Happy Birthday to me.

The man that almost ruined my college career walked into work two days ago. When I saw him, I almost hit him.

My reptilian brain told my hands to kill him. My mammalian brain (who rarely acts alone) cheered my reptilian brain; it balled my fist and cocked my arm. My human brain (my rational, more reasonable brain) paused to mull the consequences of killing. “Murder is bad,” it said finally, reluctantly. It lowered my arm, made my face smile, and told my hands to pick up a couple menus and silverware rolls. With little stir, I walked the man and his friend to a table in a warm corner of the restaurant. I told them their waiter would be with them shortly, nodded, and walked, shaking, back to the host stand.

My hands buzzed for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to confront him. I wanted him to know the real reason why I didn’t show up to Wednesday night’s production of Moby Dick three years ago–that I was hospitalized from a massive panic attack and almost died from shock. I wanted to tell him how much “you look good sweeping floors” kills people and how much “you will never amount to anything” can crumble a person like a hammer on concrete. He needed to know why I dropped out of school–that my suicidal depression problem, coupled with my severe lack of funds, forced me out of school.

But I couldn’t confront him; I couldn’t help seeing the silver lining. Without leaving school, I wouldn’t have grown up. I wouldn’t have raised enough funds to come back; I wouldn’t have met my fiance. I wouldn’t have finished my degree, I wouldn’t have gotten a job in the arts, and I wouldn’t have had enough confidence to start writing professionally. I wouldn’t be equipped to help others through their anxiety and depression problems. I wouldn’t have a story to tell.

And why should I have confronted him? He didn’t recognize me. Despite taking his class and attending his advising sessions for nearly two years, he had no recollection of me. I had not affected his life at all. Why should I let him affect mine?

I shouldn’t.

People can only ruin your life if you let them; living well is the best revenge.

Published by

Jake

Marketing Strategist at The University of Alabama.

One thought on “Happy Birthday to me.”

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