There is no way I could express everything I'm feeling in this post. As I unravel the emotion inside me over the next few days I may attempt to put it into words in my blog, but for now I think I need to stick to the facts.
Really, there is only one fact in my life right now - it's done.
Today I handed in myself; printed on 64 sheets of paper, condensed into 14,998 words (why am I always so dangerously close to the maximum word limit?!) - there I was in print, deposited in a box in the Departmental office. Done and dusted.
I didn't know where to turn. I didn't know where I was supposed to be, where I should go or what I could possibly do now that I had no dissertation to write. I feel lovesick, heartbroken almost. As I packed up and said goodbye to my friends in the study-room, I felt strangely envious of those still working away with another two deliciously intense weeks until hand-in.
I've had 3 hours sleep since waking up at 5am yesterday morning. My first 'all-nighter', and it'll be my last. I've had crippling stomach ache for over a week, and my jeans are hanging off my hips in that unsightly way that too-big jeans tend to hang. Before I start analysing where I am and where I'm supposed to go next, I need to take a bit of time for myself. Not to think, just to be, to catch up with myself and remember exactly who I am and what it is that I love to do.
In the 4 months and 5 days it took to write my dissertation, I somehow became my dissertation. I need to spend some time un-becoming my dissertation; unravelling the stress and exhaustion and re-discovering my life.
The up-coming days will be busy (next week I'm moving house and going on a walking holiday!), but I intend to spend some time with myself, reading and baking and sipping long mugs of tea. Maybe I'll listen to some afternoon radio, maybe I'll wander around the city and take in the changing season, maybe I'll get a hair cut and take a long bath.
But for now, I need food - lots of it, and sleep.