Getting into a screaming match with my professor wasn't the worst part.
When I was writing my master’s thesis, I got into an explosive fight with my thesis chair. That may seem odd, the thought of a student and professor, in a professional setting, going at it over how to measure cognitive dissonance. But there we were, like a couple of unhinged weirdos. I burst into tears unexpectedly, then quickly tried to reel myself in. My tears laid my vulnerability bare, and my professor’s shoulders slowly lowered from her ears. She softened, and we reconciled. When it was time to leave, she gave me a hug, and as I leaned in, the unspeakable happened. For reasons I’ll never understand, I whispered softly in her ear, “I love you.”
The very second it left my lips I knew I had no choice but to drop out of school, glue on a beard, move to a quiet town, and hide under an ambiguous name like Pat Stephens. I mean, was I nuts? I respected her, sure, but she could be a real piece of work. Brilliant, unrelenting in her demands for excellence, and terrifying for no good reason. To say I loved her was a real stretch. The cringe ran so deep and hard, it kinked my neck and my limbs froze to ice.
She said nothing in return, just patted my back politely, and then watched me leave her office, my neck kinked at a 90-degree angle, limping, rigid, like an ice sculpture.
To say I wasn’t ready to return to class the next day is an understatement. How could I look her in the eye again? But I somehow managed, detached and bubbly as if that erased the cringe from existence. It worked well enough, I guess. With her guidance, I eventually went on to write a thesis worthy of awards.
Now that I think of it, I’ve never been ready for anything. I’ve tried to recall a time when I’ve walked into any situation prepared academically, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Nothing comes to mind. Adult decisions, marriage, conflict, parenting, crow’s-feet, large pores, skinny jeans, hosting a dinner party . . . you name it, I’m not ready for it.
I’ve never, not once, been ready to go sleeveless. Or for my monthly period to arrive, even though my iWatch gives me several warnings. I wasn’t ready for my daughter to start kindergarten, and don’t even get me started on that one time I appeared on national TV in a blazer two sizes too small because I thought I’d lose 20 pounds before the shoot. Oh Lord, I ain’t never ready!
But somehow, miraculously, God finds a way to push me forward. Feels super rude, to be honest, as I kick and scream, weep, and breathe into a paper sack. But the more I’m pushed, the more I’ve had to rely on God for a miracle. A reminder that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to while simultaneously recognizing I can’t accomplish anything at all.
This was an excerpt from my new (most favorite) book I’m Not Ready for This. It’s available for pre-order with bonus gifts for those who order now.
You are receiving this email because at one time, you purchased a product or elected to receive emails, new essays, etc. from Anna Lind Thomas. She’s moved her platform to Substack and you are still a free subscriber, nothing has changed. For the full experience, official audiobook access and more, become a paid subscriber to her letters, True Story(ish).