TLDR: I left graduate school.
I'm back from a deep dive into the "I quit grad school" personal essay genre. Just typing out "I left graduate school" was a multi-draft ordeal. I spent enough time in academia to know that quitting a doctoral program is supposed to make me very ashamed of myself. Some part of me still thinks this post is a weak attempt at justifying my failure. That part speaks with the voice of administrators who were totally unsupportive of me during my difficult pregnancy (and yes, I've trashed a draft with all the details, which are really only important to the close friends who already know). But feeling badly about how I was treated doesn't mean I have to feel badly about myself or about the end of my student days—says the much-louder voice of everyone who loves me.
I'm proud of the knowledge I acquired and the scholarship I produced. I adore the colleagues with whom I studied. Graduate school was how I found myself walking the perimeter of the site of the Battle of Hastings. Graduate school took me to Disneyworld. My husband would want you to know that graduate school was why a clown said to meet him by an invisible parrot, and why that clown then bought him a hamburger.
And because I left graduate school, I applied for a creative job that I'd wanted since I was a kid. And I got it. And it has significantly increased the amount of joy I derive from daily life.
So I'm going to stop informing people that I left graduate school.
TLDR: I became a writer.