Before the appeal today, I had a quiet personal ceremony in the woods on campus. I thanked the place for all the knowledge that I'd gained there over the past 4 years, and I set my intention --to do the very best for the world in the most effective manner. I opened myself to the fresh start that was coming soon. I was excited for the new beginning either way: the opportunity to do well in school, live with Ben up here, and become an awesome vet with an ecological conscience; or the opportunity to begin a new, unknown life.
The appeal seemed more adversarial to me today than the one 3 weeks ago did. It seemed as if people had already made up their minds (and I supposed they already had, as I WAS officially dismissed last month) and were intent upon making any point of mine seem moot. Still, I presented myself with integrity, poise, and every bit of strong intention to continue the program.
As I left, I heard myself making continuous tones and I felt my teeth chatter uncontrollably. Tears ran down my face. I was overwhelmed. It was very intense, but I reminded myself of the joy I was about to experience of knowing what future I would have.
Bless my good friend Jessamyn for taking me in her arms, letting me make my weird siren sound as my teeth chattered, and making me tea and bringing me tasty food to ground me.
Soon after I'd calmed down, I got the call. "Hi, Alyssum? This is Angie Warner. It's not good. The Board is maintaining their vote for your dismissal. I'm sorry."
....*this is where you imagine the sound of whipping wind at night over the desert*....
and so, I am in a strange place in my life, a place, I think, many people never experience. Strange, indeed. Throwing away the 4 paper grocery bags full of syllabi feels cathartic, but wasteful (and I'm not talking about literal waste). Throwing away the JAVMA journals doesn't feel like anything at all, but I nearly started sobbing as I considered throwing away Wool & Wattles (the small ruminant and camelid newsletter...I kept them). Telling my V'08 friends with whom I began vet school that I finished 8 weeks before they graduate ("I finished before you, we didn't expect that, did we?!") was funny, ironic, and depressing. Exploring ideas with my friends of some possibilites for my future felt liberating and uncertain--I could see their envy, but maybe just a tad of gloating deep down too (or maybe those are just my own demons). Thinking about leaving my dance students seems absolutely unreal. Thinking about doing something else seems limitless, boundless, and also a little bit like a white light vacuum where my limbs and body will fracture into a million pieces without the rigid structure of a single goal keeping me together.
I am okay. One thing will happen and then another and I will be okay. I want to enjoy this moment of relief and freedom for as long as I can, but I also want to find something eventually that will feel as worthwhile and meaningful as what I originally set out to do by going to vet school. I am mourning a great part of me that was put to rest today. That's not easy. But I'll be okay.