Friday, October 24, 2014

One Foot in Front of the Other

I wrote some about this last week on my other blog, the scholarly/PhD adventure one.
But things aren't getting better and I'm feeling more overwhelmed.

So back to the drawing board.

This week I tanked a presentation in my seminar- it was a dead stick room. Nothing. And I lectured more than I asked questions. And it was awful. It was a topic that I rock on, but it was awful.

I was called a robot by another grad student, that I must have a clone in order to get all my work done. And had horrible flashbacks to MHS- where the only reasons people could come up with for why I worked so hard and why I got so much down was because I was single and had no kids.

Another student who I thought was becoming a friend is now ignoring me.

Yet another student(s) being nasty to me for working hard, being ahead of the game.

I almost cried in front of a professor because he asked how I was.

And my father hasn't spoken to me in three weeks. He hasn't spoken to me in three weeks because I told him that at $14,000 a year I couldn't afford to help support him anymore. And he stopped talking to me. I tried to make sure I explained it- that my TAship didn't pay much, that next semester I'd be paid less than this semester because I'm teaching a different class. That he had a good, full time, salaried job. That I had little savings, and couldn't afford to empty it or take on massive student loan debt. And I got nothing. I've gotten silence. So I can't help but wonder if the reason why he has dealt with me since Mom died is because I paid for things. It's an awful thing to think. To say. To type. But I don't know what other conclusion to come to. Simple causality, right? X happens, then Y therefore X caused Y.
My sister said he's "processing" but when I called her because I was upset she also talked about herself the entire time, so there's that.

So this was not a great week. I am trying not to think of the personal. I'm trying to focus on work. I have a ridiculous amount of work to get done in the next five weeks. I need to focus on getting this round of my dissertation finished, I have one thirty page article to finish, and two more to write. I have classes to finish teaching. I have comps in February.
I don't have time to think about the fact that my life has fallen apart. That I now have no family. That what little support system I had has evaporated. That Nehi and I will spend Christmas in Albuquerque alone. That there will be no one at graduation next year. That I am on my own.

There is no one who cares that I wrote a great class called Revising Milton based on my book proposal that got approved for next semester. That a professor told me "great work" on a project. That I'm trucking right along on creating the resource manual for the TAs. That I'm making great progress on my diss.
There is literally NO ONE who cares about any of this.

They tell you that the PhD can be a lonely process. That it's important to have a support network, connections outside of the program.

But what if you don't have that option? What if most days you're so focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and checking things off the list that you don't have time to think about anything else? That you almost break down in front of a professor because they actually seemed to care about what was going on.
But you can't. Because that's not how you become a rock star. And with this job market, even rockstars have a hard time competing with 899 others for a single job. There's no time for that.

But some early mornings on my walks with Nehi. Or in evenings on the couch, a phrase floats through my head-

I used to have a family.

And it plays on a loop- over and over.
And there's nothing I can do about that.

Postscript: and it occurs to me, that when Mom was sick, all those years, when people asked him how she was, he always said fine. I always wondered if he stayed with Mom so people wouldn't think poorly of him. So it seems as though I'm denied as well the support of anyone from back home, who won't know about any of this. Because I'm sure, despite the fact that he's cut me off, when people ask about me he will continue to say I'm fine. Or not. I guess I won't know. I guess I should stop caring. Or wondering. So it appears I'm not just alone, but also cut off. Mom used to call us gypsies. Wanderers. Guess Nehi and I are nomads.

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