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My Next Year

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I’m wondering how I can optimize my time for the next year, the length of estimated time for withdrawal to take. I’m a 26-year-old English Language and Literature uni dropout. My plans to go into teaching are demolished by the mouthfuls of stories I’ve heard and statistically-sound articles telling me how nonviable going into a teaching career is, at least here in Canada. Not having any kind of degree and living with my mom at 26 is not where I envisioned myself. Being “sick” makes it difficult to put my next pending career steps into motion. I barely have desire to leave the house to walk Dexter, my Beagle. I have zero motivation to get a job at the mall with my icky, ozzy face. Ideally, I would stay in my room cave until my withdrawal symptoms dissipate and not deal with the unpleasant feelings of being in public.

I need to pay my phone bill, student loans and so on. Part of me just doesn’t want to care about that and live off of whatever money I can scavenge. That would be irresponsible, Leizel, and you’d feel crappy about being unproductive in the end. I’m not sure how to muster the energy to go into a classroom or spend a few hours selling over-priced retail goods. How – when it hurts to smile or turn my head or keep the ooze from oozing or the itch from itching? HOW?

I understand why I should stay home for the next year. I perfectly understand. It’s explaining it those around me that would be a challenge. Reducing myself to justifying the feelings and symptoms I’m experiencing is the hard part. They’d look at my unusually dry skin and wonder why a year-long break from life would be necessary. We all have our issues, don’t we? Explaining what the itch is like alone is brain numbing – similar to explaining Dexter how to bring my slippers to me when I get home. The chicken pox comparison is the best I’ve got. “It’s a deep down, to-the-bone itch ever-present when you’re talking to someone, writing an essay, trying to shower.” Like a fellow blogger put it, itching is the most petty symptom of this monster to outsiders. You really don’t understand what itch is unless you have it. It wakes you up. Keeps you up. Disrupts your focus on your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) words. Of course, there’s the¬†oozing, scaling, shivers, heart rate changes, et cetera. It’s more than just a bad skin day. It consumes me.

The bad skin infection on my face that I experienced in October 2012 is still very disturbing. No, it was traumatizing. There’s something about the image of hard-yellow crusts forming on your face that affects the way you feel about your body. My worldly, vulnerable, mortal body diseased. October 2012 is past, but the vulnerability I experienced lingers.

So, you can see how slugging my lizard self into the mall for work would be extremely difficult. The only time I go is with my 6-foot-tall boyfriend, whom I can use as a moving shield in case of that avoidable awkward encounter. Maybe if my face wasn’t so bad… But the oozing, thickened skin is just too much for me to handle.

People certainly treat you differently. I’m not saying I was hot stuff before this all happened, but I would say I was a fairly decent-looking individual. I could strike up conversation with pretty much anyone with positive responses. Since then, strangers react to my sporadic conversing much differently to my lizard self. I’ve stopped trying after not getting any responses at all. The only place I feel safe is here in my room where I can go on in peace. I’m optimistic about the duration of my withdrawal. I’m hoping a year, MAYBE a year and a half at most. Even that seems like a lifetime from now. I’ll be 28 by then; I’m 26 and a half now. A large portion of my twenties thus far has been taken over by my skin issues. Sorry if I’m feeling like I’m watching my youth pass me by. On the bright side, I still get carded at the liquor store and former co-workers think I’m in my early twenties, so by the end of this, I’ll be right where I left off.

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