Disappointment is not the emotion I want to be left with as I pack up my stuff and leave the halls of BSU. I'd like to keep everything on a high note...the "yay, i'm done!" happy note. But today I just feel generally sad. Yesterday I picked up the paper that I spent approximately a zillion hours on to find that I only got a B+ and a entire page worth of commentary pointing out the essay's weaknesses. Why am I not happy with a B+ you ask? Because, like I said, I put a zillion hours into it...I worked my ass off and put enough thought and energy and stress into it to equal several papers in any other class.
I should have picked a topic that came prepackaged with a tidy little thesis, one that I could wrap up in a tidy little conclusion. But, you see, I don't work well like that. I chose my topic because I felt it down deep, because I resonated with it, because I felt like it had something to teach me. I'm frustrated that I failed at my efforts. Fail, you ask? (after all, it wasn't an F!) Let's face it, a B+ means that it wasn't good enough. God, as I write that I am completely aware of how stupid this sounds...but damnit...I think my feelings of disappointment are about more than just the grade, but about the comments too...and the fact that, once again, I'm left feeling that I don't fit it, that I'm not smart enough, and that my brain refuses to work in certain ways. It makes me fear and dread more grad school....and definitely makes me feel like I'll never be "good" enough for a PhD program. I would have liked to write a really blow-your-mind-away essay about Morrison and Hughes and the power of language. I would have liked to write something moving and memorable. As writers, isn't that what we want all of our writing to do?
This essay was important to me for some reason. The cynic in me thinks: 1) I would have been better off writing a 5 paragraph theme the day before it was due and calling it good. Another part of me thinks: 2) that my professor made some really good points and that there is truth in what she said. And yet another part of me thinks: 3) that she is wrong and that the essay is as good (or nearly as good) as any published piece of critical writing. I'll settle with the notion that it is a healthy combination of #2 and #3...and that life goes on.
Disappointment numero dos is that my thesis proposal that I turned in last semester has been lost, my adviser doesn't remember if she sent it out to my committee members, she doesn't remember if she gave it a grade (which she did last week after prompting from me), and I'm pretty sure she doesn't even remember reading it. In how many ways can one feel like a piece of shit??? I put a lot of work into writing my proposal. And for what? I have felt, all along, that no one gives a shit about what I write for my thesis. This feeling is both sad and liberating. But being completely forgotten about just plain sucks.
I realize that teachers are busy and have many, many students to think about. But, come on, how many grad students are there?? The whole deal makes me want to feel sorry for myself. Oh yeah--I AM feeling sorry for myself. The worst part is that I love these professors dearly--and that is what makes this sense of disappointment hurt even more.
I feel mediocre.
I feel forgotten.
But most of all, I feel like my writing doesn't matter.
To think that my words don't matter just sorta makes me want to lay down and cry. These past two years have been hard in so many ways. I guess I wanted to walk away from it feeling like I accomplished something. Unfortunately, that's not how I feel.
I still have to write my thesis this summer and then come back to Bemidji to defend it in the fall. It is a strange feeling. At this point I'm writing it for no one other than myself. I feel very alone in this endeavor. Then again, maybe that's what I need. I feel like I am standing in a dark grey fog. I can see no one in any direction. I can hear nothing. This time, it's just me. It reminds me of when I lived, for many months, alone out in the woods without running water or electricity. It was a quiet time when I traveled deep inside of myself. My experience was based on that solitude...and maybe that's what my writing needs now. Anyway, it has some wounds to heal. Sometimes solitude offers the best salve.