Apologies for the light blogging these past few days--no excuse other than too many over-worked siblings, and too many nephews and nieces, contributing to a Belle ready to rip out her ovaries with her bare hands. Oh, and a 14 year old who is still learning how to write (thanks, AW, for your tip--he's learning what it means to write just to say something), which is very painful (for him and me).
I've also been experiencing a curious feeling of mental tiredness during the day and insomnia at night, so that my days start too late to be very productive, and my nights are basically overstimulated exhaustion. I'm too tired to be able to think critically or read anything more difficult than the Ikea catalogue, so I've resisted blogging. Today I didn't try to do anything too challenging besides getting another rejection leter in the mail (along with my new Federalism book), this time for a paid fellowship that told me to reapply in two years when I had more post-graduate experience (curse my youth).
I keep reminding myself that I am so lucky and happy to have been accepted to a top ten school (even if I have to pay $35,000 a year for it), and that I had prepared myself to be rejected by most of the 10 LLMs, 7 PhDs, and 5 paid fellowships I applied to. And I am getting rejected by most of them, so at the very least I am an accurate prognosticator. I have to remember that there are 7 more LLMs, 3 more PhDs, and 4 more fellowships to hear from. And that 1 acceptance means a lot more than 7 rejections. And that I've already sent in my acceptance and housing application, and have already mapped out all the grocery stores in the area and have begun fantasizing about living in a vibrant liberal college town. But it still kind of stings a bit when you get those little letters though, you know? Add that to the suburban unpaid nanny existence and I'm thinking this is what they call "ennui." No, make that "crippling ennui."
I think I've been in a slight funk these past few days (lifted thanks to a call to my best friend who puts things into proper perspective). I've just been sitting here, listening to Beck's Sea Changes on repeat, which makes you want to kill yourself ("baby, I'm a lost, baby I'm a lost cause"). It's not that I'm surprised or wounded by the rejections, goodness knows I'm used to them. I am usually fortunate in ending up in a place I was meant to be, but man, do I get rejected by most of the places I want to go. This was true when I applied to college and law school. It's probably true now. Rejection is not new to me. It's just that I'm surprised by where the rejections are coming from. See, I thought that I wouldn't get into any law programs, but that I would get into the PhD programs. The law programs are highly selective, intended for only aspiring legal academics who show promise for scholarship. They're really short, intense programs, aimed at producing marketable academics within just 1-2 years. They take in a really small number, and there's only a handful of top 40 law schools in the US offering academic-track programs to US-trained lawyers. So I thought "no way will I get into these programs." So at the last minute last November, I signed up for the GRE and decided to apply to poli sci grad programs. You know, as a back-up. I figured, with my law degree, my serious academic plans, and with my two GPAs and GRE scores, I'd be a shoe-in at at least some of the programs. Um, no. Not even the mid-ranked ones. So while I'm still grateful for and excited about my one acceptance to a good law school, I've been thrown into an existential loop. This one acceptance now appears aberrant. Indeed, I didn't tell anyone other than my family members and a few friends (and, uh, everyone on the net) about the acceptance, fearing that the e-mail could have been a fluke mistake. I just got the official letter last week, but the slew of rejections in the past few weeks have made me doubt its realness.
It's like being privy to an alternate universe in which you see yourself get run over by a bus. And you think that were it not for the fluke quantum reality making it so that you exist in a universe in which you have not been run over by a bus, you'd be dead. (if that's confusing, sorry, I've been so out of it I've been watching 4 hours of Star Trek a day) You've seen it. You know it's out there. It's a reality that could have been yours. Well, this is what I feel like. I know that other reality exists. I've been living in it for the past 10 months. Until I got that one acceptance letter, I was wondering how I could handle another year of failure. So the slew of rejection letters serves to remind me, forcefully, that the alternate reality is still on the horizon. If I hadn't gotten this fluke acceptance, I would be in my alternate nightmare universe--a universe where I spend another year living in my parents' house, an unpaid quasi-nanny, unemployed, and with my academic dreams dashed. Another year in which I have no one to talk to about my ideas and interests, and another year my brain cells die a slow death in suffocating suburbia. Don't get me wrong--I love my family--but I know that I just don't belong here right now. I know that this is not my reality--but I know it could have been. This is after all, my reality right now. It'd just be another year of it.
So while it's not so bad that I am back to the months-long depression and intellectual isolation I was in from May-December, I have been in a little funk this week. It's like peering into the abyss--you've not fallen, but you have seen how deep the darkness is. It's unnerving.
So what am I doing? Well, talking to people who point out the obvious, that I am NOT spending another year at home, which is NOT like being run over by a bus, anyway. Realizing that I should probably cut back on the Star Trek and start returning some phone calls and emails, get back to blogging, and stop this self-isolation and engage the world again. If you fear alternate realities, it's probably best to engage the present reality. In avoiding thinking about the alternate reality (for the past 9 months a very real situation) of failure in suburbia , I've been focusing on the potentially successful future. In other words, I'm trying to remind myself that I'm not just an unemployed, over-educated nanny living at home with my parents. I'm going to be an LLM student. So I'm focusing on decorating the future apartment. Hence the Ikea reading. See, it's constructive. But I should probably really start engaging my mind and get back to some law review articles. It'll make me feel like an academic, which is a feeling I've been lacking for a couple of weeks (hell, months)
Usually I think too far into the future, and suffer from crippling indecision as I try to over-plan my life. Now I find myself with a new neurosis--thinking about alternate realities, and then suffering from solipsism and woe-is-meism. You have to admit though, I do know how to throw me a pity par-tay.
I'm out of it though. Back to blogging! As Captain Picard would say, Engage!