Yesterday I was in a horrible mood. I knew that my dissertation proposal was coming out, and I was secretly hoping the email was sent when I was safely home and out of sight. I didn’t know how to respond to all the congratulations and I felt so far removed from the joy my friends had for the milestone. It wasn’t until I was continually checking my email to that I realized what I was waiting for.
During my masters program, I was in a serious committed relationship. So serious, in fact, that he and I were supposed to be married by now. Which is kind of crazy to think about. Anyway, for every milestone of my masters he was there. When I passed my state boards. When I passed my national exam. When I was applying for doctoral programs. He was the first phone call when I got into my PhD program…and he was so excited for me and so proud of me. And I realized that’s what I was waiting for, yesterday.
Not that my friends don’t matter, because they absolutely do, a tremendous deal. But there was no one proud of me like Deeds was proud of me. Who knew the intimate details of the struggle to get to this place because he was bearing witness to my life. No one who saw the tears over my computer keyboard. No one who saw the drafts marked as not good enough. No one who knew how many times I seriously questioned my ability to even do my research, especially now that I was a big ball of anxiety. There wasn’t anyone…except me.
So somewhere after I acknowledged why I was feeling so down, and I talked to both Deeds and my friend Nick about it, I decided to be proud of myself. It was quiet and it was understated but I allowed myself a pat on the back. For all that I’ve been through to get to this place is a blessing. I am proud of the work I’ve done. I’m proud of myself for doing it. And I know my parents are proud of me too, even though they didn’t say anything yesterday either. They tell me all the time. I have to remember that.
I hate that I let something so small (and big) ruin such a special day. I hope that on the day of the defense I am able to stay present and rooted in the gratitude of being where I am. Rather than focusing on what I am missing, what I don’t have or what I have lost.
And for those that are interested: my abstract 😊