Sunday, October 5, 2008

From Shuga to Shyt


Dianna, my brilliant writer friend who is working on her MEd, who teaches at the independent school, is not to be found. We had arranged to meet up on one day around the end of February so I could give her the recommendation form. She would see my new place, and we would ride by some spots I saw around here, that had apartment for rent signs out. She was thinking of moving. Now, I couldn't get her on the phone. I tried calling just about several times every day, but thought little of it. She tends not to answer her phone, check her messages.

On March 10, I dropped by her house and put an envelope in her mailbox with the form inside when she didn't answer the door. I was dissapointed that we hadn't talked or hung out, but there was time for that later. I needed this form completed. I only had three weeks.

Later that day, I got this email from her:

I'm sorry about the late notice and all; I was really hoping that you found someone else to write your letter of recommendation. I don't feel comfortable doing it-felt put on the spot when I saw the attachment at the bottom of an e-mail you sent me. I take complete responsibility for not discussing this in a timely manner and do hope that it hasn't caused to much of an inconvenience. To be honest with you, I suspect getting me to write you a letter of recommendation was the primary, ulterior motive why you asked for my help with your personal statement and writing sample. That may not be the case, but that's how I feel-whenever we talk you always seem to want something from me. I know that avoidance wasn't the answer, but it's how I decided to handle the situation. I'm sorry, and hope that you'll find someone else who can then fax the recommendation. Given your criteria was a fellow writer, it shouldn't be that hard; and I do truly wish you the best as your pursue your graduate studies.
What the fluck!? I can't even think of anything else I've asked her to do for me. My immediate response:


If you don't feel comfortable writing my letter of recommendation that's fine, of course you shouldn't. I don't think that I understand though, why I would need an ulterior motive to ask for your help with either of these two things. I don't know if it was naive of me, but I assumed that unless you didn't have the time, you would gladly write a letter of recommendation for me, and that you would gladly review my writing or whatever, as I would for you or Thom or Neh, or Jacqueline or even Sam, without hesitation.

I asked the same two things of every person who I approached, for support with the writing sample and essay and for a letter of recommendation. You got a different email than everyone else, in which I asked for everything all at once, because I erronously left your email out, which I realized when I reviewed the list it of people the email had been sent to. I composed your email seperately, may not have said everything, but I really didn't think it was a big deal.

I don't understand this, and I don't appreciate it. I would have had no problem with you saying no. For instance, Nehassaiu said she couldn't write my rec for Bennington, but is writing my rec for Lesley because there is enough time, Lesley's rec
being due April 1 instead of March 1. Jacqueline said she had time to review my essay only. Langston said he would try to review my sample. Janice said she didn't feel comfortable writing the rec letter because she didn't feel qualified. I was fine with whatever people said they could or couldn't do. I never ask things of people with an attitude that they have an obligation.

No, I haven't asked anyone else because I thought I could count on you, and I won't be able to get a rec and therefore, I just won't be applying. So I really don't appreciate you're avoidance, and you taking full responsibility doesn't mean anything really, because this was something really big and important for me, and those words "I take complete responsibility for not discussing this in a timely manner" don't change the fact that now all the work I've done is down the drain and I cannot apply. I'm fucking pissed off. I'm pretty simple Dianna, I don't really work with ulterior
motives. I wish people would just be fucking frank. I learned from you the importance of being present. But whatever.

I do whatever I can in almost every instance to help people, and when I don't ask people for help I get fussed at and asked why I act like I don't deserve the same kind of support that I like to give other people. Well this is why, because I don't feel like dealing with someone else's bullshit, her own baggage that causes her to interpret my actions negatively and try to make me out to be some kind of bad and using person. Yes, I always intended to ask you to help me with all of that, and whatever you could offer I would have appreciated. And whatever you said no to I would have understood. But this, this is insulting, hurtful and mean. You are wrong for doing this to me, I don't deserve the perspective or the treatment. Don't do the rec, I won't ask
for your help again, and I'll just start preparing to apply to programs in

This application to grad school was important to me for many reasons. It represented follow through, I was finally following through with my ongoing plan and desire to go to school for writing. Also, it represented my ability to pursue a path and forge a future that I could enjoy and that would lower my neediness, strenthen my independence. I don't want to be a burden to anyone. And I don't want to end up having supported and nurtured my daughter only so that she can be burdened with having to support me because I haven't been able to establish a structure of consistant stability.

Note: Being an artist, I found it impossible to exist in the typical life work situations for long. I don't desert, but somehow it never works out. The world keeps sending me back to a space in which I belong, but I get hungry in that space. I must get to a point at which I will produce works that I feel comfortable putting out, and establish a life work scenario that my spirit will approve.

I did not deserve Dianna's decision and, quite honestly, I felt she should have sucked it up and kept her commitment. This, I think, was the wrong time, the wrong way to confront whatever issues she'd had with me. And clearly, her response was related more to previous interactions and not this one request. To this day I don't understand what she accused me of in her email at all. Why would I need to be manipulative to get a letter of recommendation? We are supposed to ask people to write rec letters, that's the nature of rec letters. How does my asking her to read my writing sample and essay get me any closer to getting a letter of recommendation from her? How does the first cause the second to happen any better, any surer? Anyway, who would write a letter of recommendation for a writing progam and not review or refamiliarize themselves with your writing? I'm still baffled.

I had such a high regard for Dianna, and always percieved her as having a great ability to confront situations directly, but I guess that's just perception, and we all have our weaknesses. Like me, she too is flawed. In this instance, her weakness was having a grave impact on me. Of course, I intended to apply to Lesley, and if that didn't work out, I would apply again to programs in August. I thought, maybe I'll even apply to a quadrillion programs like everyone else does. So much farher in advance, I believed that at least I'd have success getting rec letters.

Dianna's perception was invalid, I lacked respect for her decision, and it hurt my deeply. After I sent that response to her email (much of a second and final response is actually contained in this post), I cried hysterically until my nose began to bleed. Before I could get myself together, my nose was bleeding out of both nostrils and my mouth, and blood was dripping from my left eye. I never spoke to her again.

Fluckin Britch!


Bsquared86 said...

Oh no no no! What kind of phuckery is this? She thought avoidance was the best thing? WTF? You can't avoid me when I know where you lay your head at night AND where you work! lol. I have a couple of gal pals that I'm giving the side eye right now for pulling something similar on me at a very critical time.

Seriously, as a professional, she should have just written the rec and addressed whatever issues she has with you on a personal level at another time. That was extremely unprofessional! If she felt "put on" when you asked her for the rec she should have said so immediately-- grow a back bone, geez!

I'm sorry that you lost a friend over this!


Emily said...


i followed you over from the mfa blog, where you mentioned this post.

i can not understand her behavior in this situation at all, and i feel terrible for you!