by Andi Miller
For the last two and a half years, I’ve been an avid blogger. And, sadly, I started the blog for a very specific reason. The fact of the matter is that I started it largely out of spite in the wake of a relationship that I ended. Given a little time and space, I can look back on the relationship and the blog with some manner of objectivity and realize that my obsessive online journaling was, more than anything, a way to scream about my feelings.
It. Was. Bitter.
In fact, that entire period of my life was bitter. Until I started graduate school.
I distinctly remember, when I started graduate school and my writing was still overwhelmingly a smart-assy snarkfest of cynicism and blackhearted schlock, I commented about always feeling the need to reach for something. That is to say, I've always been happier when I'm neck deep in the pursuit of some lofty goal--a degree, for instance.
When I graduated with my B.A. in 2003, even though I had a boatload of things to feel good about, I didn't feel good at all. I felt like I'd lost my job. In a very real way, I had. School was all I’d known. I felt very lost in general, deep down inside myself. My grandparents passed away only months before I graduated, I moved a very long way from my hometown and my family, and I started teaching. And, above all, I didn't have a very good attitude about anything. I fell into a very deep depression for a very long time, and instead of trying to fix it, I think I wallowed in it, and it wounded my life and my relationships.
I realized I couldn't blame my funk on anyone but myself when I moved back to Texas from North Carolina in late 2004 and I was still depressed. Beginning my M.A. in the fall of 2005 was a welcome distraction, and it made me feel good about myself. It made me feel smart and driven and motivated, and I met a slew of like-minded people whom I love dearly and will always count among my greatest friends and allies.
Now, almost exactly four years after I graduated from college the first time and moved to North Carolina for the first time, I'm in the same geographical and academic position, but things are dramatically different. I am, maybe for the first time in my life, quite content. Even though I've graduated from college once again, and I have no impending degree on the horizon, I'm fine with it. I've come to a place in my life where I realize that I can't measure my success or my worth by how many degrees I collect or books on my shelf or pennies in my bank account. I measure my worth by how I feel about myself and about my life.
I enjoy being out of my mother's house but still talking to her on the phone every day. I enjoy living with a wonderful man and being in love. I enjoy spending time with his family. I enjoy writing and reading and editing. I enjoy cooking and cleaning and being at home. And, of course, I look forward to teaching every day. In short, there's nothing I would change.
For once, I'm not desperately reaching for anything to make me feel complete and "finished."