Je suis arrivée / Sobre la tristeza

I woke up this morning at home. I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom. I woke up telling myself that just because I was home did not mean I had to suffer. I woke up saying just because I was now so close to my university and so far from the things I love and need, I still did not have to be complicit in my own oppression. I woke up promising myself to treat myself well.

I had been, first, at LASA in Puerto Rico, an expensive conference where logistics were so poor that it was hard to get to see panels. I got some things out of it but not really enough. Puerto Rico was interesting but hard to be in since it is so expensive. It was also sad because it is a colony. I had never been to an outright colony before, and I now appreciate writers like Maryse Condé in a way I never did.

Next I went to the AP reading in Louisville, which was interesting but again an experience which took energy. This is not the easiest town to get to know, and although ETS provides food, the food was of poor enough quality that we were all ill at ease when not ill outright. We spent money we had not planned on spending, to buy cleaner and more nutritious food. We thus underwent more stress, and profited less than we had expected to do.

These voyages, then, were tiring and a little less pleasant and useful than I had counted on their being, but they were distracting and interesting, and I was away from home. Now here, the university informs me that it will not, after all, reimburse me for the Puerto Rico conference. So I feel it is not true, I may keep my mind stayed on freedom but I am NOT the master of my fate. I am not one of those who cries but I have been having trouble not, so I have not yet been into the university to fight this situation in person, and I am not in good enough shape to call my aged father today.


I feel I am sinking. I took this job because I had nowhere else to go without help and because it was what my mother wanted. I hurt my mother so much in life just by being who I was. I always tried to do the things she wanted if I could, so as to mitigate the pain I was causing to the extent that might be possible. But I did think I would be able to make the best of it, and get away again. I promised myself I would be in a position to leave as soon as my mother died (I would not take any risks sooner, so as not to upset her further).

But it is late, and I am not in a position to leave, and if I am not reimbursed for this conference my debt burden will increase such that it will become even harder to leave … and even more fundamentally, being treated this way by the university really gets me down.

Estoy tan triste. And I do note that I keep saying “I am so sorry, Mom, I am so sorry, please do not hurt me.” I keep saying this as if to save my life. That is why I cannot leave the house; it would not be appropriate to say it in public. And I note that every time I think this, I am taking a wrong road. I should never have allowed my mother so much power, and I should not allow it to her now.

Nor should I make her so responsible. This last point is not for her sake but for mine: when I think this, I sabotage the power I do have. And the university’s decision is based on a clerical error someone made, and I may be able to have it reversed. If not it only means taking on an additional thousand dollars in debt and there are worse things. I have never filed for bankruptcy, so this is still an option in a worst case scenario (as in, if there are additional disasters).


7 thoughts on “Je suis arrivée / Sobre la tristeza

  1. Update. I have lost paperwork that would defend the reimbursement, it seems, and one of my grandmother’s earrings. I am so tired, so broke, so sad, and so do not know what to do to remedy matters — so much of what I try does not work as it should, and I feel I know less and less where to turn. If only I could go home, really go home, somewhere less hostile. I try and try and get better and better, I tell myself, but I keep being dashed against the rocks, as it were.

    1. Yes, that book does quite describe my life. My mother was a lady against bluestockings who did not join the 2d wave, though. She believed in reproductive rights, driving, voting, a few things … and dependency, weakness, feeling “crazy,” and so on.

  2. Well, a person who did not know me well might mistake me for a dependent person. But deep down I’m the cat who walks by herself.

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