The Scamp has Some Feelings

I have long neglected this blog. I didn’t mean to. In fact, I started this blog to be the exact opposite. It was my safe little corner of the world where I could work through being so far away from my family for the first time, and be able to share what it was like for this little Scamp to live abroad.

It then morphed into a way for me to process my grief and my reverse culture shock. From there it become my coping mechanism for the horrors that I went through with CSUF. It was a place to share my gratitude and voice my fears.

I am not sure what it will be now. I haven’t sat in this space for a long time. I was too emotionally drained to even try and write for fun. I was too much of a zombie to try and be witty and pithy and admit to the world that my life was reduced to writing, stressing about writing, and trying to get all the work done for all 47 jobs that I took on….or that I failed the UK driving exam for the second time.

Today I handed in my PhD. A month ago I started a full-time job. I commute almost two hours one way, work from 9-4ish and still sort of worry about money. Soon I will have viva prep and hopefully by October I will be a full fledged doctor. My travelling and adventures will now be limited to preset times during the year with prior approval from my boss (who I love and will give me the time off).

Today I ate two cupcakes.

Today I saw a photo of a woman I went to high school with at her sister’s graduation. Standing next to them was the woman that told me I was a cheat and a plagiarist and that if I didn’t apologise for being white I’d never be a good academic.

Today I text an ex who used me to cheat on his gf and (I’m pretty sure) is a complete sociopath. I knew that if I messaged him I could justify feeling crappy about myself and pretend that I was not upset by seeing a photo of the woman that all but broke me.

Today I should be happy about finally submitting my thesis….and I was. Then I spent a little too much time overthinking and creating a plot of misery. So, in order to not waste my first time back in this space by sharing the acknowledgement page from my thesis. It is but a small gesture to the people who refused to let me fail. There were a lot of people who did not make it to the list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them or appreciate them. Here it is, exactly as it looks…complete with a thanks to my supervisors that I am still on the fence about. This means I can end this day with feelings of gratitude rather than feelings of self-loathing.

This thesis has been a labour of love (and sometimes loathing), and there are several people that deserve much more than a few lines at the start of this work. Thanks to:

• Tansy Jessop for having lunch with me at the 2015 Assessment and Higher Education conference and making sure that my TESTA journey was a successful one.

• David Carless for helping me refine the recommendations and pointing me in the direction of a strong definition of feedback. • David Nicol for saying to me, ‘You should be critiquing my model! It worked in the time it was written, but it is time for something new’. You will never know how much that bolstered my self-confidence.

• My supervisors, Joan McLatchie, Velda McCune, and Mark Huxham – thanks for taking a chance on a cat loving Californian. I know that I have tried your patience a few times, but we got there in the end.

• The Llama Ladies- You are the best friends a girl could ask for.

• Errol Rivera- You talked me off many a ledge and helped me outline many a draft chapter. I’m forever grateful.

• Joe Ameen- A million thanks for the chats and life advice.

• Dr Ana Georgieva- You kept me sane and reminded me to be kind to myself.

• Martha Caddell- You are the best mentor a girl could ever want. I hope I’m half as great as you one day.

• Anne Tierney-Because everything’s better with puppets!

• Kelsey Austin- My travel buddy, my heterolifemate, my unwavering support. I love you and our many adventures.

• Declan- you know why.

• Mondo, Brandon, Jackson, and Matt- I love you.

• Wombmate-You gave me nephews, you listened to me cry and you never let me forget that I am better than my anxiety.

• My parents, Rick and Michelle- I’ll never be able to pay back what you’ve given me. Thank you for never squashing my wanderlust and for all the support. I love you to the moon and back.

The Scamp Gets Overwhelmed

I’ve become THAT girl.

I’ve become that creepy girl that sits at the back of the room rocking and chewing on her hair.

Yesterday I imploded in the middle of class. One minute I was in class listening to book report presentations, and the next minute I was sobbing uncontrollably and hastily running out of my class before too many people noticed what was going on.

I cried for the next 40 minutes. I cried so hard I gave myself the hiccups. I cried on the phone with the boy, and while he was nice about it, it was not exactly what he should have been doing at 7 pm on a Tuesday. I was a mess. This has been building for months, and it sure chose the worst time to come through. I’m not exactly good with my feelings and emotions. I like to keep things bottled up and pretend that things don’t bother me when they do. For the last few months I have been trying to juggle three jobs, school, homework, a social life and the boy, and my juggling skills have finally run out.

There is a reason that the program told us at the beginning to not be in relationships, to take a sabbatical from work, and to kiss our social lives goodbye. This program sucks the life out of you. It will consume you. The reading, the studying, the writing, the prepping for the qualifying exam, and then for my dissertation….it never ends. I expected it. I knew that I would be busy, I knew that it would be hard, but to be in the middle of it now while trying to juggle other things. While the program was slowly sucking the life out of me, I let myself fall into old habits. The sucky thing is, when I get into these bouts of depression, I tend to ruin relationships. I can already feel myself doing that. Without insurance though, I cannot afford to see a doc, and some of the affordable options have not been a good fit (I guess that is a good enough reason to sign up for insurance).

The problem is, I’m selfish. I may want to quit the program at this very moment, but I am not going to. I may want to quit one or two of my jobs, but I am not going to. The library pays my bills for the moment, I love working with the junior high kids, and the professor I work for is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is also giving me the opportunity to publish, learn, and immerse myself in research. I should not go to SD and see the boy, or hang out with people for happy hour, but I am not going to give those up. I love my friends and family, and I love the boy the best way I know how, and I don’t want to let any of that go.

The problem is, instead of doing everything that I learned to do while I was in therapy in Scotland, I reverted. I don’t know how to keep that from happening. I don’t know how to reconcile what I know I need to do with what I am doing.

Luckily I have some amazing friends and family to help see me through. My BFF has been giving me just the kick in the pants I need (and enough daily reminders that I am not in fact a broken toy) to keep me from crawling too deep into the hole. I’m also getting to the gym and getting some weekly yoga classes that are helping me work off some of the tension, and I am really hoping that I can make a lasting change, rather than just a change I thought was lasting.

I hate admitting that I failed….well not failed, but suffered  a setback. I like to think of myself as strong and perfect, completely capable of taking care of myself, but I am slowly learning in my old age that that might not be the case.

….and that is completely okay.