Dissertation Is Over

That’s it. I handed in on Thursday 7th September 2017. The end.

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When It Catches Up With You

I have spent several hours since maybe Saturday being sad. Unfortunately, this links up with the time I’ve been fasting. It is not so much that it is draining as it makes my brain feel tired. Like I have plenty of physical energy, but not the mental capacity to concentrate. It’s forced me to dwell on useless things I can’t control, such as feelings. But such feelings have caught up with me. These feelings are sadness.

I think beneath everything we feel, there is some form of longing. We long to belong, to matter and to be important and valuable. To connect, to disconnect. (Tell someone they matter to you. Or give them chocolate – it gives the same effect.) But this isn’t the reason I’m sad, or it isn’t the whole reason.

Like many people, I crave mutuality. I want to be treated as I treat other people, even down to the way they think about me. Even though that is literally impossible because my thought patterns aren’t exactly healthy. I appreciate it when, after many weeks or months, a friend reaches out to me the way I reached out to them. I feel like it is an important kind of bonding. I needed your help and you needed mine and it made us feel more human.

But it has caught up with me that I need so much actual help, and my friends are solid people who don’t seem to. And so this imbalance has begun to exist. I do not want to be the dependent friend! Who does? And so I stew in my own hot tears or just miserable stagnation until I feel as complete and normal as a new person you meet for the first time: a little bit weird, but promising and lovely.

 

Fear of Boredom

One of my biggest and also stupidest fears is being seen as boring. Being the opposite of fun. And although that is what I am, I hate that it should exclude me from people’s heads. Yet I know it does. It’s interesting – in this town we live in, I feel like I could be the most boring and isolated person of all. Not isolated in the actual sense, but like, who actually considers that I exist? Like, usually I’m too busy thinking about my own life to even for one moment remember that I’m unimportant to most people I’ve ever met. You know? It’s not even a thing to care about. But then, when I feel boring, and when I feel other people find me boring, well…

That’s when it all falls to pieces, doesn’t it.

I feel slightly and slowly and then intensely and thickly that I don’t add, or worse, take away from! people’s sense of enjoyment. It’s a really awful feeling actually. But like most feelings you ignore it and get over it at some point. I haven’t yet. Cool.

What upsets you?

As a person who wants to write and has a predisposition to sadness, I find the non-happy parts of relationships as interesting as the wholesome, bright parts. What gets us sulking and grinds our gears? What makes us angry? Where does hatred spring from? When do we start distrusting people? How long does it last? When do we get over our bad feeling? Things like that. I find it interesting because even in the most serious of situations, the mistrust and entitlement people harbour finds a way to manifest and jar against the issue at hand.

My brain works very hard to come up with metaphors instead of just explaining something in a direct way.

But what upsets us on a daily basis drives us too. That is what is so vital about it. We resist certain ideas and people in such a way that roots us in our lives differently. If we get one whiff of the opposition our hair stands on end, we become strange. And perhaps that strangeness is bias, or unkindness, or a predisposed resistance. Or maybe, if we are lucky and good, it drives us to be extra generous, so we listen closer and think bigger.

I’m thinking about upset like this because there is an election this week and evil people have been doing awful, disgusting things. I have been upset and so what other use can I make of it than to contextualise? I can be outraged, but my greatest power and yours, really, is to be kind. Kinder than ever. You have it in you. Don’t underestimate its magic.

 

‘I want to be her’

I have mentioned once or twice how much it is (or rather, was) my ambition to be Molly Weasley, to be more like her. She knits and people love her and she loves people and threatens them in a nice way that is just as I would like to be. Imagine being that resourceful and cheerful and… extraordinary. But perhaps she is ordinary and many people are exactly like her. But she is one such that exists in fiction, and that makes her different.

This impulse to be someone else, however, is a bit awful. And it is not only directed at fictional people. I am also guilty of wanting to be actual real people I know, and often other women. I want to be their kind of resourceful, I want to have their kind of energy and kindness and warmth. I want to have their way of speaking (not in terms of voice, but language). I want to be them because they seem so much better than I am. I don’t feel like I express or have impulses that are all good. I know other people also may not, but I live with the voice in my head and it is never all conciliatory or generous.

I am inadvertently being a bit ungrateful. I have my own qualities, sure. I can use those. I have not exhausted them. But I want to be more. I want to attain, basically, the undiluted and untainted versions of qualities in the people I admire. I want to be them to erase my own imperfections. (How much easier is it to accept the faults and flaws of other people than your own?) Is that all bad?

But, of course, there is no shortcut to goodness. Not when you are me. Or even as yourself. I can feel this all-consuming desire to be someone else, but it is hardly for myself. In some strange way, it is a very convoluted attempt to be better loved, I think. By myself. Because I’m really not the best person.

Reality Check

It is the afternoon before my birthday and I am feeling quite nauseous. This is the real year that everything changes, when everyone moves on to bigger things in a bigger way. At least that’s what it feels like. The other shifts have felt smaller, probably because I was standing still. This time, I am also packing my metaphorical bags and making my own way. I don’t know what to expect of myself.

Recently, it seems like I’ve become a whole lot lazier. It’s probably one of the worst things one can become. It’s a downward spiral (I mean spiral because it gets wider at the bottom unlike a helix that retains its diameter.) to misery and disappointment. I have already reached disappointment. But, I have no wish to dwell on that. I only have to re-energise myself and plan better things.

My birthday though.

I never look forward to having to update my age in my own head. I don’t enjoy admitting I’ve accomplished very little, so the prospect of new page really should entice me. I have the same old dreams though: I want to write in a diary every night, I want to write a novel, I want to help people. That can all start tomorrow.

Maybe it really will.

Using your voice

People don’t use it enough, but they really should. Why else do we have a voice except to use it? It’s a blessing to have a voice. If we can use it to make people smile, or stop people from doing bad things, to aid good things, to compliment, to teach, we should at every opportunity. We should use it, this phenomena that is speech, to say and explain things. Shouldn’t we? To speak out. To voice ideas, to offer comfort.

Some people are chided for ‘liking the sound of their own voice’ but is that such a bad thing? Shouldn’t we use our voices to its best capabilities? Shouldn’t we truly appreciate our capacity for thought and speech? Instead of being constipated with ideas and inner monologues/dialogues, we should express them fully and not be afraid to share.

When a moment comes where you don’t know what to do, and you’re worried and scared, or sad, or ecstatic, just use your words. Do tell someone if they are being rude. Do tell them that you think something is unfair. Use your voice to express your appreciation of someone’s ability to make you laugh. Ideas are valuable, but we can only get to them if they are expressed in some way. So, express. Voice.

Feeling Inadequate

I think we all feel inadequate at some point in our lives. But we probably shouldn’t. We are surprisingly capable of many things.

The thing is, much as we don’t like to admit it, we have high standards for other people’s work, and that must necessarily feed into our own.

However, work is one thing, general feelings of inadequacy another.

When one is “generally” feeling inadequate, it’s sometimes the result of comparison. ‘Oh, this person is so much more amazing than I am.’ And maybe they are. But it hardly ever makes you a more amazing person than before by being hyperaware of your own seeming inadequacies. As much as One Direction thought that not knowing you’re beautiful makes you beautiful, what really does/completely undermines the nonsense/etc. is being busy. And the same goes for any moment when you feel inadequate…

Though, when I say you, I mean me.

Feeling inadequate is one of those horrible feelings that cycles through me every so often. It might even be one that never leaves. It hums about my …inner dialogue. Knowing you can be better in some ways, knowing you can’t be better in some ways, and knowing there is room for improvement can make you think that you are being inadequate because you haven’t reached that goal.

But is it? Why is it impossible? How do you get to the point of acceptance?

I know for me, rather than actually dealing with the issue, I become busy enough to forget it was ever a problem. That is until something comes along and disrupts that illusion.

Of course what I should be doing right now is reading The Well of Loneliness, hence why blogging will inevitably make me feel inadequate.

Living Through

At these odd moments of history, I feel like I am living through something I cannot comprehend. It is not often we can ever comprehend the whole world anyway, but it feels like I am minute in this story. I am waiting for this moment to pass, so I can look back with understanding.

Recently, I have found out I am not getting PhD funding. That might be well and good really. I have wanted for years to write a novel, but I have never taken it very seriously. Well, not since I was perhaps 13. Even then, though, I was looking for shortcuts, shortcuts everywhere.

What I’ve found odd over the past years I’ve tried to write, is how people go about it. Writing prompts for example. It seems odd to go searching for ideas in that way. But I guess, writers are always about to write. They just need something they feel compelled to write. I am having that problem now.

I think once you’ve read enough books, you think ‘I can’t possibly write anything as good.’ But, if you read even more books than that, you think ‘Writing isn’t that hard.’ Some terrible things get published. I hope mine becomes one of those.

Encouragement and False Success

Today I had a meeting with my personal tutor who was very supportive of the idea of me writing a novel (or writing creatively). I did not expect this for some peculiar reason, and I did not expect to feel quite so suddenly submerged into a pro-writing atmosphere in the course of a few days. (Maybe it was destiny?)

The thing is, the idea of writing is enough for me to start feeling successful. I think: yes, I can write. That’s not so hard. I could write a novel in a year, for sure.

But in the end, it’s a false success. Encouragement sounds like praise. Praise sounds like I’ve already accomplished something, but I have only so far accomplished having an ambition. That is quite meaningless.

Of course, the question is when should I start writing? Will I? When? Is it silly? I should not put all these meanings on to it right now. I should wait until I’ve actually written something. This blog doesn’t count.