Tabatha Wharton

#365altgradmomstyle

58/365

I have two weeks left in my semester and I am cracking, y’all.

I don’t know what I was thinking taking ten credit hours this semester (for those of you who don’t know, six credit hours is considered full-time status) on top of work and parenting. Actually, yes I do — I thought I’d be graduating this spring but that’s not at all the case and I am actively kissing my 4.0 goodbye.

The burn out is so real.

I’m struggling to accept that my brain doesn’t work the way it did a decade ago, and that I have completely different circumstances surrounding my life that aren’t excuses, but are complications I feel like I constantly run up against. Sure, school was a ton easier when I was in my early 20s and worked part time and lived at home with my mom (and later, my then-boyfriend-turned-fiancé-now-ex-husband) and the world seemed laid out for the taking. Everything that felt hard about school then surely was, because validly that was my life experience at the time.

But now, how I wish I could reach back to myself and be like LOOK HERE MISSY and maybe also show her the difference a decade can do and push her to make different choices. Like maybe not deferring grad school for a boy, for starters. Or maybe moving out of my hometown when I had less things tying me to a place — and I don’t mean just to another city in the same greater metropolitan area.

For a radical feminist, I sure did follow the good middle class white girl script, and it has been fucking me over for a decade, at least.

But we can’t know what we don’t know until we know it, right? And to be fair to myself, my radicalization has taken almost that entire decade to materialize, and I grapple with my own problematic behavior from that journey often.

I will be lucky to be passing my classes this semester. I am not at all accustomed to not doing well in educational pursuits, especially when I put forth effort. This is a humbling and monumental blow to my ego and my sense of self, because through everything, at least I have had my intelligence, however clouded by emotions and opinions and situations. Underneath all of this, all of my labels and personas and whatever have you — for the entirety of my life, the one immutable fact that has held true for me is that I am uncommonly intelligent.

At least it was. I don’t know how much I believe it anymore.

My sister texted me the other day about her own graduate school journey and she ended her story with “Please keep going.” And because her Pisces ass knows mine so well, it was exactly what I needed to hear while also simultaneously making me burst into tears — because one of the hardest parts of this semester has been, for sure, a sense of isolation and soldiering through all of this alone without consistent outward support from anyone. People in my spheres just accept I’m in grad school and I’m smart and I’ve struggled to find people who understand how challenging and soul-crushing this process can actually be.

Don’t get me wrong, I have cheerleaders for sure — but I don’t come home to someone I can decompress with about my Theories class that I’m tanking, or have someone who can carry some of the emotional labor of my household so that I have more brainspace to dedicate to my methodology section of my thesis that is admittedly due today that I completely forgot about among my other class projects and assignments all due yesterday and will have to turn in late, which has been the theme of my semester as a whole. I feel like a lot of people in my life take for granted that I will succeed because I’m smart and when I set out to do something I do it — which includes several of my professors. But when it comes to having the grueling, spirit-breaking labor of it all supported … I come home every day to a very dark and quiet house.

I have thought about walking away several times. I no longer know if I’m smart enough to continue on in academia. There is a growing part of me that would be perfectly fine with working customer service for the next however long and just resigning myself to the fact that just like nearly every other facet of my life, not all dreams are possible, no matter how hard you work to make them come true.

And then I hear my sister’s voice in my head.

I’ll finish this degree. It will take me longer than I wanted and thought I would need but here we fucking are. I don’t know what’s going to come next or how and I’m trying to not let that freak me out, because I do have a whole life and other lives that depend on me to have my shit together. I will keep throwing myself over hurdles and asking for forgiveness when I inevitably fall short and fail, repeatedly.

I’ll keep going.

I can’t fail my 23 year old self again.

White leopard print A-line sleeveless dress, silver disk necklace, & black pouf (… kids) beanie: H&M
Black crew neck 3/4 sleeve knit sweater: Banana Republic
Faux thigh high sweater tights: Spanx
Grey knit infinity scarf: Old Navy
Black cats’ eye sunglasses: Kate Spade
Belted faux leather moto jacket: Express
Black leather platform stiletto booties: Jessica Simpson
Lipstick: KVD Everlasting Love Liquid in Nosferatu