In May 2011, at age 25, I completed my first year as an English doctoral student. I also left my husband of nine months.
My resolve—long a sort of trembling, gelatinous mound—finally ossified between two paper deadlines. The first I submitted. The second, due the following day, took me an additional month and a half to complete. With paragraphs of Thackeray's Vanity Fair scattered all around me, I navigated charged phone conversations with relatives and friends and sifted through separation papers that managed, even in their legalese, to render me a treacherous bitch. I wrestled with the anxiety that I was, in fact, a treacherous bitch, unfit for long-term companionship.