1. awkward laughter
2. awkward honesty
The meeting with my professor was about as harrowing as I expected it to be. I started crying when we started talking about PhDs. I couldn’t really talk without crying harder, so I didn’t try to explain: this is a conditioned response. I am now afraid of you, because you remind me of the Very Bad Time last year. Yes, I am under a lot of stress, but this is also triggering something like a flashback for me. It is fine. I will be fine.
Her take is — almost in these exact words — that I am too fragile and too unstable to do a PhD now.
There are so many things I didn’t say. I didn’t say: Look, what you’re saying is just that you think I can’t do it. You’re trying to be very kind, but the end result is the same. And because you said that, I have to do it. Because you said it, and the Ex-friend said it, and so long as I can taste lingering contempt in the air, the only route out is through: I have to do a PhD, an exemplary one.
Just not here.
I guess I am frustrated by this expectation that I need to be whole and healthy before I try to do a PhD. I mean: no. The short answer is no. I’m not waiting for the sadness to roll back before I do the things I want, or I will be waiting a very. long. time.