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22:42 - Monday, Apr. 22, 2013
the pool of dread dried up
So a week ago, without any forethought or planning whatsoever about how this was going to go down, I told my advisor I was leaving my PhD program.

It's weird the things I get super nervous about when you take them in the context of things I DON'T get super nervous about, like major life-altering decisions.

"When are you planning to advance to candidacy?" he asked me in the normal course of conversation, to which I replied:

"Actually I'm not coming back next year."

He blinked at me. Unusually, I looked him right in the face. "You mean you're planning on leaving the program?"

Then all the self-consciousness that had vanished came hesitantly knocking at my brain's door. "Yes. I'm sorry that I didn't preface this. I didn't really know that I was going to say it, but now you know."

He didn't try very hard to change my mind, which was a good thing because it wouldn't have worked.

Two weeks ago, when I did the coin flip that made this decision for me, I watched its somersaults through laced fingers over my eyes, and like every time I flip a coin, as soon as it was in the air I knew, absolutely, how I wanted it to land.

When it came up tails it was like someone turned up the brightness on the square of outdoors beyond my crappy student-housing window. I didn't cry, but I made a ridiculous noise that was halfway between a shriek, a guffaw, and a sob.

Ever since then, I haven't had any sudden jolts in the middle of the night where I wake up in a pool of dread.


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