Midweek Motivation: Throwing out the plans and letting the day happen/happy birthday, Mommy

I am the girl that always has a plan. Well, actually plans. It’s embarrassing to admit it but I currently own four planners. FOUR! “What are you doing with them,” you ask? Well…I’ll use the excuse that I gave my spouse every time I bought a new one–I’m trying to get my life together. Just in case you haven’t gathered this from my other posts–my life is still a mess. So I guess it hasn’t worked yet, right?

I’ve come to the realization that it might be time to burn some of those perfectly curated moments that I thought I was going to snap with my camera, write in my journal, and share with my family. Instead, I accept the fact that life often doesn’t make sense, no matter how hard you try to prepare for its challenges. One extra planner, sticky note, or index card is not going to save you from the gut-wrenching moment that the doctor says your baby no longer has a heartbeat, the middle-letting go.jpgof-the-night phone call that your mother has died, or finding out that a loved one has an uncurable illness.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ll always value organization, but it’s time for me to downsize my planners, plan a little less, and enjoy life a little more. After all, who the hell wants to organize their unhappiness? Not me. So today, on the day that my mother would have turned 51, I reflect once more on all the life she packed into 44 years. She certainly made choices that I figured my plans would steer me away from, but she also took chances and faced her fears in ways that I can only admire and hope to find the courage to do. This post is dedicated to the loving memory of a great, incredibly difficult person–my Mommy. I thank you for recognizing that my fear of failure is the only thing holding me back.

I continue to listen for your voice to remind me that I have to be okay with me. Whoever that turns out to be. You made me promise to find and take care of myself. I intend to not let you/me down.

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Midweek Motivation: Don’t be so hard on yourself

Whether you are trying to build a career, lose weight, or graduate, failure is always hanging out in the corner of your mind, waiting on a weak moment to spring into action. Don’t fall for it! Face your fearth.jpgs, deal with the messy, complicated, wanna-pull-your-hair-out moments. It’s so worth it. If your plan/work somehow gets derailed remember: you are not worthless, hopeless, or at the end of the road. You are simply stepping off to the side to reassess. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Forge ahead  and try not to be so hard on yourself!

The Nightmare is Over!: Finding Happiness After Graduate School

Two weeks ago, I announced my decision to leave graduate school.

If you are wondering, “What happened next?”, here are six events/moments that followed that decision:

  1. I looked in the mirror and finally came to terms with the fact that I had lost unbelievable amounts of hair due to stress. Just like grad school, I needed to part ways with the unhealthy strands that were clinging for dear life to my scalp. I put on my favorite song, “Me Versus Me” by Stacey Barthe and got to work, shaving the downtrodden bits of hair. Afterwards, I felt amazing!
  2. I trudged through my last assignments for the semester, at moments having second thoughts about my decision. How would I tell my family? Did this mean I was a failure? Was this going to become a consistent pattern in my life–starting things without finishing them? Would I lose everything as a result of a stupid mistake?
  3. I talked to my sister A LOT about my feelings. She listened to every back and forth emotion because…she’s a trooper. She encouraged me to do what I think is right but really cautioned me to consider my mental, emotional, and physical health. Did I want to always be that person that did things for money/to please others?
  4. I ordered the dailygreatness journal in hopes that I would really start to connect with myself.
  5. On Friday, I turned in my last assignment and embraced the summer. On Saturday, I began to rew0rk my resume and CV so it wasn’t solely catering to the academic community. I applied for a few jobs. That evening my journal arrived. I spent all evening working through the beginning prompts, creating a mission statement, thinking about my purpose, and what I really want out of life. I also watched a really awesome webseries “What I did Wrong in My 20s”. I’ll write a review of the show later but let’s just say–I’m getting my life!
  6. Yesterday, I received a call from one of the companies I applied to and an email from another one. Even if they don’t turn into positions, it gave me such an amazing boost of confidence that I know that I will be okay.  I also told my aunt and cousin about the amount of stress and strife that I’ve been going through and my decision to quit. I was so surprised with how supportive and ‘get the hell out of there’ they were about everything. (Maybe I shouldn’t have been but I had convinced myself that they would think I was a failure. It’s nice to know they don’t). My aunt was especially encouraging and told me to explore all that life has to bring, not to be afraid of making a rainbowmistake, and embracing the unknown while figuring out what want to do.

I’m excited and extremely optimistic about my future because I’m planning my first real career move. Currently, I have an interview this Thursday and an interesting unpaid internship lined up for this summer. Heck, I even have a professor waiting on me to be her teaching assistant next fall. Yet, I made the difficult decision to walk away and embrace my freedom. After all, I am the author of my happiness. No one else.

 

I’m Done: Dropping out of Graduate School

If you frequently read my blog, you might have noticed that I haven’t posted much in the past two weeks. The end of the semester is partially to blame and the other part is I’ve been making assessing my health and where I want to be in my life.

As some of you may know, I have been battling depression which at times has been accompanied by suicidal thoughts. Constantly concerned with my image, I have always made sure to keep my emotional turmoil in check so that no one else would know. In fact, I have been an overachiever my entire life, running laps around people who doubted me, leaping across finish lines that no one knew existed. But here I am, May 8th at 9:38pm officially coming to terms with the fact that “I no longer see a path forward” (Thanks Ted Cruz and John Kasich for these lines, haha).

First let me give you some quick facts: I am finishing my first year in an MA humanities program. I have a 3.7(with a number behind it I believe) but I am simply miserable. Why? My department is absolutely a mess and the program is disorganized and some of the professors (I’m honestly thinking of one in particular) are insufferable. Before entering the program, I was unaware that the cohort has gotten smaller and smaller each year not because of funding (as the department alleges) but because enrollment has dwindled. Most importantly, those that enroll drop out! For example, the second-year cohort started with six people. Yes, six people. Of those six there seems to be only three standing. What happened, you ask? Well, one woman dropped out after the first year due to a conflict with the aforementioned professor. The other two students seem to have the same issue with the department and have virtually disappeared. Like I literally have not seen them all semester and it’s a mystery (to everyone) if they are still in the program, going to defend their theses, or if they are attending therapy (okay, I admit that’s only my concern).  Two of the remaining three defended their thesis within the last two weeks and passed with distinction but honestly I think the distinction was added in there because they are trying to save their dying masters program. The third student will be defending her thesis in about a week and she doesn’t seem too confident but…she’s trying.

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Did I also mention that the remaining three students happen to be international students? I have a feeling that my department has realized how poorly it would look if their remaining students flunked out. Especially since their money is what is really bankrolling the program. Don’t get me wrong–these students are capable, intelligent, driven people but I’ve noticed that the professors didn’t seem enthralled enough by their work to give them ‘distinction’. More to that point, these professors have attacked that cohort during question and answer sessions after presentations and overall their disposition towards students is condescending at best and downright nasty at worst. The administrative assistant is treated like absolute crap and she takes it out on the graduate students. She’s quick to throw us under the bus to save her ass as this is something she has clearly learned from her less-than-honorable colleagues. What I can’t understand is why she continues to deal with verbal abuse from the professors who  depend on her to do EVERYTHING FOR THEM without any trace of appreciation. I mean this woman uploads all of their readings, grades, sometimes administers exams, ect. for these people despite the fact that they have teaching assistants and secretaries. Without her, the program have vanished years ago. But alas, it seems that the day of reckoning has finally come!

So what was the straw that broke the camel’s back? I had to do a presentation and I was disrespected by “the evil professor”. He talked and shuffled papers throughout my ENTIRE presentation. Everyone saw it and everyone apparently knew why he was doing it. My first-year mentor (who is his colleague) said something to the effect of, “he’s intimidated and does not like Black women that look and act like you. That’s just how it is. You just have got to get used to it. I mean I told him afterwards that he shouldn’t have been doing that. But that’s just how he is.” I was completely shell-shocked when she said that. Yes, I realize that there are people in this world who may dislike me for no reason  but the fact that we think it is completely acceptable to treat people in this manner is absolutely ridiculous. Especially when everyone knows it.

Since then, there have been a host of other moments that have sealed the deal for me. One of which was the moment that I realized that my MA in humanities wasn’t going to do anymore for me than my BA in humanities considering I do not want to remain in academia. I have no intention on remaining unemployed with no experience. So if anyone has any advice on how to market myself with one year successfully completed, please do not hesitate to give me some tips. I will keep you all updated on my progress (or lack thereof haha). Thanks for reading this LONG rant.