The academic year 07-08 is starting out pretty difficult(ly?), but of course for different reasons than last year. Last year my reasons for angst were, in many ways, a lot more understandable: I had my qualifying examinations looming (which in PhDville gives you a nine-month free pass to be an intolerable quasi-human, wan and greasy and wearing the same pair of jeans day in and out despite the fact that they hang on you quite pathetically due to that magic combination of stretched denim and stressed-out weight loss), and I also had some mysterious health ailments that were making me do hilarious things like keel over in the middle of teaching a German class. Last year, however, I also had a very persistent friend, Erin, who never gave up on me despite the fact that I was rarely ever any fun. I also had another very important component to my support system I would rather keep private. You got that, Internet? Mind your own beeswax. Geez. Anyway, this year, though many things are terrific (ABD! Things I’m feeing private about but which are awesome! TAing instead of having a five-day-a-week German class! my furniture finally found a good home! "House" isn’t as sucky as it was last year!), I have in many ways lost my unconditional support system, as Erin has gone to Germany (the other component remains intact, but again, mind your own beeswax, Internet), and though I have a few other friends here, none of them are as hardy or benevolent, or at any rate I don’t know any of them well enough to reach out to them when I am hurting. And my experiences with Orange County mental health professionals were, well, mental–a therapist I saw briefly last year used to try to out-misery me IN SESSION–and therefore I don’t have a therapist or any professional I can trust to listen to me yap without guilt for an hour a week, and therefore that leaves me the odd option of instead broadcasting my sadnesses and insecurities to the entire fucking world. I am reminded of a line in The Great Gatsby when Jordan Baker remarks that she loves large parties because they are so intimate. I guess since I lack the wherewithal to brave any of UCI’s large grad-student parties (although our one pub is reopening in about a month and that might offer some release, despite the fact that I don’t drink), and don’t feel comfortable bearing my soul to anyone who hasn’t seen it all already (mind! own! business! Internet), instead I bare it to Dr. Internet. I guess if this were 15 years ago I would be scrawling into some journal, and I guess it could be a lot worse–I could have the spelling and punctuation skills and/or relative sociopathy of other so-called bloggers out there, but still, it’s kind of weird that my progression of thought goes: "I don’t have anyone to talk to around here—>I’ll talk to Dr. Internet instead of trying to make some new friends or reaching out to old ones." I guess I always have the feeling that I am being a pain in everyone’s ass when I am vulnerable like this, and I only want people to see and interact with me when I am feeling confident and hilarious, but the fact is that with circumstances as they are this year I am feeling vulnerable more, and that makes me want to talk to people less, and with Erin gone there isn’t really anyone who checks up on me whether I want them to or not (NOT THAT I AM ENTITLED to such a ridiculous privilege, it’s just that once I had it and now I don’t), and drags me out of the house in my sweatpants whether I want to go or not and I always end up having an OK time. And most of the conversations I have here are in my own head or with a very scared group of freshmen. It’s weird. And I only feel this way on weekends, when suddenly I’m not meant to be anywhere (because I don’t get invited to my department’s parties and dinners and get-togethers anymore because I blew one too many of them off) and I realize that I could call any number of people up to see how/what they are doing but I don’t because I am scared of so many things at once I can’t even verbalize it. In moments like these I miss my qualifying exams so much–and I understand, retarded as it may seem, why Camus envisioned Sisyphus happy. So, Dr Internet, that’s my story for now. I realize our time is up and I will send you your $200 when I get paid.