There’s something that’s particularly true of the PhD that is essentially true of all walks of life: to survive, everything must come from within. Meaning, to persevere, you must be able to digest the unhealthy, the unproductive, the unsupportive, the hurtful and churn it out in the form of positivity and forward progress.
As I sit here licking my wounds from my family’s visit, reminding myself that before they came and went I had high self esteem, confidence, and strength enough to ‘keep calm and carry on’, I’m reminded of my personal mantra I learned at an age too young - we are born alone, and we die alone. As much as my partner, my colleagues, my supervisors, and my friends, who constitute the support that most people can expect from their families, are available to help me build back up what I lost in a few days from my family’s presence, it is down to me to get back on my own two feet.
I think we forget this too frequently in the day to day routine of life. No one can make our lives better other than ourselves. No one can replace the void that is left by feeling unloved by the people who are supposed to love you most. Only you can accept it and keep on keeping on to heal that void, to consider the void less significant.
At the end of the day/life, I’ll never receive the validation/love/support from my family that we all crave. What I can have is the knowledge that I did this - from ‘good’ mental health to my doctoral thesis - I did this, not them. It’s not for anyone else to judge but me. Because no one else’s blood, sweat, and tears constitute my life and my accomplishments but my own.
As we enter the holiday season, remember these words:
Illigitemi non carborundum.
Don’t let the bastards get you down.