I've been debating whether or not to write this post for a long time.
But the title kind of says it all. This past year was incredibly difficult. I don't mean to sound whiny (though my tendencies lately may point that way), but I've been feeling so down on myself as a woman.
A year ago, I had no idea what my life would entail when it came to the arduous and long journey that is medical school. Starting out, you expect it to be difficult, but the thoughts of someday having a doctor husband and a comfortable lifestyle wins out and it becomes this exciting road and we were told over and over, "medical school is an adventure, it'll be the best time of your life."
Okay can I say something about that statement? Medical school is definitely an adventure. But this year was not the best time of our lives. It was the hardest. When Christian and I got married, I was on board 100 percent with him going to medical school. The thought was exciting and I was so proud of Christian for pursuing his dreams and working so hard to make them a reality. But being young, I hadn't developed enough mentally or emotionally to make a mature and decisive path for myself. I got caught up in the one goal we had (career-wise) as a couple: get Christian to medical school.
The longer we were married and the older I got (though I realize 22 is still quite young and I am still very immature), the more I questioned this path we're on and the more I began to envision the goals I had for myself.
All of a sudden, there were things I wanted to do but instead, I was living in my sister's basement finishing my bachelor's degree in 3 1/2 years so Christian could be where he wanted to be. Though I love Christian and I want to support him in any way I can, this was not my idea of the life I had pictured for myself.
When we were all settled back in Rochester after Christmas, I began looking for a job to help support us through medical school. And this is important to note: I wasn't looking for a job to help fulfill me as a young, professional woman, I was looking for a job because it was my duty as a wife to support my husband while he furthered his career and academic studies.
I was offered a job at a great company at the end of March, and even though it was a big girl, professional job with a reputable company, I did not feel right about it. After praying about it and contemplating my options, I decided to turn it down and keep looking for other jobs. At the time, Christian was drowning in school work, extensive church responsibilities, and other duties like his job as his class secretary and surgery interest groups. He was barely staying afloat and so I decided to take a part-time job while I kept looking for a job that I felt good about. However, after being pressured and pressured, I took the job that I knew was wrong for me.
My first day of work I remember walking into a bathroom stall at 4 p.m, and sobbed for a half hour because I couldn't believe the mess I had gotten into. It was my first day and I knew the job was totally wrong for me. For me, it wasn't about the money, it was about being fulfilled as a human being and contributing to society. I felt defeated.
I was at a job that I didn't feel invested in whatsoever, but too tired and busy to make an effort at home or in my relationships with Christian, my family, and friends.
I started to explore my options and figure out what I really wanted to be doing with my life at this moment and in the future. For a long time I had been toying with the idea of culinary school, but the expense didn't seem worth it and there are no culinary institutes or art institutes in our area that offer a full program. Our local community college, however, offers a culinary arts certificate program that is one year long. The tuition is extremely inexpensive and even though it's just a community college program, I could still learn skills that interest me, even if they don't further my career.
Christian was really supportive of the idea and I decided to find out more and I even signed up for classes (hellllooooo "preparation of breads and cookie doughs!"). However, once again I was at a crossroads. People around me, including my family, could not believe that I would give up a perfectly suitable job to go to some community college to do something that wouldn't help me support Christian. How dare I do something so selfish? Right?
This whole situation has broken me. As a woman I've felt that I'm simply supposed to follow suit behind my husband, no questions asked. It's completely acceptable and admirable for Christian to spend 12 years (school, residency, AF payback) training for his career, but when I try to take 1 year at age 22 to get more education in something I'm extremely passionate about, I'm selfish and unwilling to support my husband? I realize that marriage is about sacrifice and compromise, but I think both of those things should be shared equally by both partners in a relationship.
I don't mean to sound resentful, because Christian has tried really hard recently to help me follow my dreams and change this unfulfilled state that I'm in, but this year has been so hard. Sometimes I resent being a woman, and I hate saying that. I've always valued my femininity but WHY is there so much pressure on women to support, nurture, and submit? Is there no place in (Mormon) society for women to excel, succeed, and thrive in our passions and talents?
I know the answer to that question is yes, there is a place for women with big dreams in society. Long story short, I decided to leave the company that I'm at. Though I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to work there, I know it was just not the right fit for me. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do now. I've applied to some other jobs more in my field of expertise (communications, pr, and event management), and I'm also still signed up for the culinary arts program. We'll see what this fall brings.
You're probably concerned and think I'm some scorned feminist, but I promise I'm just someone who lost sight of their individuality and personal goals. I think it's expected that as a young, temple-married woman, my blog is supposed to be about the eternal bliss of marriage and how blessed I am to have a husband. But I would be lying if I said how easy this past year was and how incredible the first year of medical school was, and that's just not true. I feel like I should be honest, and sharing the good and bad bits of marriage is part of that.
And I am extremely blessed to have Christian. In the end, even though my personal struggles have really affected our marriage this year, we are still happy and happy to be married. I could not have gotten through this year without Christian and his efforts to try to support me as I figure out my mess that is my life at this moment.
If I sound resentful of him, it's probably more my jealousy of him. I envied him for so long. Knowing his career path since he was young and having nothing stopping him from doing it. I'm trying to copy his example now, I'm just a few years behind.
I apologize for this (probably very whiny) rant (with no pictures even!) and am seriously impressed if you made it all the way through this.