Confession: I've deleted the only blogs that I've posted in 2012, and that's something I never ever do. If there's anything that bothers me about something I've written, I usually say c'est la vie and hope the past moves away in a graceful manner. The problem this time was that -- for a short while-- I misplaced my direction. I misplaced my faith in what comes next. I misplaced my optimism and gentle spirit, and I was ashamed of the ease with which all of these misplacements made their way into language, into the public.
It wasn't until the various oversized and overstressed parts of my life started fitting together in wildly convenient--no, ordained--ways that I realized how blessed I was and how each of my bitter disappointments during the fall and winter months occurred for a reason. Only Level 1 of Tetris could have fit together better. My friend and mentor at the university where I currently teach always tells me, "Karen, you have to remember that God closes doors just as often as he opens them, if not more often. If a door is closed, you can probably rest assured that God closed it for you." It's wonderful advice but not always easy to accept. She says of these closed doors that they're nothing personal: "They're signs of God giving you permission to walk away, feeling no worse about yourself, confident that they have been closed for a reason."
After applying for about 35 assistant professorships in academia...after all the months of hearing nothing from search committees and receiving zero job interviews at MLA...after all the fear, the discouragement, the confusion, the doubt, the regret, the embarrassment...I received not only one job interview, but two, and these were schools near the top of my wish list. As recently as a month ago, I was rather severely depressed and disappointed at the way my job search was going. It was easy, too easy to come down hard on myself and wonder what I could have done differently to make the various search committees give me a second glance. I'm embarrassed that I doubted myself so thoroughly and had put so much of my self worth into my ability to gain satisfying employment after having spent 4.5 years on my doctorate degree (although I am sure I'm not alone in these emotions). Confession: I'm embarrassed by my doubt and discouragement. I wish I could say that I have held my head high this past year, growing in confidence every single day after defending my dissertation. Instead, I've been shrinking in my own shame of being a jobless, potentially penniless Ph.D.
This week I accepted a British literature and composition position that will bring me back to my home state, close to family, where my husband will be working, too. I am overwhelmed. Overjoyed. Everything has clicked together in nice, clean, Tetris-y ways. And I know that this door was propped open by a greater strength than mine.