The past couple weeks have been very difficult for me, and it seems like one bad thing kept happening after another. Here are some examples:
1. I haven't been sleeping very well lately, partly because I've been stressed out over my dissertation and partly because my new neighbor is very enthusiastic about her dates (and yes, I said "dates", because I've seen her come in and out of the building with different ones). She's so enthusiastic that I initially thought she kept watching a documentary on orangutans on Animal Planet. I was tempted to slip a note under her door or perhaps put a big sign on my window where she can see it, one that says, "THE WHOLE BUILDING CAN HEAR WHAT YOU'RE DOING."
2. One of my fellow graduate students recently won a prestigious award for her work. I can't help feeling jealous every time I hear about one of my classmates' accomplishments. I confided to this student about my struggles with my work on a couple occasions; she responded by emphasizing the fact that she was doing really well or that her professors had praised her work.
3. For every class I teach, there's always at least one or two students who are perpetually tardy or absent. One student waltzed in more than half an hour late. She is full of excuses. When I confronted her after class, she said, "I'll try not to be more than fifteen minutes late next time."
4. I gave up the chance to go to a one-night writing class at StoryStudio in order to stay home and do research for my dissertation. I spent hours making a list of books that I needed to check out of the library at my school. But it wasn't until after I got to campus the next day that I realized I left the list at home.
5. One of the other members on my dissertation committee read the draft that I spent all summer working on. I'd like to say that he had nothing but positive feedback on what I wrote and that I didn't feel like drowning my sorrows in M&Ms after I read his comments. I'd also like to say that I didn't run out of cereal and ate ice cream for breakfast instead. But then I'd just be lying.
6. Three guys "winked" at me in one day, which I was flattered by, until I read their profiles. One guy was thirty years older than me. Another guy wrote that he was looking for "discreet fun" (which may explain why he didn't put any pictures of himself in his profile). Another guy looked like he was at least seventy pounds overweight, though he was arrogant enough to describe himself as athletic and toned, and he wrote that he did not want to date any "heavy women".
7. A fourth guy also contacted me that day, though at least he wrote an e-mail. But his pictures in his profile looked familiar, so I went through all the e-mails I'd received and realized that he'd already sent me the exact same e-mail two months before, word for word. I think he must send the exact same e-mail to all the women he contacts on match.com.
8. And the award for the creepiest e-mail I've ever received goes to the loser on plentyoffish who offered to be my "financial benefactor" and to send me money. I never said ANYTHING about money in my profile. I think he either was trying to "hire" me for you-know-what or he sees himself as some kind of gross sugar daddy. I was furious that he may or may not have thought I was a prostitute or a sugar baby. I blocked him from contacting me again and immediately reported him to the site, though I really wanted to whap his face with my laptop.
9. A woman on the bus cursed at me in front of everyone else, because I accidentally caused her to miss her stop. I didn't move out of the way fast enough when she was trying to get off the bus through the back door (I tried to move out of the way, but the bus was too crowded), and the bus driver ignored her calls to stop. So she screamed at him and me.
10. Every time my parents call (and they insist on calling several times a week) they either ask when I'm going to be done with my dissertation or they tell me what I should do when I finish my dissertation. They've already decided which schools I should apply to, where I should live, and what kind of car I should get. There are several schools in the Chicago area, but they are pressuring me to leave Chicago. They've been pressuring me to leave the city that I love for years. I know that eventually I may end up in a college town, depending on where I get hired, but ultimately, where I live and teach is going to be my decision. For years, I've been trying to make my parents see that I have the right to live my life on my terms.
11. During a class discussion one day, the majority of the students actively participated the whole time, which was rare. They talked about the characters in the book we were studying as if the characters were real people. They said stuff like, "I am so mad at that character right now! I can't believe he did that!" I could tell that the book really affected them, and they said it was because they really liked it and they thought the author was really good. They wanted to know what else the author had written, and I saw several of the students write down the titles I gave them.
That was one of those rare days that made me remember why I've kept teaching all these years. I love it when the students get excited about what they're reading or writing. They were inspired by what they read in the book, and that inspired me.
Even though it seems like everything else in my life is going wrong right now (and I can't help but blame myself for most of what's happening, except for the jerks on those dating sites), that day in the classroom made me feel like I'm doing at least one thing right.
What about you? Do you ever go through those times where it feels like everything's going wrong? What makes you feel better?
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