It’s Holy Week, and I’ve been spending it the way I normally do: working, grocery shopping, exercising, traveling among all the places where I do all those things, and reading and writing.
Nothing is finished. Not the thesis. Not the last reading response for my women’s history class that I meant to turn in three weeks ago. Not the research report for the same class. Not my taxes. (Those I haven’t started.) How will it get done? I know it always does. I know some sleepless nights come with the life I chose. I know.
But I’m also regretting, thinking of things I could have—should have?—done differently.
I should’ve registered for 9 credits this semester instead of 6. I would’ve had to take an incomplete for my public history internship because I won’t do that until the summer—and that still feels very wobbly—but at least then it would’ve been paid for with my fellowship. But I’m not sure I could have done that. But I did think about doing that, and I should’ve gone for it until someone tried to stop me, and then talked or written my way out of it, as I usually am able to do.
I should’ve looked for and applied for internships over my winter break. Instead, I was writing a book proposal and editing pages that I sent to agents who haven’t replied, and that I have since changed drastically.
Why didn’t I get Zumba or BodyJam or group fitness certification the first time I thought about it? Because I injured my back and was in physical therapy for six months. But the second time, or at least before I moved here? The YMCA I go to just gave a woman who got her certification a few months ago four classes. That coulda been me but …
I should be looking for and applying to jobs right now. What if there are none to apply for? I’ve gotten to know a lot of people since moving here; why haven’t I made better business connections? What is a writing business connection? How whack was that sample I sent that two agents who requested the work haven’t replied? Residencies will probably be my answer for the next year. Hopefully. Hopefully? Freelancing has never paid a livable wage for me. Well, it did, for one month when I was 28. And then it didn’t ever again. I hate everyone asking me what’s next. Note to self: remember the seeds you’ve planted, the queries you’ve sent, the meetings you’ve had. There won’t be health insurance, but there will be something.
Why don’t I have a craft I can put on Etsy or something?
The thesis isn’t done.
This is Holy Week. Today is Maundy Thursday. I have no idea what that means, but if Resurrection Sunday is this Sunday, today would’ve been Christ’s last passover seder. And the night he prayed all night not to face what he knew was coming. And the night he was betrayed and arrested. The timing is right; I should feel dreadful.
I shouldn’t compare the “suffering.”
The difference—in this case—between me and Jesus is, I don’t know what’s coming. Would it be easier to endure if I did? If I knew World War III were not about to start and that more peaceful and prosperous times, those times when people feel like writing and art are of value, were ahead?
Oh, wait! There’s foot washing today, too! I should be doing something of service to others.
I will be an unpaid intern for 100 hours over the summer. That is enough.
The real irony is that this thesis/memoir turned into a structured thing this week. This week that I should be meditating on Christ’s sacrifice and what it means to us today, in this world I still can’t quite believe the cruelty and ridiculousness of, I’m thinking much more about what went into me not going to church anymore and no praying too often, either.
And thinking of how much I really need to—want to—pray about all these worries.
Author’s note: This essay is part of the #52Essays2017 series. Every week in 2016, Vanessa Mártir published one essay on her blog. After a phenomenal year of challenges and growth as a writer, she invited other writers in various communities she’s a part of to join her as she endeavors to write weekly, relentlessly, again in 2017. I’m in on the challenge because I saw how very little space I gave personal reflection in 2016. This is my thesis semester, and I expect some challenges and growth as I write it. The weekly essay challenge provides a space to document that growth (though I’m already thinking I might screw with the genre a little).