I’ve done a lot of reading of journal entries from late 2004 and early 2005. Sometimes, it makes me feel strange that this anger, fear and resentment happened only one year ago. That by January 1, I had no idea what the second half of the year would be like, but it’d most likely not be nice. I can’t even remember what I thought about when I envisioned September, 2005. It’s so weird that I now do know what the second half of the year was like, and that I made it through it without “just holding on”. What’s even more surprising, given the writings from late 2004 and early 2005, is that I don’t just see these few months as a “delay”. You see, at one point I’d been scared that January 1, 2006 would be the same as January 1, 2005 except that it was one year later. After all, the demands placed on me for 2006 are pretty similar to those I would have had to meet in 2005, had I not decided to delay college a year. And indeed, I still haven’t applied at IBG and it makes me somewhat worried to realize that, but it’s more for fear that I might forget to altogether than because I don’t want to: I didn’t do it in December cause my IBG papers were lost and I plan to do it by the middle of January cause then I won’t have the hassle of changing addresses just after sending in my application.
When I remember in what circumstances I entred 2005, I feel I’ve made quite a bit of progress. Practically, you might say it doesn’t show itself, in that I still don’t do the housekeeping and that my arrangements for college are only a bit farther than they’d been in 2004, in that I did call the student counsellor. However, emotionally and also in my skills, the situation is quite a bit different. In December, 2004, I had to write a piece about what scared me about college and what to do about it. All my paragraphs ended in “But I’ll just have to arrange that.” Not only would I be able to elaborate some more on “just arranging” now – in that I am working on that list of needed accommodations and I know whom to contact to get an appointment to discuss my needs -, but “just arranging” feels a lot less overwhelming than it did last year. That’s an improvement on the emotional level, in that I feel better about mentioning my disability. Cause that is what it actually was that I feared: needing to tell a university folk that I’m blind. It still feels kind of scary, but it’s something I’m not ashamed of, or whatever it was, to say. Now I’m still working on figuring out the details, but the fact that I felt myself ready to go into that – contrary to in August, upon starting rehab -, signifies that I figured out that it’s not a question of whether to mention my blindness at all, but how to mention it.
Sometimes, you might wonder whether it’s actually significant that I’ve improved in this way. Whether I felt okay enough about my blindness to mention it at university or not, if someone had pushed me, in early 2005, to call a student counsellor and say what I’d said last September, I would’ve done so. The issue wasn’t so simple, of course. Cause once I’d told that folk that I’m blind, I also would have had to mention needed accommodations and I most likely would have had to remind professors about keeping them. This is something I’m still working on feeling better about, but the realization, in early September, that putting non-disabled standards into perspective is not the same as abandoning them, made quite a significant difference. I’ll sometimes still get “locked up inside” when having to ask for help or accommodations, and I definitely plan to improve this in 2006, but there are some situations I wouldn’t have thought about being able to handle half a year ago and that I do handle now, like the all-too-familiar example of the bus transfer.
Another verr improtant area I consider myself having progressed in, is to realize that it wouldn’t help me to be resentful, but that I, indeed, as I wrote on January 1, would have to take charge. It took me months to finally make my own decision, and maybe there are still people who consider that a sign of weakness rather than progress – or maybe there are parts inside of me -, not to go to college by September, but to want to learn new skills at rehab first. I felt rather bad about that decision in some way, in that I thought I wouldn’t have needed it, but looking back, I think it’s been quite useful. Of course, the feelings repeated themselves by December, when I had to make the decision of whether or not to go to “De Boomgaard”, but at least it was me who made the decision, which you can’t say quite fully about rehab: everything leading up to the eval week in June was another person’s decision and it was only my decision, in April, that whatever the people would advise me, I’d not go to college.
Still, there are things I’ll have to work on in 2006. There are practical arrangements to be made – getting college worked out -, and there are issues of 2004 and 2005 that did not resolve themselves completely. I still wonder about the significance or insignificance of some of my difficulties, and this is likely going to be an important issue in 2006, just as it’s been ever since 1998. Many of my other difficulties, like the “rub along” thing, have been worked on significantly in 2005, but are still not settled. These are very deep issues that I don’t get resolved in eighteen weeks of rehab and a few more weeks of critical thinking. It’s a continuous process that I don’t think I will decide to leave behind me soon. And even if I were to decide on it, that wouldn’t mean that on an emotional level, it’d be over. Some people may feel that as a sign of failure, but not all of the resentment with my parents and confused feelings about myself were settled by simply “taking charge” and seeing that I could be successful practically. Taking charge was the first step, or maybe even realizing that I had to work on these things was, but after deciding that I had to do something about it, that still isn’t totally fifnished. But I hadn’t expected to solve every single thing upon the end of the year: some stuff, you just don’t settle easily, and most certainly not when you first have to wonder whether you’re allowed to consider them.
I feel a lot better about the turn of the year than I did last year. It still sometimes scares me, but I’d told you already that I’m scared of large numbers and the inevitability that 2005 will be over, is somewhat frightening. However, that’s not cause of any particular reason – it’s just there. I still have a lot to do in 2006 in many respects, but at least I know I’ll allow myself to do so. Fear of being overreactive kept me from allowing myself to work out some stuff in 2005. It isn’t going to in 2006.