Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Feeling Bitter and Letting Go

I confess that the last week as been a bit of an emotional shit storm for me. I went from feeling thrilled that H got accepted (still am by the way) to feeling a little bad about my own not getting in and then to feeling really pissed off that I put a lot of time and money into something that got me no where. The harassment from the loan people didn't help matters. (There is a special level of hell reserved for those people). I struggled with trying to just be chilled about not getting a Ph.D. There are some great things about doing something else. BUT there is the little matter that I worked my ass off to get my MA and the small fact that I rocked it.

And because of who we know, all I hear about lately is guess who got in and guess where. And it doesn't help that people are always asking me if I heard anything. (Hint: If you know of anyone who has applied, don't ask, they'll tell you trust me). It's painful to see the look of sympathy on people's faces. I am paranoid enough to think that everyone is thinking "She wasn't good enough." And that's what pisses me off. I am good enough. Frankly, a lot of morons have Ph.Ds and I am not a moron. Hell some of the people who do get in cause me to raise my eyebrows just a bit.

Of course this is totally petty but when you're feeling a bit wounded I think some pettiness is permitted. I feel as if my life has been set into a bit of a tailspin. I'm trying to recover my momentum so I don't crash but I'm not quite sure what's going to fuel that momentum. The plans I had devised for myself are no longer relevant. The plans I pull a hell of a lot of work into, I might add. I try to envision myself in a new way and not fall back on stereotypes: graduate student's loving wife who supports her man while he works towards his Ph.D. Gag. But what do I do now? What is my future going to look like?

Mostly I feel that I need to let go of the bitterness. It does me no good to be angry at the unfairness of it all. And it is unfair. I don't believe that the best candidate always gets in and I have good reason to believe this (not just because they didn't accept me). But feeling angry, resentful, and disillusioned is not going to make my life better nor is it going to contribute to the kind of future I want.  I've been reading Dorothy Day's dairies, and her daily struggles are a lesson in learning to let go of bitterness, resentment, and being judgmental. Her emphasis on attempting to focus on her own shortcomings and less on others reminds me that my own bitterness comes from feeling that others are not worthy. Plus the worries that I have are more about people judging me than about my own concerns. H respects and loves me and will never treat me as less than himself. I don't have to worry about what others think.

I'm working on making each day a little bit easier. A little bit more healthier. The wounds will heal.


Jennifer Welborn said...

We both know academia is a lot about playing the game and a little about what you know.

We both know you're a genius. We both know you rocked that MA. We both know you deserved a full ride for a PhD.

Sometimes (especially in academia) people don't get what they deserve. We also both know how very bitter I am about my own negative experience in higher ed :P

You know what though? Whatever you do next--you're going to rock that too :)

S said...

I don't know if this helps, but I find it refreshing that you can write honestly about your feelings. I'd never have the courage to put all of my mixed up emotions out there, hell I don't think I have the courage to tell B half the time! You haven't said one single thing that I haven't felt about many things over the years. I've never tried to get a PhD, but there have been plenty of other times.

Kelebe said...

Ginger, I have been where you are with this post and, in fact, I can't even say that the four years since my (IMO, undeserved) boot from the MA program has given me enough perspective that I wouldn't sound 10x more bitter than you do here if I were to commit words to paper about it. (There are still some people who I'm glad I'll never see again because I can't be sure I wouldn't punch them in the face; how's that for bitter?)

I think Jennifer has the right of it. We all know that you are kickass and should be in a PHD program, but there is so much more politics involved than anyone ever wants to admit.


Ginger As in Green Tea... said...

Thanks all. I'm trying to let go of it, and it will be a process I"m sure. I suspect that in some ways, maybe many ways, I will be much happier. But there is still a bit of me that feels a bit unvalidated perhaps?

And Sarah, I am totally looking forward to being near you and your family! It makes the move so much less daunting to know I have a friend nearby!