A whole lotta stuff has happened since the last time I blogged. Here’s a short list:
- I finished my PhD! Woo! (I don’t get the title for a few months, but done, bitches!)
- Trump won the election.
- One of my best friends from Conservatory died.
- I decided to start a consulting business.
- Family emergency
- Had a graduation party
- Health junk involving a round of steroids. Blah.
On their own, any one of these things would cause some major turmoil in my life. All together – I’m surprised my brains aren’t leaking out of my ears.
The election knocked me on my ass. It was less than a week before my defense. Like many others, I was filled with shock, terror, and confusion that we elected a narcissistic, xenophobic, utterly unqualified racist to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I had celebrated the election for the historic nomination of a female candidate and spent a lot of time on Pantsuit Nation reading the stories of people also celebrating. Then the celebrating was over. I’m going to have a lot more to say about it in future posts, so I’ll leave it there.
Finishing the PhD
Finishing my PhD was GLORIOUS. The last 3.5 years have been grueling. It felt like I put on this backpack. It had a few rocks in it. Every semester, more rocks. Dissertation? ALL THE ROCKS. I have so much more energy/brainpower/resilience now than I had three weeks ago. The constant gnawing away of my self-esteem and confidence is gone. Glory be. With it, goes the intense level of paranoia I had about being able to make something of myself (and enough money to make my student loan payments) after graduation. Still nervous, but not hopeless.
A dear friend who had moved overseas died from complications due to cancer. Death sucks. I can never fully grasp it. I can only say that it leaves a gaping hole in my heart where the cold wind gets in. She was beloved by many and there was no one like her.
Starting a business
So this is super scary for me. In the aftermath of the election my existing plan (pick up more adjunct work, work on getting a full time position at the community college which would be flooded with funding after Hillary was elected) didn’t really look viable any more. But in the aftermath, issues of hate speech and cyberbullying are very urgent and I realized that I have tangible skills and knowledge that can help with policy building around aggressive speech for schools, government, and corporations with social media components. Now I just have to get past my fear and come up with a short term and long term plan. Yikes. I will continue to teach and look for teaching work, but I believe getting my hands into the policy muck is more important right now for our society. Good experience will make it easier for me to find good teaching work as well.
I have some initially volunteer stuff in the works that I think will become crucial to shaping my career trajectory. It’s at the nexus of political activism, online community, and developing language to help heal historical divisions that have derailed social-political movements in the past. This is BIG stuff. I hope I can make a difference.
My dad had a minor heart attack and a major surgery (quad bypass). This is the closest I’ve come to losing a parent and it was pretty crazy. I’m grateful he’s recovering well, and trying to be supportive from my perch in Austin.
I probably blogged about this before, but I have low level chronic asthma that balloons into major events when certain pollens are around or I get a virus. I had to have my first steroid shot in over six months the day before my Dad’s surgery. So adding a giant dose of stimulants to my adrenaline rush was extra fun. I slept about 5 hours in two days.
This was a nice house party just to say hi to all the people I’ve blown off for three years and to thank the ones that have helped me get through. I was high on sleep deprivation, steroids, and adrenaline. It was fun, but for the mentioned reasons, surreal. Great to see my people, though.
So yeah, roller coaster much? Lil’ bit. Now I’m crashing from the steroids, but starting to sleep more. Still not really centered enough to do some of the healing work I need to process the trauma. But very excited about the work I’m starting to engage in. Also excited for the holidays, and for our trip to California in Jan for graduation and Disneyland.
Hold your love ones close. Don’t take the times of peace for granted. That’s what I learned from the last 30 days.