A few afternoons ago, my grandmother suggested (as we sat by a sunny window in the Museum of Science cafe, watching the river) that I continue to write here, despite having nothing sunny or insightful to say. She probably knows what she's talking about, being an octogenarian and all.
Well. In one big breath, I was rejected from all the graduate programs I applied to, I was rejected from all the orchestras I auditioned for, I'm losing money because my job doesn't pay me enough, I have no idea what I will be doing next year, and my health has suffered seriously under all this stress.
I've watched as almost everybody I know has gone through tense moments - waiting for graduate school admissions, job offers, summer opportunities, audition results - and emerged with nervous, relieved smiles on their faces. People knocking on my door late in the evening, holding tight to a letter, sighing their sighs of relief... It's not that I'm not happy for them - I am - or even that I'm particularly jealous. It's the feeling of shame that really gets me, watching everybody else emerge from their respective battles victorious. Makes me cringe every time. As if everybody I know is sailing on past me, catching wave after wave of hard-earned opportunity, while I sit helplessly with the rubble of my little shipwreck. Where did I go wrong?
My GPA was high enough, that can't be the problem. Had a nearly perfect GRE score. Very good recommendations (including the head of a department that rejected me), and they were all turned in on time. Few years of research experience. Couple of awards. I think the essays were OK. For the first few weeks, I mentally ran through my qualifications over and over, as if I'd suddenly realize, on the five-thousandth repetition, that I forgot to submit an application or that my GRE score was actually horrible. Of course, that didn't get me anywhere. But so far, nobody has been able to offer any insight in to the situation. I have no idea what went wrong. No idea at all.
Of course, it's not all misery and woe. You hear the news, you spend an afternoon staring out the window at the rain, and then you bounce back. The job hunt is on. Life hasn't stopped short. But neither has it really gone back to normal. People ask me how I am and I have no idea how to respond. The truth is that I'm constantly worried - about money, about getting a job, about what it means that I can't seem to do what I want with my life - and that I don't feel well. I feel left out, left behind, and just plain sick. It's been a month since I had a day during which I felt completely well, and eating has become difficult again. Sleeping, too. And I haven't been able to run for over a week.
On the other hand, last night I slept through the night for the first time in weeks, and on top of that, I didn't wake up feeling sick. I *am* trying very hard. Plenty of meditation, rest, vegetables, water, and rational reminders to my panicked self that this is not the end-all of anything at all. This is just another experience, another friend to meet along the road... and how I respond will speak more boldly about who I want to be than any letter of acceptance ever could. Maybe things are beginning to look up... maybe, as everybody keeps reminding me (much to my annoyance), this might be the best thing that ever happened to me. I have to admit that it sure doesn't feel that way, but it'd probably be good for me and everybody else if I stopped rolling my eyes at the suggestion ;)
PS. I already stopped rolling my eyes.