My Situation and My Waning Patience


If you’re not interested in learning a little about what has been going on in my life lately, then skip this post. Just a warning. I don’t want anyone to waste a few minutes reading this thinking they are getting something else.
    I spent the last five years of my life doing the following so I could get to where I am today: going to community college without a direction, trying to find a direction, and ultimately deciding I’m good at writing and realizing I should go in that direction; wrecking my first car and then losing my job when someone stole money from the safe and, needing a scapegoat, they decided “hey, fire the night manager” only to have it come out later that it was the general manager who was actually stealing money, and had been for months; shortly after losing my job, being diagnosed with cancer, having to drop out of community college with Fs in all my classes, after which I spent six months having surgeries and poison injected into my blood stream, which thankfully resulting in me surviving; going back to community college, now realizing how much I actually like school and at this point discovering my strengths as mentioned above, and then spending years, four actually, getting all my schooling done so I could go to Uni; and somewhere intermingled there’s the struggle to get a good paying job, being unable to afford to move out on my own because medical bills make sure you can’t in California, having my second car crap out on me on more than one occasion, and all through that trying to have some sort of social life so the depression of how utterly bullcrap life can be doesn’t destroy me. Yes, there is some bitterness in there and it stems from the fact that I don’t understand why good people, whether me or the millions of others out there, have to deal with crap like the above. It’s illogical and drives me crazy.
    Anyway, so when I finally got my acceptances to Uni (all three that I submitted to took me) I had to make the decision of where to actually go. UC Irvine had a good literature and creative writing program, UC Davis was only a safety school, and UC Santa Cruz was beautiful and looked promising. It wasn’t an easy decision. I didn’t want to go to UC Davis mostly because I wanted out of Sacramento for a while. But Irvine and SC were both expensive places to live in (and I generally hate LA…it’s too big for me). Well, fortune came my way when my mother moved to Santa Cruz and offered me a room (for rent mind you, so I had to pay). She’d gotten off the alcohol wagon, looked to now have a stable lifestyle (I was living with my grandmother in her enormous house prior), and it seemed her partner’s job was stable. So I thought “I could save some money on rent and it would make my mom happy to have me around”. I could get my schooling done, and not have to go too far into the hole.
    Well, we can all be thankful for the Murphy’s law I guess. My car, deciding it now hates me for unknown reasons, is falling apart–the tranny leaks like mad and my rear wheel bearings are about to break. I’m still arguing with the hospital over medical bills, trying to get them to make my life a little easier by doing it right the first time. And that stable home I thought I was moving to that would let me concentrate on my studies? You guessed it, it’s decided to go right to the crapper. My mother’s partner is going to be losing her job, not because she sucks at it mind you but for reasons beyond her control that involves politics and the fact that she doesn’t take crap from anyone, even someone with a degree, and especially when that someone is wrong. This might not be such a problem if it didn’t mean the following was going to happen: they’re moving to Eugene, Oregon, which for those of you that don’t have a map, is not anywhere close to Santa Cruz to make any sort of commute possible. This has all happened in the last weeks of the quarter–i.e. the final stretch and finals. I’ve tried not to think on it too much, and my girlfriend, the wonderful person that she is, is doing a lot of things to keep me happy and trying to keep my mind off of what will eventually happen.
    I’ve been thrown into a situation that I don’t think any college student should have to worry about: I might be homeless or I might have to drop out of the place I’ve spend such a huge portion of my life trying to get to. You can imagine how I’m feeling at this moment. I can’t work a job because if I do, I lose ALL of my financial aid except loans. That means, I have to work even more, which means losing some of the loans, which means working more, etc. You get what I mean. If I lose that financial aid I cannot afford to live in Santa Cruz, which is a freaking expensive place (three bedroom houses rend for $2,000 to $2,800 in relatively crappy neighborhoods).
    This puts me in a terrible predicament. I need a new car, or at least a used car that I can finance. I cannot afford to pay rent and the huge deposits that people require so that I can move into a new place, and with rent so high I might not even be able to afford that, especially if it means I still have to commute to campus. My mother found a place for me to stay, but it’s well above my price range and puts me in a position to have to decide between having money to see my girlfriend or having money to get a car. Unfortunately, the car will win, which has nothing to do with how much I care about my girlfriend, but more to do with what will allow me to continue at UCSC. My mother’s response to the fact that the rent she is proposing is too much is “well you’ll just have to not do things you want to do”, which means basically taking more unsubsidized loan money out (which accrues interest the second it touches my hands) just so I can afford to eat. The irony of her statements is that I relied on her to finally, for once, be stable and to give me a chance to do what I need to do so I can stop relying on other people to help me. I understand that one should not be reliant on others at my age, but I think my circumstances are tremendously different. There was nobody there to offer me the support I needed to give a flying crap about school in the first place. I never wanted to go to college and at one point, as I’m told, I wanted to just live in a dumpster outside Taco Bell because, apparently, they throw out a lot of food there, which would keep me fed. If anything I have learned a valuable lesson on how to raise children, should I ever have any. Regardless, it was not my idea to move in with my mother, it was hers, and it was her that assured me that it would be a safe place and that I could get my schooling done. My answer to that was to make sure to do my coursework as fast as possible. I’m not taking a bunch of courses I don’t need–only upper division–which is generally recommended against. I’m doing this on purpose mind you, so I can get done and move on to graduate school so I can be a teacher.
    To say that I’m frustrated, even angry, would be an understatement. I’m also at a point now where I might not even be able to take the necessary medical precautions to make sure that my cancer doesn’t return. CT Scans are bloody expensive, and blood tests aren’t cheat either (and doctors can be a pain too).
    Right now, I’m upset and I’m stressed. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m trying to think of solutions, but I’m running out of time. I might lose everything that I’ve worked so hard to achieve. Can you imagine how that feels? And the solutions offered are ones that I don’t think I can afford. If things had just stayed the same all would be well. I’d have no problems. As it stands, my moving, if I can afford to do so, also means that if something else goes wrong, I’m screwed. I will no longer have the emergency fund I have now, because it will all be gone paying for fees to have my phone line moved before my contract is up, paying for deposits or rent that wouldn’t have been paid for before, etc.
    I just need to breath, because this is a lot to handle. Maybe the Taco Bell idea is still a good idea. Okay, probably not, but humor me for humor’s sake.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

6 thoughts on “My Situation and My Waning Patience

  1. “I might lose everything that I’ve worked so hard to achieve. Can you imagine how that feels?”

    Yes. But your health is more important than any goal you have, so stop feeding the stress, because stress and worry feeds disease.

    May your life’s plan nourish and bless you.


  2. Oh I know. Every once in a while it’s just good to vent, which is sort of what this is all about. I’ve been taking everything pretty mildly lately, but every so often I just need to vent :P.
    And my cancer could come back and it still wouldn’t stand a chance. I kicked its butt last time, and I’ll kick its butt if it comes back. Takes more than cancer to kill me πŸ˜› Maybe, and this is a big maybe, if I have cancer, am in a plane crash, have a heart attack, three aneurysms, and the flu all at the exact same time…maybe then I’ll lose. But, that’s not going to happen, so I don’t expect to die anytime soon :P.

  3. Ok, why have you not told me half of this? How am I supposed to hug you better if I don’t know?

    I told you we’ll think of solutions, and we will (we’re both geniuses, we can think of something :p).

    I am going shopping now. I will speak to you this evening and make you vent to me. :p

  4. Yikes. I have to commend you on your ability to handle all this stuff. And cancer…good God. It’s rather inspiring. Never forget that there are lots of people who care about you, and that you need to keep pushing so you can get your books published. There’s a lot ahead of you; just keep imagining it and that’ll help you along.

  5. *hug* < ---for Imeldaaaaaaaa :D

    Andy: Thanks for the support. I appreciate it. Currently my writing is sort of on a hold until I finish all these blasted essays for finals week. My brain has been rather fried, so as soon as I’m done with this last one I’m done for the quarter and can hopefully dig into The Lies of Venicia and Marx Ignatia again. I think I have solutions now for Lies and I have no idea where Marx is going…I mean, I have some idea, but it’s sort of fuzzy…that’s an ironic statement too because Marx is set in a virtual world. Blurred reality is cool πŸ˜€

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