I am a recovering academic. That is to say, I have a Master’s, a PhD, and over a decade of teaching experience in higher ed. But all that teaching experience was off the tenure clock. I was an adjunct and without going into that horror too much, what I saw as my failure played (and still plays) heavily into my suicidal plague-thoughts.
LET’S SKIP AHEAD A BIT SHALL WE
Self-care is something I am learning in therapy. For a while I clung to “shower every day. Eat every day.” But now I’m learning more complicated — no, that’s not the word, but I can’t find the word I want — less obvious? methods. One of my methods of self-care is to avoid facebook as much as I possibly can. Facebook is filled with stories from my cohort of tenure glory, teaching awards, conferences — things I used to be a part of and am not anymore. (I suppose I could still attend conferences. Anyone want to give me money for plane tickets/hotel accommodations? No? — Universities used to pay for that.)
I can’t avoid Facebook completely for Reasons, but I’ve been doing well. And then this morning I got hit with a DOUBLE FACEBOOK TRIGGER WHAMMY. My cousin, who doesn’t know about my issues with darkness (because no one does, I should win an Oscar for being able to act like nothing is wrong), posted a link to this article on my page: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/17/professors_in_homeless_shelters_it_is_time_to_talk_seriously_about_adjuncts/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow
Adjuncts homeless? Of course they are. Adjuncts can’t afford to fucking feed themselves nevermind live anywhere. It awoke my old thoughts of desperation, let me put it that way. I didn’t and still haven’t read that Salon article because I knew it would be triggering, and I thought I had somehow won, even though it awakened this little snarl of anger in my stomach. But I’m post-ac, now. I’m above that world. I am not a part of it anymore.
Then I saw a post by a friend on my feed:
After teaching today I’m heading to the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) meeting in Colonial Williamsburg, where I will be giving a paper on (redacted), talking about teaching, and leading the (redacted) ….and can also be seen Friday night at the first-ever ASECS Women’s Caucus Masquerade Ball (where you can see my terrible dumb show skills). We don’t have an awesome hashtag like #shakeass14 does, but we make up for it in mostly-friendly nerdery.
Unfortunately I read this while in the middle of washing a giant stack of dirty dishes and trying to clean up after the chicken that is currently living in my house. I wrote back: Wow this makes me feel like Cinderella. Make sure you post pictures.
Do I wish I were going to a lit nerd lit prof masquerade ball? Yes. Stay At Home Moms don’t Masquerade Ball. Will I ever go to one/be invited to one/sign up for one? No. Because I’m not in that world anymore. I can’t afford to go. That’s not my dream anymore. I don’t have anything to take its place, though. I need to find new things. I also need to wash my dishes, do my laundry, and take care of my kids and a sick chicken
Most of all I need to stop ruminating. Ruminating, afaik, is this process by which you let a bad/scary/harmful/sad thought turn over and over and over, kind of like compost, until it stains your very soul. For me that stain is resentment, jealousy, despair, and self-hatred. Support group tonight to get help with this.