Well. I've landed in Winona, MN after what felt like a very long and torturous move. Mind you, I have never been to Winona (or even Minnesota) prior to moving here--my campus visit was virtual and my husband made the trip to find a house since he was fully vaccinated before me and not in the middle of defending a dissertation. As with all moves, nothing seemed to go as planned, and we ended up arriving at our new home three days early.
We approached the closest "big" city to our new small town around 9:30pm and immediately hit one of the darkest storms I've ever driven through. I could see almost nothing for the remainder of the drive into town and up to our house. I was exhausted and my nerves were shot. After I got to the too-big-for-us house (built in the 1890s) and did a walkthrough for the first time, I texted by friend and told her that I felt like I was in a gothic novel; major "driving up to Maderlay for the first time" vibes á la Rebecca.
Since then we've unpacked almost everything and set up house. I don't know if I just don't remember what it was like moving to Binghamton five years ago or if it really was different, but I'm absolutely struggling more with this transition. I feel like I'm living someone else's reality and while I go through the motions each day I don't feel in my body. I feel like there's some alternate reality where the "real" me is actually playing out her life while I'm here living someone else's.
On further introspection, one thing I've noticed that I've been doing to avoid the anxiety brewing beneath the surface is spending a lot of time thinking in the future--what will happen when it's time to move out of this rental next year? What will happen with the University budget in 2, 3 years? What will happen if we run out of money?
It seems easier to live in a terrifying future where everything that has went and is going right goes wrong than it is confronting the fact that my present looks a lot like the future I imagined for myself the past seven years. I would like to accept and love myself enough to not only extend myself grace when things go wrong, but to show myself that same love when things go right.
Big transitions tend to unearth underlying assumptions and deep-seated beliefs that I'm not typically aware are operating behind-the-scenes of my everyday life. I often said that I wouldn't internalized academia and scholarly work to the extent that it defined me, but I'm coming to realize that the difficulty in transitioning from being a student to being an assistant professor psychologically is telling. Addressing that discomfort now will help me let go of the kinds of attachments that I know will not serve me, my work, my students, or my community. I'm grateful to have this little stretch of time to work through these transitions and I want to resolve to be more present in this time.
More to come soon on my new works-in-progress, but for now I'm going to ground myself in this moment, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
Assistant Professor of English/Film Studies
Transnational Cinema, Decolonial Methodologies, Feminisms, Neoliberalism
Winona State University
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