Tuesday, 5 February 2013

"No one talks about frustration"

It's true. No one told me that I'd be sitting here, frustrated with myself and the reading and waiting for it to really start. They told me I'd have ups and downs, they talked about the 'journey' that I was embarking on, they told me it'd demoralise me more than it'd elate me, that it'd ooze in to every part of my being and eventually break me. And, you know, I'm ready for all that, I was ready when I started my PhD back in October.

I'm ok with being demoralised if it means an occasional on-top-of-the-worldness thanks to my very own hard work. My life is already ups and downs, with pretty much no middle ground, and so it seems me and a PhD are the perfect match on that level. And I want it to ooze; I want to lie awake at night thanks to sheer excitement about my work, I want ideas to take me over and pull me out of bed to write notes or find one last piece of evidence. I want to wake up too early on a weekend and write like crazy because my chilled out mind can finally let some thinking in. I want to be broken, even, because I like to be broken both at work and at play, and I like basking in my own brokenness wearing compression socks and holding a mug of sweet tea and wondering why on earth I like it so much.

But in order to get there I am working out for myself that there is a long tightrope of working out what to do and where to start and who to talk to. Finding answers might not be easy, but finding questions is probably even harder, and if there's one unspoken rule about all of this it's that those questions have to come from within. I'm looking in-between every word I read, scouring names and people and watching lectures, in awe of those who are just like what I want to be, hoping that it won't be long before I can stop pretending. I want my head and heart to be full, utterly absorbed in the task at hand. But until there is a task I have to settle with a half-distracted stream of thoughts, half reading the words on the page, quarter wondering how this might be relevant, quarter wishing that I were done with the reading, searching and analysing, and onto the sleeplessness and disorientation of complete absorption.

When I think of a PhD I think of stacks of books (check), empty plates and stained mugs and a desk scattered with crumbs (check), the sound of frantic typing from upstairs (check) and endless self-absorbed conversations about one subject, one idea, one obsession (check).

So maybe this is one of the downs that I mentioned above; is this really the dream I was so obsessed with for so long?

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