My writing sample might not be good enough. My statements of purpose might be a mess. My resume might not be impressive. I might click the wrong button on the application. Maybe my undergrad GPA just isn’t up to snuff.
On and on and on.
Getting into grad school feels so very high stakes, so I am trying to challenge myself to be “okay” if it doesn’t happen. “Okay” if I am still just this, where I am, this time next year.
It’s hard, though. I feel trapped and panicked. I feel like grad school is the only way I can afford to get out.
I need you to understand, by the way: I don’t want to leave you. Not ever, not for a single second. But I feel a little like I’m living in a haunted house. For the past three days, I’ve felt underwater. It’s cold and wet and blurry around the edges, and it makes me feel like I am drowning. Like I am dying.
I’m not happy here anymore. I’m sorry.
But I have this dream of waking up in the morning just to the pressures of making coffee and of writing words. And, again, in this fantasy I have a record player, and I listen to Elton John in my bathrobe, and it’s frustrating, because I DO THOSE THINGS NOW. Why doesn’t it work here? Why am I unhappy?
Logically, I know that this question is more about time than place. I will feel better a year from now, because… well, another year will have passed. I’ll have made new mistakes and I’ll have continued growing and learning and I won’t always feel the way I feel this morning. Even if I’m still right here, in my bathrobe and listening to Elton John on my phone.
But the place feels important. It feels romantic, I think. This notion of landing on another piece of the Earth and trying again. Maybe it will be easier to introduce myself to someone there, to introduce myself to myself even? I still don’t know what words and names I will use, but maybe there will be something like a new freedom to try in this new place, wherever it is.
I hope I hope I hope.
I dream of baking cookies for my peer review group, of cleaning my little apartment before everyone comes over to work on their plays, of teaching undergrads, of staying up too late over outlines and cups of forgotten tea. That feels like happiness to me. And I just don’t think I’ll allow myself to have it here.
It’s not you, Atlanta. It’s definitely me.
But I might not get into grad school! So, what then?
(I’m not prepared today to think that far ahead, forgive me.)
Today there is just a bathrobe and Elton John and cold coffee and hope.
I hope I hope I hope.