Something has changed within me…

No, it’s not about my transgender daughter Mara. It’s about me. Every time I write about Mara I get lovely likes – thanks readers! But this is actually about my PhD studies and the thing I did last night. Drum-roll please. I wrote some of my discussion chapter on the couch after dinner. Tah dah!!! What, you squawk, surely you’ve been doing that all along? No, quoth I. Remember last year when I was teaching – one-to-one – from 8.30am until 8.30pm at night on average? That left no time for writing on the couch; usually I spent the week in a fug of exhaustion. 

Well, my teaching is about to ramp up again, but so are my PhD studies. And I NEED to submit this year. If I don’t I think I’ll probably give up entirely because I’m done with it. So last night, after writing to my supervisor about timelines, a summary of events and The Plan, I began working on my discussion chapter. On the couch. I never do this. I’m usually sucking down a Pinot with all the fervor of the recently converted alcoholic. But last night there was no grog involved. There was no dragging myself kicking and screaming to the office. IT JUST HAPPENED. One minute I’m watching The Block – read my other blog about my Queenslander house and you will see why I’m a sucker for this show – chewing on some not-very-good Thai take out (sayonara Mali Thai, you’ve lost your loyal clients with the crap you sold us last night), when all of a sudden I’m there, laptop on my lap, trying to finish the final theme of my discussion chapter.

I don’t know what came over me. Perhaps it was that The Plan showed I was only 2 incomplete chapters from a complete first draft and that if I do them then yippee only another 4 months of hell to get through. Perhaps it was that Mara needs me and I need not to be doing this thing anymore in order to take care of her. Perhaps it’s because with the origami of life adding another crease to the puzzle, I need to stop folding the old puzzle and start making a new design? (Bad metaphor, bad Jessie)

I think if I can get this chapter done this week (when I say done, I mean first draft which as patter explains is just the DOWN draft, not the UP draft and certainly not the EDIT draft), I can then say I need 4 months to get it to submission state. But also it’s because my supervisor (who has been away on study leave for about 15 months) is back. And I will need lots of input and encouragement to get me to the final hurdle. Not from her, by the way. And maybe that’s the nub. I’ve been quietly pottering away on this thing – nerneenerneenerneener – not subject to scrutiny but allowing myself to think long and deep about my meta themes. And BAM! I’m back in critiqu-ey land. It’s not the critique I mind, it’s the WAY I’m being critiqued. Expect tears on toast (from me). Possibly tantrums. Certainly anxiety, stress and general melancholy.

Of course, doing my PhD could actually be me hiding from completing my tax return. They pretty much sit par on the “things I hate doing” scale. Only slightly exceeded by balancing the budget and talking to my mean neighbour. SIGH.


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