Oprah and Blueberry Pie

January 14, 2009

Q:  What do these things have in common?

A:  They are both found at the bottom of my emotional barrel.

Or rather, almost at the bottom.  The bottom is where I stop eating and watching TV altogether.  I was there a few days ago.  In the last two days, I’ve moved half a step, so that I’m still sleeping 11 or 12 hours a day and avoiding people, but I’ve started cooking, because 1) it passes the time, 2) it provides some assurance that I am not a total incompetent, and 3) it results in things like blueberry pie.

Ive not written a word of my diss in more than a week.  I’ve been unable to work on the essay or the blog posts I’ve promised various people.  I lurch between simply not caring (“it won’t be any good, anyway”), and freaking out about all the people I am failing (“now they’ll know what you really are!”), but in neither case does it get me to a place where I can write.

RB is concerned.  And not because I’ve watched Oprah a few times in the last couple of days.  (Which:  jeezus, wroth, really?  This new age, feel-good, mush-headed pop-spirituality is what you’ve been reduced to?)  He’s concerned about the sleeping thing.  And the fact that I’ve pretty much decided that if I can’t turn my shit around by the time my current gig is up, then I’m going to quit my program.  One more semester.

He’s gotten the info of a therapist who apparently specializes in ridiculous academic  failures like me (apparently, we’re such a common breed that you can make a living off of counseling us) and is trying to set up an appointment for me, despite my protestations that it isn’t covered by our insurance.  I’ve decided to go, if for no other reason than to figure out what to do next, since I have few if any marketable skills (I’ve never done much of anything than be a student), and I’m not sure how I would handle breaking the news to family members.  That’s really the thing that’s kept me in this for as long as it has.  Fear.  And shame.  And fear of shame.

Best case scenario:  Therapist works her magic ju-ju, I resentfully choke my way through the diss, graduate, and, since the economy is all but guaranteeing unemployment, I temp or adjunct for the foreseeable future.

Worst case scenario:  Therapist is as much of a fraud as I am, I quit my program without finishing, and I temp or adjunct for the foreseeable future. 

In both cases, I expect to make more pie.



  1. Therapist good. RB good. Pie good.

    Really this is a very simple course for you to follow, darlin’. Feel free to call and yell anytime to a sympathetic fellow self-flagellator.

  2. All I can say is: everyone I know who did a Phd, me included, went through exactly the horror you are describing. Someone needs to come up with a Kubler-Rossian “stages of dissertating” roadmap so that we will all stop thinking that we are individual failures for floundering around and realize that Stage 4 is coming and yes, indeed, we can write the motherfucker and have the pain over with.

    That is a damned good looking pie.

  3. Great. Now I want pie. And a nap. And bad daytime television.

    And I DON’T want a PhD. So thanks for that. ;P.

    You’ve come so far, Wroth. And whether or not you do it, you’ve DONE it. This far.

  4. I sincerely doubt that you are a “ridiculous academic failure.” and anyway, everyone needs a moment to decompress. you’ve been grinding away at that thing nearly nonstop for quite a while. one week off is probably well overdue. maybe your body just needs some rechargin’, which is taking the form of heavy sleep, non-thought-provoking programming, and amazing-looking pies.

    seriously, that crust looks like it could win a blue ribbon.

  5. Love that you’re taking a break, love RB, love the pie, love the idea of your talking to someone, love you.

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