Starting a PhD Program: Or, Why I Can’t Stop Crying

Life is oh so big, awe-full and awful, but remains so, so small.

The angled, late morning sunlight hits one small square on the wooden floor. It slowly extends its reach with dappled warmth.

A miniature naval ship sits above a working fireplace; evidence strewn in ashes on the otherwise immaculate wood floor. There are paintings of ships everywhere.

You would’ve been 30.

And I’m on another new adventure. One that right now makes me feel small, inconsequential, struggling. One where I would love to hear you say: it’s not everything. Let’s get a drink.

I feel so much pressure, and I hope, I know, you are exquisitely free.

The crutch of self-doubt is one I know you would kick out from under my shoulder, and tell me to be big – but also remember that I am small.

That small is precious and good and kind and beautiful. That big is laughter and love and amazing and mystery.

That somehow, somewhere, sometime I might find myself.

Through the sea of words, and jargon, and ego, and fight.

But the not knowing is scary.

The risk feels perilous, the task daunting.

The tug, the pull, the questions remain.

A portly, formally attired man gazes out of his oil portrait, immense gilded frame and all, looking somewhat compassionate.

Perhaps he loves these boat paintings, or perhaps I just need the things in my world today to speak to me of love.

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Flagstaff Lake, ME

I held this piece for a while. A piece of my new home, a piece of Kristin, a piece of Marie Howe. Love more, y’all.

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