Year Five of the Ph.D.

My how things have changed. Since the nearly three months that have elapsed since my last post, so much has happened. I’ll start with the logistical stuff because that’s easier to approach than matters of the heart. I’ve been in Washington since the 12th of August. To make a very long story short, my apartment was not ready when I got back here so Dad and I lived in two executive suites (aka studio apartments that are furnished and rent out long term) for a period of five days. We lived in them for free and eventually had to house my stuff in them because the UHaul had to go back and so did Dad, so at the end of the day it was just me and a lot of stuff sitting in two random apartments.

Finally, my new kitchen was installed in the new place and I got the keys. The good news of all of this is that they did not charge me a dime for the entirety of August and took off $500 of rent for September. That was a true blessing but honestly, given the insanity of the situation it seemed the minimum they could do. In the end, a couple of friends ended up helping me do an in-building move between the other two places and the new place, which was pretty quick and easy, making taking another 2-3 hours. They also helped me put my furniture together so that I had a bed to sleep on and a table to eat at. The last step in this crazy move was my brother’s visit with wife and baby. They took all the plastic bins with them as well as the moving blankets Dad had to leave given that he was forced to fly back to Ohio because Mom, Sis and kids cancelled their visit here, not wanting to be a part of a multi-day move. When those last items were gone, it felt pretty great. I have been doing some light decorating and organizing since then, putting pictures on the walls, thinking about where things will be housed, fixing and arranging to my heart’s content.

I started teaching this week, which has proven to be a lovely return to the classroom. I have about 24 students, 14 in one section and 10 in the other. I am reminded of how much I enjoy being in contact with students, and how vital it is in an otherwise lonely gig of writing and researching that characterizes the Ph.D. life. In other news, I’ve been chugging along at Chapter Three, which I hope to turn in a bit later than expected, on September 15th. Do not fret, dear friends. That still gives me plenty of time to write Chapter Four before the semester ends and to do my intro and conclusion over the break. I have to have a first final draft to them by Feb. 1st if I’m hoping to defend by April and graduate in May. I have a good feeling about it. The fire lit under my bum is burning bright. I’m ready for another phase in life, one that includes a bit more financial security. Five years is long enough, I dare say.

Having gone through all of the major plot points of the last few weeks here, I arrive at the stuff that is less easy to discuss. A few days now into month five of my separation and honestly, I’m still struggling. Five months after eight years is not long, I know. The daily crying sessions are now weekly, and sometimes late at night when I’m with friends or just peaceful with myself I feel (gasp) happy. But then there are anxious mornings, the random things that remind me of that 25% of my life that is no longer. Even if it was the right decision, which it was, it is still incredibly challenging. It’s a loss for sure, as is every change. The gain coupled with that loss is less clear at times. There are fleeting moments of realizing that gain, but it’s easy to question the benefits of the separation when the hard times sometimes feel worse than the hard ones inside the marriage. I’m not sure if that even makes any sense. With all of this stated, the general sense is that this is in fact the right path. Thank goodness. It will also inevitably get easier, which is great too. Each month feels better, has less rugged edges to it, seems to flow in and out in a more peaceful way. The morning anxiety is lessened to. We’re not jumping out of bed running to the hilltops singing, but a quick shower and a cup of coffee, then getting out of the door quickly can be actions that go a long way. Straggling seems to be the hardest thing at the moment. Action dulls the pain.

Anyway, that is enough for the moment. I wrote this post clearly as a procrastination tactic from my usual gig— err, writing my chapter. It was a good ploy but now duty calls.

With love and fondness,
Miss C

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