Quarter-life crisis or continued exploration? I couldn’t say.
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for a collection of books called Being ManKind–an intentional lapse of grammatical convention. The series tries to break free of gendered norms and stereotypes, the toxic masculinity we’ve all come to hate.
I’ve been wanting to write about why I support the project and why I think you should, too, but it’s been busy. So much of the last few weeks has gone straight into dealing with that kind of gender bias (in the classroom) that I haven’t had a second to write.
Now there’s little more than sixteen hours to go, and to be successfully funded, it needs to bring in about a thousand dollars every hour until it ends.
So, sure, there’ll be an ask at the end, but there’s (kinda) a story until we get there, too.
By which I mean it’s the beginning of the year. I’ve moved to a new city–with all the hassles that come from being the good tenant who follows those disastrous ones you see on HGTV who left the place a god-forsaken wreck–and I’ve begun a new job.
Yesterday I began reflecting on some recent challenges in my relationship with Harel, and it’s a topic I’d like to return to. I feel it’s worth mentioning that although I can’t describe exactly what’s going on without breaching Harel’s trust and confidence in me (he has not said if I may share what’s going on), the general motion is that the circumstances within which our lives are suspended have shifted, and despite no change in our love for each other, it’s unclear if a long-distance relationship can be sustained in the way these new situations would require.
It is, ultimately, an ongoing process we’re both trying to figure out.
So while this post won’t, and can’t, address the details of what we’re going through (and ultimately, I’m not sure I’ll discuss those details publicly, even with Harel’s consent), what I wish to return to is a discussion the strategies I’m using to get through it all.
Because after two years of being engaged, news like this isn’t easy to digest.
Chaos is not disorder. Chaos is order so precise and sensitive that the slightest misstep at the start sends us far from where we intended to be.
Water is, as it tumbles over rocks and flows between our fingers, a creature of chaos. And so is life.
We drift along, pulled between rapids and brief moments of pause, seconds of tranquility that split time into austere fractions that enclose us and confine us. Solutions (and the problems they supposedly solve) seem suddenly clear, and then the water draws us away, and once more we are left without recourse and direction.
This is, I am afraid, one of those times.
I’ve been watching a lot of lectures about education lately, and there’s a common theme to answer a common question: How can I keep myself from burning out?
The answer is always a variation of “work harder” or “work smarter.”
This, I’m afraid, is simply insufficient. There is no amount of working harder or working smarter that can make the work we’re doing any less exhausting–and this applies to all areas, whether you’re a student, a teacher, healthcare provider, or something else.
So what can we do?
A year ago I mailed our application for a fiance visa to the U.S. government. I had thought by now my fiance would be my husband, that we would we living together, figuring out how to live together, while I finished my master’s degree.
I was wrong.
We were sitting in the bus last August, shuttling from terminal one to terminal two, and we promised it would never again be a full six months apart from each other.
We were wrong.
I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to spend sixty percent of your relationship just trying to be able to live together in the same country, in the same house. But “difficult” isn’t even the right word–the paperwork is overwhelming, but after a few dozen hours of reading, it’s more time-consuming than anything else. The bulk of the process has been given to waiting, which is annoying, but you get used to it.
For a long time I was burdened by generalized anxiety disorder without diagnosis. It took three different prescription medications to make me realize what it’s like not to constantly be under high levels of physical distress. I was used to the tightness, the racing thoughts, numb to the unmanageable excess of stress I experienced.
Numb like I’ve become numb to the distance between us. Sometimes two weeks pass and we don’t say a word to each other beyond liking statuses on Facebook. We’re so accustomed to thin lines of communication that when life demands homework and research papers and teaching hours and travel times, there isn’t time left for each other.
At least if we lived in the same house, hell, even just the same timezone, the overlap in our schedules would be easier to manage. I don’t even know what it’ll feel like waking up next to him, saying goodbye before we part ways to go to work and school or whatever, without that counter in my mind ticking down and telling me I need to hold on, I can’t let him go, because there’s only a handful of days before we’re apart again.
There was a time when I thought Harel would be moving up here last August rather than me flying back from visiting him. There was a time when I thought he’d be here for New Years, or at least before classes began. There was a time I thought he’d be here by spring break, but now I’m not even sure if he’ll be here before summer begins.
But who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Harel and I are fundraising to help cover some of the costs of his coming to the US. With my being in graduate school and the moving costs to join Teach for America later this year, the financial demands of this journey have been no small burden, and we are grateful for any support you’re able to offer.
Please make a donation and share our GoFundMe page or these TBT posts to help.
The beginning of this week brought the beginning of a new year: Rosh HaShanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year, began on Monday. I had in mind a few thoughts I wanted to share, and every intention of doing so on Tuesday.
Then on a Monday a student at NC State completed suicide, and on Tuesday I had homework, and on Tuesday night I fought to finish my homework due Wednesday.
So in the midst of all these things, I never even realized I hadn’t welcomed the new year on my blog, and being on campus, in classes, the most I had been able to do to celebrate this occasion was share some apples and honey with others in the community. On Monday, a fellow math student had shared challah in the graduate lounge. That had made my day.
The truth is, death is a great occasion to think about life, and a new year is a great occasion to think about what we’re doing with our lives. So, naturally, I did.
My modelling career ended as soon as it began.
Summer school started today and while I aimlessly wait for textbooks to arrive in the mail and for my professors to get the course websites up and running, I decided to browse Facebook and see what’s going on in the world–or at least in the lives of twenty friends Facebook selected at random, which for today, can be my entire world.
I came across this Buzzfeed article called “30 Questions for Straight Guys” and thought it’d be a fun read. Except when I opened it, I quickly realized directing these questions only to straight guys ignores the fact that gay guys are, in fact, still guys.
To set restless minds at ease, here are 15 answers to 30 questions for straight guys.