Last week was a rough week. On Monday, I went to the dentist for the first time in over a year, and to my dismay, I was informed that I have three cavities. The dentist said it was partly because I grind my teeth a lot, which means I also need a new bite guard that I have to wear at night. The fillings and the bite guard are only partly covered by my insurance and will cost me hundreds of dollars. I got the fillings yesterday. I was tempted to start thrashing around in the dentist's office or grab one of the drills and start shrieking at the staff, "Get back! Get back! I'd rather let all my teeth fall out!" As it was, they gave me so much general anesthesia that my mouth literally looked lopsided for hours afterwards (is that normal? I looked like the Joker, and it freaked me out!)
On Tuesday, I was at my desk in my living room, doing work for my website job, when I heard a loud thud in my bedroom. I went in there and saw that a large chunk of the ceiling had literally caved in. There was a huge hole in my ceiling, and insulation was all over the floor. A few weeks ago, I noticed a water stain on the edge of the ceiling (the same area where the ceiling caved in) and told the maintenance crew at my building about it. Their "solution" was to just paint over it.
I didn't react well when the ceiling caved in. I literally started crying in front of the maintenance crew and my landlord. I was freaking out. What if the ceiling had caved in on my head while I was sleeping? What if the ceiling in my living room caved in too? I was angry that this was even an issue in the first place, and I yelled at all of them. I wish I hadn't, but at the same time, I think I had the right to be upset. They were nice about it, though, and my landlord offered me a partial rent credit for next month.
That's why last week, I had drywall guys, roofers, and painters going in and out of my apartment to try and fix my ceiling, while I struggled to do my work, despite the constant noise. They initially told me, "We'll be there late tomorrow morning to start working on it." What they meant was, "We'll show up before 8 AM, while you're still in your pajamas." That meant that I had to take a shower while several men I'd never seen before were in the next room.
They moved my mattress to my living room, and I tried to sleep there the first night. But I think I inhaled some of the drywall dust or something because I kept coughing all night and woke up with a headache. The cough didn't go away, and I battled a cold for the rest of the week. The landlord gave me the key to their fully furnished model apartment that they use to show prospective tenants, and said I could sleep there at night. I did sleep there several nights in a row (and I kept thinking to myself how tastefully decorated it was, that this was what it was like to live in a "grownup apartment" and not one with posters taped to the wall and a collection that included a One Direction DVD and a Backstreet Boys VHS tape). The bed in the model apartment was very uncomfortable, but it was better than nothing.
Just when I thought my week couldn't get any worse, on Friday, I made the mistake of looking at the Model's Instagram page. He often responds to his thousands of followers with flirty emojis, but one of them in particular stood out to me. I checked out her page, and I saw several recent pictures of them together, at her birthday party and at Navy Pier in Chicago. In all of the pictures, their arms were around each other.
It's been months since I even spoke to the Model because he moved to Chicago, which is very far away from College Town. But to see him not only with a new girlfriend (I have nicknamed her Anne Coulter's Evil Twin) but also to see him spend the day with her in Chicago, the city that I love and will always think of as home, made me burst into tears.
The whole thing made me realize that there are just some things I can't control or change. I can't control the fact that my ceiling caved in, or the fact that the Model will never want me again. But I can move on with my life. I can join Bumble or Tinder again (or both) and try to find someone special, at least one more time. I can stop looking at the damn Model's Instagram page. And if dating doesn't work out for me the next time around, I can embrace my life as a single person. After all, single life has its perks, like being able to live and travel wherever I want. And I don't have to have arguments with someone where I say stuff like, "Where is this relationship going?" or "Why did you post that on her Instagram page? You never talk to ME like that anymore," or "I seriously think your mother's trying to poison me" (that last one is from an actual Dear Prudence letter, and the mother-in-law really WAS trying to poison her!).
I can't change my "family", but I can spend less time with them. That's why I'm not going to my parents' house this summer for my biannual trip (I visit them for a week or so during Christmas and summer, which are two trips that I always dread).
I can't look like a Victoria's Secret model (and I don't even want to dress like them, either, seeing as how I dress like a spinster librarian from the 1930s), but I can lose weight by exercising more, cooking healthier meals, and eating less junk food.
I may never become a tenured professor. But I can continue teaching and become a respected scholar as well, by working on my research regularly, sending it out to scholarly journals, and presenting my work at academic conferences.
I can't change the fact that as long as I am a teacher, I will never be rich. But I can continue to work hard at teaching, pick up extra hours at my website job, and pay down my debt. Once I pay off my debts (which admittedly will take years, but even so), I can finally travel around the world, just like I've always wanted to.
What about you? What are things that you wish you could change, and what are things about your life or yourself that you can and want to change?
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