Cracking Like an Egg

June 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Here’s what’s going on:

– My job at the museum ended in May. Not because I did anything wrong, but because the budget just couldn’t make it (supposedly). There was a brief dash to apply to as many jobs in Birmingham as possible, but thanks to me being such a ridiculous planner, I had a nice chunk of change coming to me in the form of student loans that I’d requested for the summer last fall (and then forgot about them until I got my award letter).

– I’m currently working about 6 hours a week for this special program with the Joan Mitchell Foundation where I’m paired with a local Birmingham artist and I help him create a living legacy. It’s going really well, but the artist’s dog gets really aggressive with me at weird times, which makes me anxious when I’m there. And, honestly, I take it very personally when a dog doesn’t like me. It’s good that’s so rare.

– My parents are hiking a section of the AT again, so they’re mostly out of contact for a few months this summer. Normally this doesn’t affect me that much, but given how much I’ve seen them over the last year since I’ve been home, and considering how stressful of a year it’s been, well you can say I’m definitely feeling their absence.

– Mark and I broke up for the final, real time about a week ago after a public screaming fit that was probably a long time coming. Some days I feel totally fine but other days I have a really hard time living in his absence. Losing a lover and a best friend at once is twice the heartbreak.

– Speaking of heartbreak, Alec is coming home for a visit in July and we’re tentatively going to try to get dinner or drinks or something. As you can imagine, this has ignited a flurry of very confused emotions for me and very mixed responses from family members. On one hand, the outcome could be totally fine. We could see each other, have a great time, and then go on our very-opposite-direction ways, feeling glad that we’re in a friendly place. Or, as my dearest aunt fears, things could totally crash and burn, sending me reeling into a very dark place where I regret every decision I’ve ever made, reopening wounds that have just begun to scar over. My counterpoint to her was that we may both chicken out.

– Oh, lest I forget the biggest news: I got a 9 month paid internship in Dallas. I’ll be going out in July to hopefully sign the lease on an apartment (I have four that I would like to see, but am hesitating on calling because I hate talking on the phone so much) so I can move in August (because what better time is there to spend hours outside in Alabama and Texas hauling heavy shit up and down stairs?). I am SUPER excited, but I’ll make a post about that later.

– Also, I got a new dog. She’s a brown/orange and white spaniel/collie mix who has a hell of a bark for her meager 40 lbs size. She has stupidly cute ears and freckles all down her legs. I named her Asha. She and the fatty get along well.

– I’m in the last editing process of my thesis. The entire first draft was turned in to my advisor on Tuesday and I’m getting her comments back now.

This leads us to the real meat of this entry. Understatement of the year maybe, but it’s been a stressful year. I’ve gotten through a lot of it reasonably unscathed, and definitely by the seat of my pants, but now I’m in what I thought would be the easiest part of the year — writing my thesis. I am an excellent academic writer. I have been since college. Almost every paper I’ve ever written for school, I’ve written the night before, and the gross majority of them I’ve gotten A’s on. (In Art History, specifically, I’ve only had two papers not receive an A, and I learned to step it up for those professors)

My thesis is an unusual situation because I’ve condensed it in a way that is… inadvisable, you might say. Basically I had about three weeks to write the thing after I was officially approved to begin it following the passing of my comprehensive exams in May. That’s right — three weeks to write a thesis. On Tuesday I turned in about 70 pages. My advisor, who has to read the entire thing, make edits, and get it back to me in time for me to edit before sending it to my committee in, oh, A WEEK, is doing the best she can getting through it. So far she’s sent me comments for the intro and chapters 1 and 2, which take up about 3 pages, single-spaced.

I’m trying to verbalize how I feel right now. I thought I had things managed, when I just had the intro and chapter 1 critiques, but the chapter 2 comments were almost 2 pages alone. So what did I do? I cried. Like a fucking baby. I stared at my computer, cried, then rolled over on my pillow and sobbed until my dog put her nose in my face wondering why these weird noises were coming from me.

It just doesn’t feel do-able. It feels totally overwhelming. She wants me to do all this extra research, put all of this extra stuff in. I know she’s just trying to make the paper better, but how am I supposed to do all that in a week? I can’t even get books shipped to the library that quickly (because UAB’s library is so shitty it rarely has a book I need). It just feels impossible.

And it makes me feel like I’m a terrible writer. What was I doing? How could I have written something so bad that she wrote literally pages and pages of comments on it? Does she think less of me now that she’s read this crappy thing I threw at her? I honestly thought, when I turned it in, that it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t think I did a bad job, I didn’t think I had bad ideas or that my examples weren’t good. I thought I did a decent job, though I knew there would be comments (of course there would be comments — she wouldn’t be doing her job if there weren’t). But the amount of things I have to change, and more importantly/overwhelmingly, the amount of things I have to write, on top of everything else I’ve written… well, it makes me want to cry like a baby again.

I think it’s just been a tough day. I won’t go into it, but I will say it’s been an emotional day, and I was alone in my apartment for most of it, so those bad feelings just festered. Maybe the chapter 2 critique isn’t really that bad, it’s just the straw that broke the camel’s back (no, I think it’s really that bad).

I also lost my parents’ gas card, so I feel like an irresponsible child. I’ve looked everywhere for it, except in the giant pile of clothes I’ve been too lazy to put up, where I’m hoping it’s hiding in a jeans pocket somewhere. I keep trying to remember the last time I saw it, but I get gas so rarely, it’s not coming to mind. I just hate disappointing my parents and I’ve never in my life lost a credit card, so I guess it’s just a “feeling bad about myself” week.

I just feel like a pathetic little looney-bin sitting at home with my cat, crying into my ex-boyfriend’s beer, and wondering if my advisor is disappointed in me and how mad my parents are going to be when I tell them that I lost that card. Alone and empty. And crying. Pathetic.

I keep trying to blame my erratic, over-emotional responses to things this week on PMS. how trivial, how elementary of me, how non-feminist. “Oh, it must be my uterus making me feel and act like a crazy person.” did you know that that’s actually one of the arguments against Hillary Clinton becoming president? People said stupid shit like that, like “Can’t have a female president. She’ll start a war when she’s PMSing!” God, unbelievable the things people say.

But here I am. A complete emotional wreck. I’m normally very controlled, very contained. If anything, I’ll have a brief emotional outburst and then I’ll feel better, completely back to normal. But I’ve been crying now for over an hour, and I’ve felt really emotional all week. This is not, I can admit with only a little shame, the first time I’ve cried this week. Or the second. Or the third…… or the fourth. For being unemployed and not having a lot to do (after my thesis was in, I refused to touch it until I got comments back from my advisor, so I’ve had a pretty slow few days), it’s been a hell of a stressful, emotional week. Nothing in particular has happened, my brain just keeps going all sorts of directions.

Bringing it all back to my thesis, I feel like I haven’t gotten into a PhD program yet because I’m just not smart enough. My ideas are boring and my thesis is contrived. I get good grades (4.0, bitches!) but I haven’t learned much. I just get by on the least amount of work. I only bust my ass the day before something is due, and I guess my brain works overtime then, but overall, I don’t work very hard. I take on a lot at once, which makes me feel like I’m doing a lot, but really I’m just skirting by in all areas of my life, I just have a lot of areas that I’m involved with. I’m just not good enough to do a PhD, and given how I’m reacting to my thesis, I would never get through a dissertation. Pathetic. I’ll never be a curator because of that, and that’s something I’ll have to deal with when I get to Dallas. I need a plan B to that dream. I’ll never make it there. I’m thinking about getting an MFA, so I can teach art. I don’t know. that’s all I’ve got so far.

Must. stop. crying. Of course I finished all the ice cream yesterday in an emotional-eating frenzy. I think I forgot to eat dinner today. Beer counts, right? Why isn’t alcohol numbing these negative feelings? Jesus, you think a chemical would fix things…

Tomorrow I will wake up feeling better. I’ll wake up with a game plan. I’ll wake up knowing that I can do this. (until the next break down, anyway. I sure am showing cracks around the edges from the wildride this year has been)

 

Kind of unrelated, but may be adding to my heightened emotional state: I saw my first drug deal today, in broad daylight, across the street from my apartment. I just stood there, gaping like an idiot, because my brain was like “wait, what’s going on…” so not only did all four of the drug dealers in the car get a very good look at me and my dog, they drove past me a second time, again all staring out of their windows at me before driving off. of course, my first white-middle-class-never-touched-a-drug-in-her-life brain was like “whoa, that was really weird.” instead of “oh shit, they’re going to shoot me” which is what people on facebook thought, because they clearly think more like criminals than I do. now of course I’m freaked out thinking I’m going to get shot in a drive-by because I saw all of the drug dealers involved (like I could ever pick them out of a lineup… NOPE). Because *that’s* just something else I need on my brain. if I get shot, now you know why. some kind of big, boxy silver sedan (chevy, dodge, cadillac?) with HUGE chrome rims. that’s all I got. let’s just hope they don’t want to shoot me and were really just checking out my ridiculously adorable dog.

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