I’ve been doing great. I’ve been productive and feeling powerful. I have been too busy to feel alone or sad or angry. I’m always at my best when I’m getting things done; when I’m killing it by finishing my to-do-list. It is no secret that I struggle with productivity. I’ve always worked in bursts – getting things done against the clock and then needing some time off to recharge. I’ve always felt that if only I could work at the same burst-like speed always, I would be even better, unstoppable. But, there always comes a time when I can’t do it anymore. Somehow, I’ve always been successful. I think that it irked M. that I wouldn’t study as hard, or spend as long writing essays, but that I would often outscore him. I was in a hard science, a pretty tough department, and had a higher GPA, graduated with more honors. I outscored him at the SATs, the IB diploma, the GREs… I got 5 acceptances to different PhD programs, while he didn’t get in and had to wait a year to start a less competitive master’s program.
M. made me feel terrible for my off times, my valleys of productivity. He would see me not working and judge me, reprimand me even. Since starting his master’s M. always goes around the world in a neurotic frenzy, always working, always busy. He would take time off to spend it with me, and then complain about how behind he was. I started feeling ashamed of my off days, like I don’t work as hard as other people, like I’m undeserving of every success. Or every small failure could have been avoided if I had worked harder and been better.
So really, I can’t emphasize enough how great I feel when I’m working. When I get 8, 10, 12 hours of work done. I’ve been on a two week winning streak and feeling on top of the world. I handed in a completely manuscript to my advisor, I got on top of my lab work and I’ve been studying non-stop for my preliminary exams – the last thing between me and my PhD (other than my dissertation). After my prelims, I will be a full-fledged PhD candidate.
But of course, it wasn’t meant to last. Last night, at midnight, I got a text from a guy friend informing me that M. was out on a date at a local bar. This is clearly not very good friend behavior, he has other issues around, and unfortunately this is not the first time he brings unwanted drama to my life. I read his text at 3:00am, and proceeded to spend a restless night. So many questions going through my head: Did M. break up with his European AP? Or is his European AP in town? Is he randomly dating now? What happened to that girl who “understood him like no one else could”? I texted back to let my friend know I was not interested in hearing updates about M.’s romantic life (really I’m not interested in hearing about M.’s life period). This morning my friend apologized for being out of line and acting like a jerk. Not that does me much good.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to care either way, and in many ways I don’t. But I’ve still managed to feel like crap all day. I couldn’t focus and study, and get my work done. I started the downward spiral of feeling terrible, not working, and feeling terrible for not working. My time before my exam is so precious that if I’m not studying I’m wasting time. I’m letting this get to me, and sabotaging myself. I can’t study because I’m agitated and it agitates me further not to study.
And that stage with all the uncertainties is back all of the sudden:
- is M. single?
- is M. dating around?
- M. is going to bars? M. hates bars!
- Who on Earth goes to a bar at midnight on a Tuesday?!
- And why do I care? Where is my awesome not caring self? Why is she in hiding?
- Why did he just throw away our marriage with an affair if he wasn’t going to stick around for it afterwards?
- Why did he need to get rid of me so badly?
- Is there something about me that somehow makes me particularly unlovable?
- How did I fail at THIS so miserably when I was trying so hard?
Is that it? Am I more upset at the fact that M. dating around means that it was for nothing? Or did he leave me because of me and not because of her? More than the thought of M. being able to date around and find his true love forever, I think those thoughts really upset me. I’m comfortable with the narrative of M. leaving me to be with his AP in ways that I’m not comfortable with the narrative of M. just simply not wanting to be with me.
I thought I was done with these feelings. I’ve worked really hard to build my new life, and it was going so well. I’ve had weeks of pretending that my divorce was a faraway nightmare. Being left was just something another me had gone through in a faraway land a long time ago.
I didn’t want to start asking questions and having feelings again. I guess I’ve officially lost my two week winning streak, and tomorrow will be a new day.