To people who ‘know better than me’ and suck all the fun out of the Upcoming Things

Look,

I’m picking up on probably 3/10 responses when I talk of my future plans, but it is human nature to more easily remember the negatives, and you 3/10ths are being negative as fuck.

I already know that PhD research topics change over the course of 3 years. I already know what I start out thinking is not what I’ll end up thinking. I already know it’s going to be a lot of work, and that managing everything will be a lot sometimes. I already know that it falls to me and me alone to get this shit done and over the finish line. I have literally been surrounded by friends who are doing or have done PhDs for years now, and as much as I can, I know what I’m in for.

I’ve also (obviously) decided, despite knowing all of this and more, to grab this opportunity. To do something like this (I believe) a person needs a solid lump of determination (read: sheer bloodymindedness) on their side. This means I have plans for what I want my career to look like and how I plan to get a job afterwards and all those things you’re quizzing me on. I’m well aware things can change – 5 years ago I said I’d never do a PhD, so believe me, I got it.

I guess what I’m saying here is: don’t feel morally obligated to give me a ‘sense of reality’ just yet mate, I haven’t even started the fucking thing. Let’s just let me get fired up about it for a hot minute first, huh?

To the people offering me reassurance when it is only an acknowledgement I need (or, note to self: remember how this feels)

Dear everyone in my life who is very well-meaning and cares about my happiness,

This will come off ungrateful, perhaps. Bear with me.

I’m waiting to hear news about the outcome of an application I made. This is the vital, huge/tiny first step to over 3 years of work ahead of me, and will be a simple email which will possibly be automated. Nonetheless, it’s the difference between doing the thing I want to do and not doing it.

The waiting is a weight. There’s no way around that – I’ve accepted I’m at the hands of a system and decision makers and that for now I can’t do anything more.

Friends, loved ones – I have done this myself and so I know it’s from this place where you want to make me feel better, but truly, telling me ‘not to worry’ or ‘you’ll be fine’ in response to me vocalising the weight of the waiting, even the frustration of the waiting, is driving me up the fucking wall.

Like so many things in life (a lesson I am learning more slowly than a person smart enough for a scholarship really should), I do not need you to faux-fix this problem, I just need you to acknowledge it exists.

If you remember this, I will try to hear ‘that must be frustrating, let me buy you a beer’ behind your well-meant platitudes – and I will do my best not to race in next time and save you from the burning building of your own frustrations.

To people who get upset about people having opinions of any kind

Hey dumb-dumbs

I’m so very sorry for you that other people are being vegan and talking about it. Maybe us crazy animal-lovers are even sharing opinions about the industry of consuming animals and possibly speaking directly to you in an online public space about it? Maybe we’ve even pointed out the environmental impacts? Ouch, I’m just so sorry you’re being made to think about your choices.

I note that it’s barely worth pointing out to you how silly you look by banging on rather adamantly about how much you resent Other Opinions being expressed in any way – especially seeing as I’m running so fucking low on protein *weakly crunches down on carrot stick*.

Your level of defensiveness with regards to people speaking passionately about things they do differently to you is pretty fucking telling, just FYI. The implication that ‘some of your best friends are vegan’ and they’re alright because they’re the ‘right kind of vegan’ veers dangerously close to the justifications I hear about racism, sexism and homophobia. It bothers me that any ideas outside of the white, able-bodied, male, consumer-driven status quo are automatically militant until proven they can toe the line when needed. I’d point out more connections but I haven’t the word count available to me, or any cares to give. Plus, you know, just so weak from lack of iron.

I’m not interested in engaging anyone in a conversation about how many ways they’re wrong when they have quite blatantly stated they’re well within their rights to yell loudly and blindly into the internet stratosphere about their stupid, meat-eating feelings.