I’ve been trying to write this post (in my head) for the past week.
I’ve been trying to write this post (at the keyboard) for the past half hour.
I’m not sure why it’s so difficult.
(Just the facts, ma’am.)
Last week, I mailed the seven projects that, taken together, are the preliminary exam for my PhD in music therapy.
In one way or another, I have been working on these seven projects for nearly eight years.
For a number of reasons, some internal and some external, I had such a slow and painful time completing these projects that there were times when I feared I would never do it.
The heaviness, guilt, shame and self-disappointment surrounding these projects have been with me for so long, that I find I need to re-learn who I am without them.
Now…well, for the past week, I’ve been feeling an odd sense of lightness — and yet, there’s also a quiet sense of weightiness. It is no small thing, to have finished these projects at last.
I don’t even know yet whether they’re acceptable. The oral defense for my preliminary exam is scheduled for next week. Perhaps I’ll be dismissed from the program. Perhaps I’ll be told that I need to revise one or more of these projects before I’ll be deemed ready to begin my dissertation.
In a strange way, though, it almost doesn’t matter what happens from this point on. I hope I’ll be able to continue working on my doctorate, but if not, it will not be because I failed to complete and submit those seven projects.
There was a time — there were many times, over the past few years — when I really feared that I would fail. That for the rest of my life, I would have to live with that knowledge.
I’d like to believe that I would have found a way to retain (re-build?) my self-respect. Probably I would have — but it feels so much better this way, basking in the knowledge that I found a way through paralysis and fear, and that in the end, I found a way to meet the challenge.
Whatever happens from here, I have won.
Whatever happens…I am free.