Thursday, November 01, 2007

Now it's over (part 2)..

I hand-delivered my UCSF application this afternoon, and mailing off my UOP application tomorrow afternoon.

And then I'll be done for now--I'll be submitting my Creighton application in a couple weeks when my bank account recovers (it's cost about $400 to submit all my apps so far...), then have to hear from Hawaii and Touro about submitting supplementals/secondaries for them.

The funny thing is that for some reason the essays for my apps weren't making sense, especially since there was a section for each to talk relatively freely about things that should be taken into consideration.

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why the essays sounded so...fake. To me, every draft until my penultimate and final ones rang very hollow, that I sounded like I wanted to go to pharmacy school, but was really insincere about the whole process.

In order for me to break this writer's block, I started to free write, and the answer showed itself out to me. I started writing about the main reasons why I left grad school in sociology, and then started writing about why I double majored in college, and it boiled down to confronting the abuse that my mom had inflicted on me growing up, and how it affected me academically.

What surprised me was how much all the digs that she had said to me, throughout the years, were so small, so imperceptible, and also the very real and terrifying threats from my mom of physical harm that were never carried out added up to the point that ultimately I believed that she hated me and I was never going to be perfect, and that her love was contingent on me being perfect.

Of course, this was all my perception, but it made me enter sociology because it appeared that I was good at it, and being a PhD is prestigious, and that would make me gain my mom's acceptance and love.

When I left the UCSB program back in '97 after getting my master's, I chalked it up to being burnt out. After all, I had jumped into the program right after a brutal senior year. I didn't pay attention to the thoughts that sociology probably wasn't what I wanted to do--but at the same time I felt like a failure because I didn't do what my mom wanted.

When I entered UCSF's program in '00, which is perceived as a seemingly more prestigious school (but actually lesser ranked sociology program), my mom was extremely happy--she was going to gave a son who was a doctor from UCSF, never mind that it wasn't an MD. I was cruising along fine until all this drama that pushed back by a year when I was supposed to take my 2nd round of quals. At about the same time in '00, my former roommate suggested I go into therapy to work out issues, and I felt it was an appropriate time for me to do so, thinking that I would remove all the blocks to getting my PhD.

If anything, it pointed out even more why I didn't want to finish my PhD, and also pointed out all the repressed anger and emotions I had towards my mom. All the years of emotional and mental abuse had swirled into my brain until I only saw my mom as an inhuman demon, out to destroy any happiness that I had--when really, she was going through her own depression and mental health issues, a woman who was getting old before her time. Gradually, I finally began to see her for who she really was, a woman who was trying to raise her kids in how she saw fit--which was really fucked up. I found myself able to forgive her once I finally realized that I had made peace with everything that had happened.

When she passed away in 2003, that set into motion a lot of my own self-doubts about where my life was headed--I had no motivation to do my PhD, and basically putzed around for about a year until I got involved in FTFA, became its final executive director and found myself in the middle of a very public scandal, and fired as well as left my PhD program. All the things that I wanted to do, that I thought an "activist" should do--done and over with.

Which brings me to 2005, and wondering, maybe I should really look into pharmacy. I did my research, talking to pharmacist friends, did my volunteering, kicked ass in my classes; and checked, double checked, and quadruple checked to make sure that this is what I wanted to do.

When I clicked on submit for my PharmCAS, and dropped off those applications for UCSF and UOP, I realized I finally did it.

Now it's my turn to wait.

I still have 3 more supplementals to finish, but they're all contingent on whether I'm up to snuff.

But the hard part really now is over...I'm excited, freaked out, scared, and relieved.

And life does go on--I had to work another 10 hour day, I'm looking forward to seeing the husband flying down from Seattle tomorrow, and my life is still as jumbled and fucked up as ever. Life's not gonna end now that I submitted my applications, and it will keep rolling on and on and on...

But I'm realizing that I've finally started to move on, and finally made real peace with the memories of my mom.

Tomorrow's another day.

No comments: