10 September, 2012

Endings without beginnings

When life decides to deal a blow, sometimes it delivers one that is so devastating that you stop functioning for a bit. You avoid things, people, work, whatever. And even though you know you can pick back up the pieces, that you can move on...your numbness keeps you from doing so. But sometimes you need the time to accept what has happened, to lick your wounds and recover before you can emerge out of your self-imposed exile of the mind. Thus why I abandoned this blog for a bit, despite my promises of writing once a week. Despite the small kinds of joy I found in writing it.

You see, in the beginning of July I had written to a former project leader of mine, asking for the final informe (report) from the project I worked on in 2011. I needed the data contained in that report to finish writing my proposal for INAH to get the permissions to carry out my own planned dissertation project. This project was to start sometime in September--in fact, this very week. A week later, I received the blow that life was to deal me.

The former project leader emailed me to tell me that he thought my project was unworkable, and that he was not willing to commit his time nor the project's time and resources to something he did not support. I remember reading the email and going numb, standing up, leaving my chair (I was out at a coffee shop in Oaxaca, getting ready for a day of work) and taking a deep breath. Trying not to lose my shit....well no, not close to that. I wasn't about to do that. But I did feel like the rug had been pulled out from under me--that I was facing a gaping crevice and I wasn't sure how I was going to get across now, and the only feeling is a sinking in my stomach as I faced the abyss.

What was there next to do? There was contacting my adviser, there was choking back the tears, there was playing my favorite computer strategy game, there was doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. For a week or a day. For a month. Oh there were things I still managed to get done, academic and business related. I am never a total slack-off even at my lowest moments. But there were many hours of being selfish, of mindless entertainment. Of numbing and being numb as I wrestled with the next thing to do. The next step. I know I'm being overly dramatic. But the thing was is that I was so close. Grants had been applied for, equipment purchased. So much time spent and so much thought invested, this project had become me. And I was so excited about it. And then I had to put it away. At my lowest I wanted to put it all away, just drop this futile pursuit for a PhD and settle with the letters already at the end of my name.

Two months later I'm picking up the pieces again. I am moving forward. There is nothing really to do except that. Hopefully things are going to look up again, and I'll find a PhD project soon. Until that time I am going to keep plugging away at the little things that are within my control, the things I can do. And I'll keep writing, writing articles and chapters, writing emails, and writing on this blog. Maybe the writing will help me to find the next path or fork in this life I call mine. One can always hope.


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