I am thinking – rather seriously – about going back to get my Master’s Degree. This is what happens when you only work 50 hours a week. You take up training for a half marathon and you have time for a social life and then finally it still seems like you aren’t working enough so you decide to add on a course load.
It started as I looked at my transcripts. It turns out that the intervening decade had erased some memories. If you wondered where the 37 year old woman who works in 3 cities and keeps all those balls in the air came from? She’s based on an 11 year old that took over the cooking and housework and worrying about money. The woman who works harder than everyone else? That’s because nothing she did was ever good enough and they made sure she knew that every day. The woman who always has a plan B? That’s because she was locked in closets and fed from dog food bowls when she was 5.
It all fell apart in the fall of 2000 when I moved out on my own. I can trace the trajectory in my grades. GPA dropping – 7 to 6 to 5 to 4.7. I can see it in the 1’s and 2’s with notes that I didn’t show up to the final exam, didn’t submit assignments. I can see it in the marks, but more than that, I can remember it. I could not leave my apartment. I couldn’t grocery shop. Figuring out which room the exam was in was overwhelming. I submitted papers by email. Everything was terrifying. All of the memories, all of the abuse, all of those terrible words came crushing down in September of 2000. I cowered under the weight of it.
I can trace the path back in the fall of 2001. Married, on antidepressants, my mother gone from my life. I could not really advocate for myself at 20. I got help at 21 because Mr. Spit went with me. His drug plan paid for my antidepressants and the university paid for years with a counsellor. I somehow didn’t every completely flunk out of university, but I’m not applying for grad school this year.
It’s different now. I look at myself and my transcripts. I sit on the train in my suit and I wish I could go back. I wish I could get her help. Tell her that there was a glorious future filled with joy and some despair, a home filled with things she loved. The laughter of friends. People who loved her.
I can’t. And my academic record is a mess.
I’ll fix this. I’ll go into the faculty and I’ll sit there with my briefcase and my transcripts and the story of a young woman who got lost in the morass.
I’ll go take some senior level courses. I’ll tell my boss and my friends the truth – I struggled in University. The weight of years of abuse almost crushed me. I made it out and now I have to go and do a bit of back tracking to get where I want to go.
There’s always an answer, always a fix. I know that at 37. You get to ask for a do over.