Hello my lovely booklovers,
how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve had a week of ups and downs. It started with getting my diploma on Monday, making it my official Graduation Day!! I did a happy dance all morning, even got a few gifts from friends. My parents’ reaction to me graduating? A handshake from my mum – with a sideboard between us – and my dad just nodded and didn’t even ask to see the diploma.
Now, I didn’t expect much. I know better than that. But given that a card and a bunch of flowers are the bare minimum of congratulatory gifts in my family, I expected at least that, and maybe a hug instead of a handshake. I don’t know about your families, but in mine, we used to celebrate achievements with family dinner out. We didn’t celebrate Monday. Not even a glass of wine or bubbly together. I spent my graduation day sitting by myself on my couch and getting drunk on 3/4 of a bottle of red wine and an empty stomach because errands had me running rugged all day.
It’s been almost a week and not once have I been given the feeling that they’re proud, although my mum has since awkwardly offered to get me a new watch as a grad gift. And it hurts. After 29 years I should know better and I should be used to never being good enough because no matter what I did I never was good enough for them, but on my graduation day, it hurt a lot. Still does, to be honest. And I’m so tired of always doing my best and never being good enough for my own family.
I graduated summa cum laude and on the Dean’s List, with a GPA of 3.97 (curse that 1 B+ I got on my very first assignment). I’ve never been a straight-A student until now, but because of that my parents think that my degree can’t have been a proper one or hard to complete, despite me working my arse off for my grades. In Germany, the highest grade you can have is 1,0 and my GPA works out at 1,0. I literally couldn’t have done any better than that. Somehow they think that studying by distance learning is not as worthy as going to a brick-and-mortar university, although it requires a lot more discipline and the ability to teach yourself. Next to my studies, I worked every day, I looked after family members and, if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know, I also struggle with mental health issues and by now my SAD has kicked in properly as well. There were times I doubted I’d ever finish the course. It’s taken all I had to get the grades I got and not lose my mind in the process and I am damn proud of that – I currently hold the highest academic degree anyone in this family ever got – at least until my sister gets her Master’s degree. So far, my parents haven’t told anyone I graduated; in fact, they’ve been talking about how my sister is writing her own Master’s thesis now.
And I am sorry for this coffee rant, but my parents’ reaction has really sent me into a negative spiral with echoes of the ever popular “you’re not good enough”, “when are you getting a real job”, “What can you do with that degree (note: Cross-Cultural Communication!) anyway,” and throwing in the evergreen “you should really lose weight” with the implied “nobody will ever love you like that” for good measure. And they wonder why I value books and the escape into fictional worlds so much…
There were several times this week when I got so upset I had to leave because I could feel myself tearing up. Not that they noticed. At one point I was shaking I was so angry. Mental health problems are not real problems to them, so they don’t understand how anyone could think them insensitive. These are people who fire employees with mental health diagnoses, because they’re “not easily fixed” and because, unlike a broken leg, “you can’t really see if they’re pretending or not” and so could milk them for the salary on sick leave without doing any work. And I sit there, thinking “your own daughter has these issues, and you’d know that if you’d listen. Is this how you’d treat me”?
So yeah. Absolute high followed by one of the biggest blows I’ve ever received this week. I’d love to talk to you about the Gilmore Girls revival and my arts and crafts I did to celebrate it, but I’m afraid I’m not in the mood. We’d drink our coffee out of my self-decorated Stars Hollow mugs, though.
And if we were having coffee, I’d talk a bit about Firefly and the fact that 2016 has claimed yet another favourite of mine: actor Ron Glass, who played Shepherd Book on the show. I hope you found serenity, Shepherd! Don’t go far!
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve had enough of this rant and I don’t blame you. Thank you for listening, though. The other Weekend Coffee Sharers are probably a bit more cheerful this week, so check them out!
Thank you for having coffee with me today on the First Advent. Same time, next week?