Hello again internet. It’s been awhile.
I’ve been writing like this–an open journal, letters to the internet–on and off for almost half my life. But if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you read the particular incarnation of my public-facing journal that began while I was in the process of leaving my PhD program–then the biggest failure in my life.
That round of writing began because I was at a loss. My life was changing drastically, I didn’t know what was coming next, and I was terrified. And like every previous difficult point in my life, I returned to places of comfort: stacks of library books, pens and notebooks, clicking keys and glowing laptop screens in dark rooms.
I won’t lie to you and tell you that I didn’t want readers, that I didn’t have larger aspirations–I most definitely did. I was spurred onward by a post that went unexpectedly small-time viral, I wrote more about topics that got responses, I was hanging on every comment. Those things were real too.
But what got me started was desperation. A certainty that I had to write my way out of the hole I found myself in.
A little over a year ago, my writing here trailed off, sputtered to a stop. I even declared it the end of an era. After a great deal of struggle in the two years following my departure from grad school–being broke and un/underemployed, depression, a rough breakup, toiling away at a dead-end job–I felt like I was on solid ground, finally. I had found a “good” job–one with benefits, a salary, prospects for advancement–and a solid relationship which, for all my partner’s superficial similarities to prior lovers (similar pop culture interests, personal quirks), seemed utterly new in important ways. Derailed life, back on track.
The blog I had kept during my time of struggle now seemed out of place. What was it for, exactly, now that I didn’t have time to spare or desperation to climb out of?
One year later, I’m still with that lovely partner, and still glad to be, though the honeymoon has passed and we’ve had our share of struggle.
The job was another story that at the moment I’m not able to tell, at least not in full. The brief-ish version is this:
I worked for a tutoring company for about 21 months, tutoring myself while also developing course materials, supervising others, communicating with parents, and generally helping to run the company. The owner saw what I had to offer and put a lot of faith in me, and in that context I was able to grow enormously as an educator and regain a great deal of the confidence and sense of purpose I had lost when I chose to leave academic science. I saw everything that tutoring can and should be, and I became convinced that one-on-one work with students is absolutely what I want to be doing with my life.
Unfortunately, I also threw myself so fully into the job that I lost my mind a little bit. I stopped writing here, and gradually stopped writing at all for myself. I took on unreasonable amounts of work, because I did want to do it all. As my company’s success grew, my life became increasingly dominated by my anxiety. I got sick, a lot.
I tried to make course corrections a number of times, but in the end I couldn’t find a way to make things work at the particular company I was working at, for reasons I can’t get into here. Two weeks ago, one last attempt to make things work with my company blew up in my face, and I found myself once again, unemployed.
I come to you now, humbled.
I say this not because I am desperate in the same way I was when I left graduate school–this time I have a plan, and [some] confidence in my abilities. I’m tutoring privately (forgive the bare-bones site, I’m just getting started), doing some education writing work, and [starting this fall, fingers crossed] pursuing certification in educational therapy. I’m considering other full time jobs, but I won’t be taking one because I have to–only if the right thing comes along.
No, I’m humbled because I was cocky enough to think my work here was done–to think that once I achieved Real Adulthood, complete with Job That Provides Health Insurance, I no longer needed to write. Worse, I told myself writing here was a silly indulgence, something I could take or leave and now, like a good adult, I needed to Assess My Priorities.
I was wrong.
I don’t have any grand plans or promises for you this time around. There are to be no planned post series or posting schedules, no big projects. I have my hands pretty full with trying to pay the bills, and I don’t intend to make this blog part of my money-making or marketing efforts.
Honestly, I don’t even have a particularly clear idea of what I’m going to write about.
All I know is this–I am writing for myself again, in a little notebook that I keep by my bed. When that writing brings me to something personal I want to say “out loud”, I’ll put it here.
If anyone out there is still listening, thank you. And hello again. I missed you.