This morning I woke up "knowing" that I would receive a paper rejection today. All day long, a stone sat heavy in my belly, made up of equal parts of 1) hopelessness, 2) weak hope, and 3) dread. Typically, my paper rejections involve a couple of days of crying, tearing hair from my head, and threatening to quit the PhD. To compound the emotional difficulty of rejections, my advisor has told me I cannot do my prelim until I have more publications, so another rejection would only prolong my time-to-degree.
All day long, little good things kept happening. The long-awaited book I requested from the library arrived. I didn't screw up too badly in Japanese class. I didn't crash my bike into a stupid undergrad. I ran into a friend that decided to stick with the PhD just a little longer. I had a quick coffee break with a friend. I watched a well-organized practice defense. And during all these good little things, the stone remained in my belly. I figured such good things were just a portent for the bad thing to come.
I waited at school this evening for the bad news I expected via e-mail. I didn't feel like putting both my boyfriend and my father (who is visiting for two months) through the torrent of tears that would come. I could rely on Friday night's empty building to give me the opportunity to cry privately in a bathroom stall.
Carrying that stone all day long in my belly, only to find out 10 minutes ago that the paper was accepted.