"You know," my fellow po' boy instructor Brian Jackson told me, "these students finish their final tests, and all they can feel is emptiness." At the time, I didn't know what he was talking about; I regarded the comment along with other comments from the "other side of the aisle," i.e. the scoff-worthy RCTE (rhetoric, composition and the teaching of English) program in my department.
But I'm interpreting the comment as dead on, even trenchant. For, today, I turned in term paper for one of my courses, a decent paper I think, which elated me. Both on the bike ride to and from campus. Then I worked a bit at GNC; retail is cake work. But after that it hit me. I'm no longer really someone. I don't have people required to be social with me, people could refuse me as an equal right now, I'm not "important," special, or even noteworthy. This the puffed ego of the academic, a psychological movement whose import I had not judged previously. At the end of the last spring semester, I was simply happy to get done with the semester and put my tail between my legs and guiltily earn the credits with underperformance. Now, this semester, I feel the rug pulled under me. This is it, is the feeling, I'm going to be a professor, or at least an higherr education instructor, there's no turning back. This is my identity, I am somewhat ashamed to say.
Add to this the usual suspects: poor eating and sleeping habits at the end of the semester, a swirling writerly mind, social deprivation, lack of exercise. All these things wrapped into one I'm feeling more like an Ugly American than I have for quite some time. Marriage is another word for habituation to the psychologist, and I'm starting to realize the uniqueness of how I engage life. I'm a control, and a controlled, person--in healt/nutrition/mind/body/sex/dreaming...and so on. As uber-introvert, I would have myself believe that not only do I not need people, I also have nothing but contempt for said people. Hell is other people, saith Sartre, and only the true egotist can understand the karmic boomerang that is projection. Hell hath no fury...
This too shall pass. I'm thinking about causticveracity's admittal that he couldn't remember what made him want to drink again. An admittal, like my own, that marks the incommunicability of the negative psychological state. "You wouldn't understand," many people no doubt tell their mentors/analysts/counselors/psychiatrists. One has to read Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," or better: Kate Chopin's The Awakening, or F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Crack-up." Or in film: Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream.
All of which leads me to a goal: to develop my Middle Path. My time away from the manaicism of graduate school could allow me to head up the road for some heavy Mahayana Buddhist meditation. I can still endeavor to be a ripped up athletic phreak with that, can't I? Just would like to dunk on somebody.
So now I feel better, but this too is its own form of loss. --a