Thursday, October 9, 2014

Moving On

It's been a long time since I've written a post, but graduate school has kept me busy. Between new friends, new classes, new professors, and a workload that's been pretty shocking, I've had precious little time to write. But that busyness is a good thing. It's a hell of a lot better than the two years of essential stasis I experienced between my college graduation and my suicide attempt this time last year.

I think I'm going to enjoy being a teacher. I'm observing a nearby middle school right now, and while middle school isn't the age I'd like to instruct, I still look at the teacher in that classroom and feel a degree of envy. She spends every day standing before a group of children and talking about history. I could do that.

Of course, the end-game for me remains a history professorship, and that goal is never far from my mind.

"Getting your PhD is going to be the most stressful part of your life," one of my history professors cautioned me a week ago. "It was the most stressful part of my life, and I'm getting married this year. But you'll be able to do it."

Visions of the future I will have, of myself as a high school history teacher, living far away and pursuing a second master's degree alongside a doctorate, crop up in my mind every now and again, but amid the daily grind of the education program here, that someday is a little hard to envision.

I'll get there.

It's a little disorienting to me how much things have changed since I started this blog. Back then I was a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, damaged but innocent, sharp but delicate, bright but oblivious. I was a boy. These days, after everything that's happened, after all the inner aging I've done, there's a weariness and, yes, a wisdom to me that's a little out of place on someone who's not yet thirty. Sometimes I feel like I'm one hundred years old. And that's just it: I've grown up. I'm still goofy and imaginative and fun, but whereas at nineteen I feared the onset of adulthood I now embrace it. I feel comfortable being the grown-up in the room, the one who takes care of others.

I've seen first hand what happens when someone can't make that most critical of transitions, seen the emotional weight it imposes on everyone around them, and in light of that Marie's recent course of action is perfectly understandable. On August 15, she asked my father for a divorce. After years of alcoholism and abuse, years of being a middle-aged man who comported himself with the worst traits of petulant adolescence, he at last pushed my stepmother too far. And now he's gone. He has been for about two months, in fact, and what is most striking about our once toxic household is how peaceful it's become. When I arrive home for a long weekend from school, I find Thomas and Pie lounging on the couch, hear Marie working in her office, and before long we're all seated at the kitchen table having dinner and talking about our days.

It's almost normal. And the home I once dreaded has become a place I enjoy, a place I seek out as a welcome refuge against the stresses of my master's program. When I leave this place in the summer of 2016, bound hopefully for a teaching job in Northern State, I won't have to flee. And I'll actually want to come and visit.

So that's about it. I promise I won't be as absent in the future as I have been since the start of school. I'm finally getting my bearings, and all of this is a lot more manageable. You guys have been with me for a long time. Thanks for sticking around.