Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jessica and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Season

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

It's comforting, isn't it. That is, unless you aren't getting what you want, unless something horrible happens to you. Or worse, several terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things occur in your life in succession or in harmony or in disharmony. Unless it seems like Richard III is in the throes of his bloody reign and you are living IN it - he's killed nearly everyone, even your children, and you're on your doorstep every night ready to fight 'till the death for your own survival. When we're on the doorstep, fretfully trying to stay awake and look out into the dark for a demon that may or may not arrive - are we thinking about how good God is and how God has a "reason" and "higher purpose" for everything?

It is not during the times when it seems that one thing after another is going wrong that we "trust in the lord;" it's usually after, when something small that we want to happen occurs, that we can be appreciative and trusting. When you feel you're trying hard and your own shit keeps hitting the fan, that's when it seems apt to assume that Ecclesiastes is akin to an old school, flamable Hallmark-ian verse. I think my shit started hitting the fan a long time ago - I think it all started before I was born, when my parents threw caution to the winds of desire and ended up getting my mother knocked up with...me. Pardon me for being histrionic (my new favorite word), but I believe my Grandma Mel was probably on to something when she tried to make my mother get an abortion.

Not that I'm ungrateful for my life... Most of the time I'm not, actually. I'm only pissed off at God when I'm pissed off. I'm only full of shit when I'm full of shit. Is your glass half empty or half full? I say: it doesn't matter if you're bound to drink it or spill it just the same. Today is not a bad day, but today I feel terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. I can't quite figure out when I started feeling bad, so I guess I will just say that I started feeling bad as soon as I left my mother's womb. That seems as accurate as anything else I might say.

I told myself I could build a thicker and thicker skin - but I don't know if I believe this "build a thick skin" stuff I've been telling myself, either. Anyway, I decided I was going to go to grad school. A reasonable desire and goal. Nothing too lofty. Something attainable, right? Not exactly reaching for the stars. People do it all the time, so why can't I? I have a few major interests: literature, writing, poetry, helping (via counseling), defending the downtrodden, standing up to bullies and studying and creating feminist theory, activism and art. I live in a small town in the middle of corn and soy fields and there is one university in the town. There is no local counseling program, women's studies grad program, or creative writing program. I ruled out on line degrees because I am not a fan of on line courses or degrees.

My wife works in the Psychology department at WIU, so I basically know everyone in the department. You can take that however you like. I consider it a more of a hindrance when it comes to obtaining a graduate degree - but mostly only if things don't go my way (and they haven't). Immediately, I made this decision to get into the Clinical Psychology grad program official, made the necessary contacts, and was informed that I had about two weeks until the Clinical Psychology applications would be reviewed. It was a mad rush, and I rose to the challenge. I worked my ass off and did what I needed to do, and got in to take the GRE as soon as I could...about a week and a half after I decided to apply. I took the GREs and did well-enough (poorly on the quantitative section, very well on the qualitative and superbly on the writing element). My entrance essay was great. Not bragging, it was truly adequate. My GPA was a 4.0 and at least one of my four recommendation letters was stellar (I only read the one sent to me by my amazing academic mentor who lives and works in Boulder, CO now...she's f-ing brilliant).

Oh, and in the meantime, I was doing well in my on line Psychology courses (fulfilling the undergraduate requirements so that my application would be completely). Unfortunately, despite my efforts to get everything done ASAP and despite letting the director of the program know my plan and intentions - things did not work in my favor. The GRE scores took a couple of weeks (maybe even a month, I am not sure) to be sent to WIU and the School of Graduate Studies would not send any of my materials to the Clinical Psychology program until the GRE scores were in and the application was complete. In other wo(i)ds, my application came in late. Too late. As I have been told, they received numerous excellent applications and filled the program before they even got to my application (which, they also told me, was excellent...).

So that's it, that's how my day started: learning I will not be a student in the Clinical Psychology grad program next year. I have the option of taking courses as a student-at-large - and then going to grad school for FOUR years instead of three years. That means paying for an extra year and not being able to apply for assistantships for that year, as far as I am aware. I was hoping to find a way to pay for some of my graduate schooling, since I have never paid for anything in my life. I am back at the drawing board, questioning everything again. Back to indecision. Yuck. I love English and I have long thought of going to school for English studies, but part of me isn't sure about that. Part of me is scared that I might be perceived as trying to be "just like" the band of English teachers who have banned me from their lives. How I admire them all, even now. I know I shouldn't make any decision based on how they or anyone else might perceive it. I do think of it, though.

And then there is the whole thing about never really knowing or feeling like I know what I should be doing. Should I take this as a sign from the Gods to stay away from Clinical Psych? Well, not unless I want to listen to everything else the Gods have to say...and I don't think I want to...Back to the drawing board, yes, back to black, back to not knowing anything and being an angry, frigid, rigid, reactive, defensive little turd-creature. For a few days anyway. I am afraid of people, and rightly so: past behavior predicts future behavior. People hurt people. History repeats. Sorry to be an egotistical butt head, but I think I make a really great grad student...ah, who am I kidding? If I really thought that to my core, then would I so adamantly be opposed to walking down the dead-rat-smelling halls of Waggoner again?

I talked to my mom today (about this but also) because the principal at We (ha ha) East called me to talk about Messages for Mrs. H. My mom had to break it to me that she and my dad were "concerned" that I was only trying to help Mrs. H and her girls because I was trying to show Admonishing Woman in Room 213 that I still belong and have a place at East and that 'I will not be cast off...' That was very hurtful. That made my day even BETTER(!!!***!!!). Seriously, I honor my mother for telling me the truth in a loving way. At the same time, I felt profoundly misunderstood and like a prisoner. I said, "You're right that I don't want to be cast off and that I feel that way, but the Messages for Mrs. H thing is entirely separate and has nothing to do with it." She said, "Well, I know that. Maybe your father knows that now, too. You can ask him." I said, defensively, "No. I'm sure he DOESN'T know that. And NO, I am not going to talk to him about it."

We stopped talking shortly after that. Dr. Taylor, East's principal called me. I don't know what he will say yet because I called him back today and he had already left for the day. I only contacted East because I thought it was appropriate - we needed to ask permission to have the letters sent for Mrs. H. I don't anticipate that more than a hundred letters will come in, ultimately. Anyway, as soon as my mother said that, I felt both like I wanted to deny what she said and defend myself, and also that it would be futile to do so. My parents and the rest of the world will think what they think. They will see my words and acts the way they want to see them. I know they came from a place of love, so I have nothing to prove.

This day sucked. It's not over. How wonderful!

That's all.


1 comment:

Kristin Davis said...

I used to read that book when I was a kid! I think I even read it to my cousins. Anyway, I'm sorry that you are have a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day. Or whatever order the book has it listed as.