For the 100th time

Has it been a month already? Tomorrow’s the dreaded thesis seminar again and for the first time I’m not sure I’m showing up. I may not be able to handle it.

I still haven’t answered back to my tutor’s email where she straightforwardly asked whether I wanted to graduate or not. Exactly what the hell is wrong with me!?!? Why can’t I just answer the damn email?? Oh, that’s right, because she scares the living hell out of me. Not in person, when I get to see her I’m reminded she’s just a human being, and a kind one as a matter of fact. But when she writes to me… man do I get goose bumps! She grows into this omnipresent figure who will crush me with the flick of a finger on a “return” key. But I have to be honest and admit there’s yet another reason for this irrational fear. After all, what kind of response would it be to say: Yes woman, I want to graduate but no, I haven’t done shit about it. My progress is exactly at the same spot where it was when we talked a month ago.

The text that we’re supposed to comment on tomorrow is awesome. It really is. It was written by a guy who’s doing his post-graduate dissertation. What the f*ck could I say about his chapter? I find it interesting, well-structured, with lots of good sources, well-written…I mean I couldn’t even find a goddamned typo! So how am I supposed to add any kind of constructive criticism to that? To top it all off, the seminar is going to start an hour sooner, at 3 o’clock, because this guy has to leave for a class or something at 5. However, I just can’t make it there on time because I can’t escape prision work any sooner than 3:30, and the sooner I could be there would be around 4:10 if I’m lucky. I haven’t decided what to do, I’ll probably just decide on my way there, as I still have to go the Institute anyways.

The thing is, I know I won’t get off the hook so easily. My tutor isn’t the only teacher in the seminar. The other teacher there is also my boss. He’s an associate editor for one of the journals I’m working for, and I have to meet him after the seminar. So if I miss the seminar and then just casually show up at his office with the stuff he asked for, it’s going to be awkward at the very least, and things around this teacher are awkward enough for me already, I’ve embarrassed myself around him, and I can feel he doesn’t like the work I’m doing with the journal. They used to have a full-time assistant, and I’m only a half-time assistant who works with not one but two journals, so they’re obviously not getting as much work done as they were with the other girl. I don’t have that problem with the other journal, they didn’t have an assistant so they seem happy with my work, but if I’m only keeping one half of the bosses happy, doesn’t feel like my job is safe. 😦 Maybe I’m just been overly anxious about this whole thing as I usually am, but bossy emails written with caps locked don’t help me feel any more relaxed…. And that’s just part of the equation on my stress.

The other part is the final presentations that are fast and steadily heading my way at school. We’re getting the job done, but frankly I just wished they would be over with so I could focus on my thesis and my work on the journals.

Had an appointment with N on Saturday. She said she felt I was mad at her. (How did you figure that one out Sherlock??) I told her everything, even the part where I asked Mr. Shrinky to refer me to someone else. She listened to everything and said she would pay attention to all the stuff that bothers me, tried to assure me we can fix our relationship, and then sent me out (not before unsuccessfully trying to shove down my throat yet another anxiety med). On my way home I stopped by a bookstore, I’ve been looking for a little something that seems to be unavailable in Mexico…but I did get my hands on two books: one I’d been wanting to read for some time and one that caught my eye from the novelties shelf. The first one is Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum, and the second one is Freud’s Sister, by Macedonian author Goce Smilevski.

I haven’t started Red Sorghum, but I intend to this week. As for Freud’s Sister… I devoured it on that same day. The title is catchy on itself, especially for someone undergoing psychoanalysis such as myself, but once I read the premise on the back cover I just couldn’t put it back down on the shelf. It goes like this:

With the Nazis closing in, Sigmund Freud is granted an exit visa and allowed to list the names of people to take with him. He lists his doctor and maids, his dog, and his wife’s sister, but not any of his own sisters. The four Freud sisters are shuttled to the Terezín concentration camp, while their brother lives out his last days in London. (Taken from the author’s website)

The book is one of the best I’ve read in some time, but it wasn’t an easy read, emotionally speaking. First off, as a woman I’ve never been too fond of Freud’s persona (you know, the one that rambles about women being jealous of penises and wishing they hadn’t been castrated by nature), but at the end of the book I truly was convinced he was a complete ass. But that wasn’t even the emotionally challenging part, what really got to me was the protagonist’s psychological abuse suffered at the hands of her mother. With an entire family witnessing it, and at the same time choosing to ignore it. That was really hard to read. At one point when I paused the reading, anxiety made its big entrance and tears just started streaming down my face and wouldn’t stop. I wouldn’t even call it crying because there was no sobbing, no noise at all, just tears I couldn’t control and wouldn’t stop. When I felt the first heart flip and my hands started to shake I ran for the anti-anxiety med that I’d managed to stay away from for almost a week. So much for a relaxing read…

Still, I’m glad I read it because it shows one of the things I crave for the most: female figures on the backstage of history. Sadly there aren’t many sources to dig into on this one, and that’s why this story made it into literature and not history, but a theme like that was bound to get my attention, and when to top it all off you don’t only find a clever title and a good cover but good writing and storytelling, well that just makes a reader’s (this reader’s) day.

Did I mention I got another tattoo done? Well I did, but I decided to keep it quiet and celebrate my 100th post with it. That’s this one people! Can’t almost believe it, I’ve written 100 posts! By myself! And people have read them! I’m very very happy, and I want to thank each one of you who have crawled with me on this path, you mean the world to me.

As for the tatt, this time I chose a phrase: “You gotta be stronger than your story*”. I feel it’s some kind of shield protecting me from a storm to come, with all the changes I can see in the horizon. Also, it reminds me I’m not just what happened to me, neither am I just how I choose to deal with it (whether it is self-harm, EDNOS or therapy), they are of course part of who I am, but they don’t (they shouldn’t, they won’t) define me. I’ve got to be stronger because that’s the only way I’ll ever find out who I really am. I’m not just my story.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

*This one’s kind of big and hard to get a pic on as it is across on of my sides, but as soon as get a pic of the healed result, I’ll share away!

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12 thoughts on “For the 100th time

  1. Congratulations!!! And I love the saying you chose as your new tattoo. It’s such a beautiful one.
    I’m sorry that things are so tough at the moment though. Can you just explain to the associate editor why you couldn’t make it to your seminar (on time)? I must say though that I find it extremely helpful that you’re blogging about this. Makes me feel less alone with my university stuff. And I am sure you will manage all of this. Personally I wouldn’t reply to that one e-mail either, where she asked you if you want to graduate. I’d just hand in the chapters when you’re done with them and I wouldn’t comment on her e-mail… xxx

    • Thanks Grace! Reading about your issues makes me feel less alone too. Don’t want to sound stalky or anything, but I’ve been thinking abobut you, I somehow feel connected to your story. About the e-mail reply, I think I’m going to do just that and see how it goes. The associate editor did come into my cubicle later to get an explanation…I just babbled something about being late and he seemed content with my explanation. Hope you’re doing ok! xo

      P.D. Still no Kane in sight! I’m starting to think there’s a government plot to stop mexicans from reading her lol. I will try to find something on the web (a tip someone gave me that I totally don’t remember) 😉

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