Pick your cause, and fight.

There is a laser focus and a clarity that comes when something you love, or desperately want, is threatened. We are, in many ways, faster, stronger, better in a crisis than we are as we muddle along. Mostly, we talk only about the adrenaline that comes from a threat against someone we care for. Sometimes, though, it's entirely internal.

The ability to get through my degree with minimal stress? Gone. In fact, it's entirely possible I won't be able to finish my degree at this point. And the threat to not just something I love, but something I need in order to make a living has been heart breaking, and a kick in the butt I truly needed.

At first, I did what the vast majority of people do when faced with a sudden brick wall on their sprinting route. I crumpled in a heap and cried, gnashed teeth, threw my hands skyward and asked the universe why it hated me. I grumped and hid under my blanket, and tried to resolve myself to the idea that it just wasn't meant to be. It worked, for a few days. And then I got angry. Who the hell has the right to take my potential income, my right to an education, and tick a box to say my mental illness means I'm not worth the effort it takes to educate me? Who the hell do these people think they are telling me that it's more financially viable for me to live long term dependent upon welfare than it is to get a skill set and get working? I get finances are tight, but three years of help verses fifty years of dependence seems like a better result to me.

In that moment of fury, something became so crystal clear that I can't believe I missed it for so long.

I was passively sitting around, waiting for my dream to show up. I was like one of those well dressed ladies in historical fiction; demure on her chair, waiting for someone to rescue her or give her what she needed. I have been living out the archetypal damsel in distress; that horrible victim mentality that meant that someone or something was sabotaging me, and all I could do was wait and hope they'd leave or someone would step in to magically improve the situation. Ugh. Not a good look.

That realisation prompted something else, too. I realised that all of that passive hoping was a goal killer. All that umming and ahhing, all that edging around, actively avoiding saying this is what I want, and I commit to making it happen meant that I'd never actually defined what it was I wanted in any meaningful way. I'd never looked at what would be needed to make them happen. I'd never stood up for my goals and my dreams. As soon as something came up, I'd back away. Does anyone else ever do that? There would always be a reason: I didn't want to be the bad guy, or hurt someone's feelings, or be selfish. And chasing my dreams? Oh my God, selfish. Saying that something for myself is my number one priority feels an awful lot like being mean to everyone else when you start doing it. I've been told it gets easier. I hope like heck that's true.

Don't get me wrong, right now, the financial side is a killer. It's entirely probable there will be a stretch soon where I have no guaranteed access to any source of income. And the idea of leap and the net will appear when it comes to meeting basic needs is terrifying. All I know is that playing it safe cannot physically work anymore. All I know is that I cannot stand the idea of spending my life struggling to find jobs I am qualified to do that aren't being done more cheaply by teenagers, of working my ass off and still not earning enough to survive without government help. I know that I will not ever again tolerate anyone telling me, or anyone else, that a mental illness means going without education. Screw that, I aced three of four subjects last semester, and only narrowly missed acing the forth. I can do this. I will do this. As of now, there are two camps of people in my world. Those who are with me, and those who need to be getting out of the way.

As of now, I'm chasing down dreams like they're gazelles on the Serengeti.

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