The Scamp Persists

2018 was not my year. In fact, it was one of the worst years I’ve had in a long time. I stumbled a lot. I had some of my worst lows. I thought about quitting the PhD. I thought about quitting Scotland. I quit on my diet. I quit on some of my friends. I quit making emotionally healthy choices.

There were some days that I felt 2018 quit on me.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

After 25 failed job applications, 2018 did me a solid. I got a full-time job in Scotland. I think it was quite poetic that I got the news while I was in the lift at Napier. I told my supervisor first.

No, that’s not true. I did a happy dance and cried in the lift. Then I told my supervisor.

He actually hugged me! I think I wanted to tell him first because he has been so hard on me and we spent most of 2018 not seeing eye-to-eye on my work.

The best in-person reaction was from my mentor. She is the only reason I got the job. She has given me work, let me publish as lead author and sent me a million and one jobs postings. When I told her, she jumped up and gave me the best mom hug ever. It is exactly what my mom would have done. She also told everyone in the office, including the two women on the hiring committee for the post in the office. Those women refused to even look at my application. I spent a week feeling bad about the fact that the place I worked for the last three years wouldn’t even consider me for my own position. I met the person they did hire on the day I got my acceptance letter….and I have to tell you, I did not engage with the new person at all. Didn’t introduce myself, didn’t make conversation, and did not care one little bit that I was being rude.

I have spent three miserable years in that office. People who work there still have no idea what I do or how far along I am in the process. Not too long ago, one of them introduced themselves to me thinking I was new. I have been taken off projects, removed from the staff page, been moved to a closet, had my desk taken from me, and have my every move tracked for ‘audit purposes’.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

I am very very very behind on my thesis. I don’t care. I’m very very very behind on work for one of my jobs. I don’t care. It is not the way I want to start the new year. I’ve scheduled a meeting with my favourite supervisor to get the kick in the ass I need to get everything finished in time. I want to start 2019 on the right foot by putting Napier behind me. It saved my life by getting me out of California after CSUF, but that is just about the only good thing I can say.

So, in an effort to make up for a rotten year, and to live up to the promise of this year, I will persist.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 52

There are only two days left in 2015 and I have come to the end of the gratitude challenge. Week 52 is dedicated to reflection on the last year.

Did the challenge change me?

I’d really like to say yes. I’d like to say that I am now a more open and grateful person, and that the dark and twisty days are few and far between. The thing is though, I don’t feel any different. I feel like the same old me I was this time last year. I’m still in the grips of depression, still get moments of the dark and twisty, and more often than not, I would not focus on the good in my life until I sat down to write my weekly post as part of the challenge.

While the challenge made not have changed me, it certainly did save me. This time last year I was scheduling meetings with academic departments and people way above my paygrade to hear my fate in the EdD programme. I knew that I was going to get the boot, and I knew that my dream of earning a doctorate in the United States was over. I was feeling lower than low and had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

I was broken. My mother would pretend to need help with errands and chores to make sure that I got out of bed, and she would text me several times throughout the day to make sure I was still alive (to be fair, even in my deepest dark and twisty, I never reached that point). I went nowhere and saw no one. I celebrated the new year with the wombmate and her friends, but I felt out of place and awkward.

Taking some time each week to remind myself that there was still good in my world, that there were at least 52 things to be grateful for (and in this case, I was able to make a list of 100) was a great break from the dark and twisty. It was fairly easy to think about what memory, person, place, or thing fit the criteria for the challenge, and for an hour or so a week, I was solely focused on the positive. I know that I started more than one post of the challenge by saying that I needed the post to help get me out of my funk.

2015 was not my year. Not my year at all. Yes, there was some really great things that came from it, I am currently in my own flat, in Scotland. I am relatively healthy, I have a job that I like and a job that provides a little extra cash, and people around me that love and care about me, but on the whole, 2015 was a shit year.

I’m happy to be rid of it. It is too early to say what 2016 will be like, but I am guessing that it will be a whole lot more exciting.