Saturday, July 26, 2008

Standing Alone

Perhaps I'm hormonal. At this point, I hope that's the case. But I have spent the better part of three days in a virtual standstill due to the gravity of my situation being made abundantly apparent to me from several fronts:
  • A friend upon who I was counting made clear an intent to leave me hanging, not with an apology, but rather with a statement that made clear we were supposed to pretend no commitment had ever been made.
  • A man whose interest I sought and thought I had has failed to call, which led me to realize that I haven't been asked out on a date by a man who was genuinely interested in me since my divorce.
  • A trip that was supposed to cost me nothing, is now going to cost me nearly $250 that I don't have.
  • Despite assurances from all my committee members that my project is fundable, my project has failed to garner funding. I am now having to work side jobs to pay for my research.
  • I realized that I have no friends my own age. I have no idea what 45-year-old people, soon to be 46, do because I'm the only one I know. I have more in common with my professors than my student peers and yet I am prevented by that difference in status from pursuing friendships with the people I would feel more comfortable with. Thus, I am uncomfortable and alone most of the time.
  • A family member either knowingly or unknowingly belittled my life, and thought it appropriate to tell me in a quite paternalistic manner how I should be spending my money.
  • A friend whose gentle ear I sought in this time of discomfort thought it more appropriate to make fun of me and give me greater grief to add that which I had already received in heaping doses from others.

I tackled the bookcase project yesterday as a means of taking myself out of my head and into the moment. But the isolation I have felt at having no one's loyalty has left me empty. I find it difficult to garner much enthusiasm for anything. My house is a wreck and I can't seem to get off the couch.

I don't mind the poverty. I don't mind the hard work to earn a degree. I have learned over time to cope with the loneliness. I do mind the piling on by everyone at once. I feel acutely being taken advantage of and taken for granted and treated like I am stupid because people who are doing better than me presume to think I am a failure. I do mind the lack of any meaningful friendships and male companionship. I mind not having anyone my age around. These things, I mind very much. There is nothing worse than feeling you are standing alone, especially when things are not going well. And I am tired of being judged for reacting like I do when I have no one to help me cope. If I hear one more person say to me "you always overreact" I am going to show them what overreacting really is.

I hope this is just hormones. Really I do. Because if things are really this bad and I am really this alone, I really have reason to wonder what the hell I'm doing here. I am really starting to doubt whether I am PhD material. I should have all my data in hand by this point in my program. I am still trying desperately to get money to get the data. I honestly thought by this time, one of the many, many grants I had written would have hit pay dirt. None has. This is no longer a 5-year project. This is a 7-year project and I don't have that kind of time. My desperation is complete. The only meaningful thing I have done all week is stop to move a turtle out of the road.

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