recognize”

  1. Brad on November 7th, 2008 2:58 pm

    Susie, we miss you too! Come back soon, we still have lots of stuff to do!