Monday, August 9, 2010

The terrifying black blob

When I was really little, one of my favorite movies was Little Nemo. For most of my life, I had only vague memories of the movie—I just knew that there was a terrifying black blob, a flying bed, and a fat king. In many of my bad dreams it was the terrifying black blob that was chasing me. (Not that I'm writing this, I wonder why I liked the movie so much.)

But now that terrifying black blob is no longer in my dreams—it is in my waking life.

I feel like I have spent my entire life working toward one thing: college graduation. That day will be here on Friday. I have experienced every possible emotion regarding this subject: fear, anxiety, relief, joy, confusion, sadness, and excitement. But as graduation gets closer and closer, I feel more and more than I have nothing to show for it. I have worked for two years gaining experience as an editor so that I would be prepared to start a career once I left college, but the fact remains that there is just nothing out there right now, nothing but the terrifying black blob.

When I graduated from high school, I knew that I was about to embark on the most exciting adventure of my life: going to college, moving out, experiencing the joys and heartaches of roommates, becoming the person I was meant to be. I knew I was in for a lot of major changes, but I knew what most of those changes would be. I saw a bright future ahead of me. It was scary, but I was ready to tackle it.

Now, 4 years later, when I look into my future, I see nothing. I don't see job prospects, I don't see additional schooling, I don't see any definite plans. Just that terrifying black blob. I have no idea what to prepare for because I don't know what's coming. I know that I need to just trust God and take a few steps in that terrifying darkness, but, being the meticulous planner for the future that I am, that prospect scares me more than entering my first class at BYU did (which I was 15 minutes late for because I underestimated the ridiculousness of parking at BYU), more than going to my first real job interview. It scares me more than almost anything else that I have encountered so far. I have had many trials and trying experiences thrown my way, but I was able to deal with them when they came. But this waiting in the dark abyss of the unknown is a trial that I have not had to experience before, at least not at this intensity.

I saw a list in the JFSB the other day of the English graduates who are going on to grad school. Many of the people on that list have become my friends throughout my time at BYU. While I still feel too burned out to even think about going to grad school, I envied those grad students a little bit. Okay, I envied them a lot. In a few weeks, they will be back in school, discussing literature and writing passionately. In a few weeks, my siblings will be going back to school as well. As unexcited as some of them may be, I wish that I had a year of schooling to look forward to, the excitement of wondering what things I will learn this year, what books I will love or hate, and what the class discussions will be like. They have another year of growth ahead of them—I have nothing.

So while I am floundering through space right now, I am clinging to one hope. About a year ago, Kimberly and I stumbled upon the beloved Little Nemo at Blockbuster. We made Mom rent it, and we briefed Shannan on all of the wonderful things that the movie had in store. However, the movie wasn't what we expected it to be. For starters, it was kind of dumb (okay, really dumb), and most surprisingly, the terrifying black blob WASN'T SCARY.

So that it what I am clinging to right now—the fact that that terrifying black blob isn't as scary as I think it is. Just as Nemo was able to find a way to lock up the blob, I will find a way to light my future with light and colors. The blob will not be the winner at the end of the day.

But this blob isn't just going to go away because I am trying to convince myself that it's not scary. I am going to have to take bigger steps in the dark and keep walking until I finally see the light.


  1. I don't know - it seems this summer I've learned a lot from not being in school. Grad school may be its own round of learning, but I deeply, deeply envy the chance you have to go to the unstructured unknown, to learn what you want without following someone else's set syllabus. To not have to play academic politics, break your head over theories that, like lifting weights, don't hugely matter outside of the muscle they build in your brain. It sounds like the best of the best to me. Ah well - I guess the grass looks greener from both sides of the fence.

  2. I've been pretty bipolar about this whole graduation thing—some days it's absolutely terrifying while some days it's completely thrilling. And I have to agree with you about learning a lot this summer while not being in school—I think I've learned more this summer than I did my last few semesters of college. I just need to keep that mindset during my dark days.