It is here at the dawn of the new year—yes, I had thought about what to call this time for far too long—that I experience a feeling with which I am, unfortunately, not too unfamiliar: Dread.
She has not evaded me a long time. I had just become accustomed to ignoring her, pretending her presence didn’t bother me when I could feel it boggling me down, one heavy limb at a time.
It is terrible that, just as the year is ending, and I am determined to uphold the one resolution that I want to hold dear to me—Take care of yourself, Tae—I contemplate on my failures of the past school term. All of my hard work has culminated to this, this fear of not passing the one required class of the semester in my first year of grad school, weighed by anxiety I did not and still do not know how to curb.
And so, the dread, the reality of my failures, are catching up to me. I am away on vacation, looking out wistfully of the window of my friend’s eighth-floor apartment, thinking about Laura, the girl who made me feel like she did not want me, when the email arrives. The essay I submitted is not enough. My kind and patient professor has advised me as much, has given me until Friday to resubmit it, if I want to, or defer further with a medical note. But I do not want to defer. I do not want to look at the cursor blink on the document of that shit essay as my shit brain reminds me that I cannot do this. My failures, the folder I have tried so carefully to tuck away in a deep crevice of my mind, expands. Pages upon pages of added, Am I cut out for this? Am I good enough for grad school? Will I graduate with my peers? Do my teachers think I am a fool? Should I give up now? Will I be fortunate enough to meet like-minded people if I wait and start again later? How many people will I be disappointing besides myself?
There is so much and nothing at all in my head. I want to disappear into a hole so deep, I can’t be dug out. I have not yet answered this email. But I must. I will try again to write this essay on a topic that does interest me—does teaching intonation have a role in improving French Second Language (FSL) fluency? It does, but how do I write about it without getting stuck in the process, without thinking and feeling and knowing and reading that what I am putting out is not good? How how how do I survive my brain without breaking down and crying or combusting or wishing someone would tell me to stop?
I must head out. We our travelling, making our way to our destination for our new year party. For the first time, there is a theme—it’s camp. Marty, our host, is excited. And Rowen is excited. And I am excited. And nervous, hoping maybe I will not be sober enough to notice the dread cross the threshold into the new year, because I could not leave it behind in two-thousand-nineteen.