It is often that I need to remind myself that I am worthy of happiness and that my being is not mutually exclusive from success. After pulling myself from my graduate program, I have felt an almost constant urge to do more, to push myself harder, to be better than I am.
Which sounds great, on paper.
But when these feelings come as a result of an ever-present anxiety that I have not done enough and that – even when I have done a full days work, cleaned my apartment, played with my cat, written three poems and started on a painting, that I have not done enough to allow myself to relax, even for a moment.
Sometimes it is as though my body refuses to sit still unless it is hard at work doing… something.
So today, I revisited the root of this anxiety, my having (temporarily) left academia. My initial reason for entering into my former doctoral program was simple: I wanted to help people. Now I know that is an interesting reason to jump headfirst into a Political Science Ph.D., one of the most conservative fields I could have possibly chosen for that endeavor (as I later found out).
But my successful and exciting undergraduate career at UC Riverside had assured me that this was the way to go. That knowledge of politics, and that the view of politics as being inherently about power, was key to healing an increasingly broken world.
I did not enter academia to be a part of a rat race to tenured professorship.
I remind myself of this now as a way of reinvigorating a passion that had dwindled during my time as a graduate student: I work to inspire, to raise the spirits of others, and to help solve problems.
It is enough to want to pursue this, with or without a graduate degree. I am enough, I have enough resources to do this, with or without a degree at all, much less a graduate degree. People the world over have done much more with much less.
Even though I still want to get my Masters (at least) in Political Science, I will do so with the grounded intention of using it to better the community that raised me, and to give back to the black community, which has done so much in raising me and in healing and guiding me when I felt lost. Not to play “keeping up with the Jones’ ” with my former graduate peers.
So I repeat. I am enough. My passions are legitimate. My happiness is attainable.
I don’t need to work myself to dead (or insanity) just to prove that I am worthy of living.
I am enough.