It’s not you, it’s me.
Wait, that isn’t quite right. Or maybe it is. I’m not ready to give up on us yet, but I know I’ve not been around as much as I could have been. Be patient with me? I need you, I’m just a bit pants at talking to you right now. Everything is a bit tangled up. I’ve been putting this chat off for a while because I wasn’t sure what to say, and then it just got harder….
ahem. There is only so far I can stretch that analogy. I’ve been absent for a while. I meant to write about our trip to Scotland, because it was amazing, but I wanted to wait for M to upload pictures so I could share them with you all. That was a bit of an excuse though. I’m going through a tough patch, and that always clams me up. I’ve not been doing my paper diary either and as I’ve said before this is a classic warning sign. It’s taken this weekend, a massage, a long useful chat with my parents and a lot of quiet thinking to realise what is up. It’s several things, none of them individually horrendous or nasty, that have added up to a me all tied up in knots, too tired to write and too fed up of my inner thoughts to do well with introspection, so I’ve been doing distraction. Epic distraction. Having a TV in the new house is a good thing (in that I have a distraction when I need one), and a bad thing (confronting the thing you want distracting from is sometimes healthy).
So what is it? Too many things unfinished at work. We’re at that 1 year + point where there is a lot of stuff outstanding, and due to the schedule we have to keep gathering data (and momentum) while trying to keep everything we already had up in the air as well. It feels like I’m a juggler and people keep passing me more flaming torches and knives, but not letting me throw any away. Hopefully this is going to ease up a bit soon- a paper that I’ve been working on for what feels like forever is in its death-throes, and I’m only on one more month-long fieldwork this year. I think I can get my reporting up-to-date before then, but it is tiring feeling like nothing is ever finished. I remember hitting this point on the PhD. That time, I got excellent support from a student counsellor. This time, I’m hoping I can use the skills I learned to help myself. But I wish it was a bit like a virus; that once you’d fought these feelings off you gained some sort of immunity. Turns out it is more like the common cold.
My PhD papers. No excuses. I know why writing them is bone shakingly terrifying, but it has to be done. I’m now letting other people down by not doing it, and I hate that. Not a good feeling at all. I’ve been waiting to send off the paper I mentioned above before I send them, as the editor asked for them in that order, but it’s no excuse not to have them written and ready to go into the review process.
I’m not good at being on my own. I am someone that does best when I have other people around to let me know I am doing OK, and this gets more important when I feel like they aren’t. But, if I am determined to make a career doing this, then I have to live with being alone a lot. It is the nature of the beast. It would just be nice if practice made me better at it, like riding a bike or playing an instrument.
I’m also at a plateau with the fitness thing. I hit my goal of running for 30 minutes non-stop a while a go, and I know that it made a difference to my ability when we were out hiking, but the other things I was hoping for aren’t happening. My weight and shape aren’t changing at all. My wonderful mum tells me I am gorgeous as I am, but I’m not happy, and I dread to think about what would happen if I stopped running, if all of this effort is just keeping me where I am. I’m not sure what to do about this one and if anyone has any suggestions I’d really appreciate it.
Add it all up, and it feels like I am running to stand still. It’s tiring, and I just want someone else to do it all for a while, to be able to turn off all of the mental braces and loops and barriers and just not care for a bit. But I’m a grown-up, and much as I might want to be rescued, it’s not going to do any good in the long term. And I don’t want my friends and loved ones to be there to ‘rescue me’. I want them to cheer me on while I rescue my own arse.
I want to write about so many things but I still have this ‘I don’t know enough’ barrier that inhibits me. I feel like I can never know enough to express opinions about this stuff (archaeology, politics, feminism). Add to that that it feels very scary to express opinions about external things, things that other people might care about. It’s less scary to write about this internal (some might say very personal, or even too personal) stuff. If people react badly to it, it sees to matter less- I know the inside of my own head, and I’m really just using this to talk out loud to myself. Expressing an opinion about something like archaeology, or politics leaves me a lot more open to worrying about having upset people, or that someone will feel attacked or upset, or that someone I know and care about will show an ugly side of themselves (this has happened when I’ve posted feminist-stuff on facebook). Or worse, when writing about archaeology, I’ll say something that alienates a potential employer or collaborator, or puts someone’s nose out of joint so badly I land in trouble at work. How do you guys deal with that? It’s not like this blog has any hope of being anonymous, and I don’t think I would want to write it if it was.
So, Scotland? It was amazing. I might write about it. Soon. I will say that had worried that my child’s eyes had remembered it as bigger that it really is. That knowing more about the world would have diminished it somehow.
It is as literally awesome as my ten year-old self recalls.
The flowers I planted shortly after I moved in bloomed today. That felt pretty good.
I have a driving lesson tomorrow (yes, I have a license; this is to keep in practice and to do some supervised motorway driving), and I’m trying not to be nervous.