from here to there

I've never been a disciplined writer. I'm not one of those people who write every day, at certain times. I like to write when I have something to say. I'm the carry pens and write on the backs of bar tabs, receipts and envelopes kind of writer. I suppose a big part of me still believes in inspiration, in the muse. It's a habit, leftover from when I was going to be a famous poet-cum-rockstar. I wrote poems and short stories when they came to me and if something was due I wrote about not writing. I didn't believe in writer's block; it could be drunk away. I cranked out seminar papers in a few days, after scrambling for research and freaking out in the library. I'm not a good grad student. I don't like to read with highlighters and post-it notes. I prefer to write in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper. I don't like to read deeply and intensely unless it's something that already interests me. I have no use for remembering what theorist belongs to what movement nor do I purposefully name drop important figures in my field. I don't do things the way advisers will tell you to; I'm backwards and force myself into corners where I have to work quick and sometimes sloppy. My research will never be meticulous or above reproach. I'm not interested in that kind of work.

Writing the dissertation is forcing me to be neater, more methodical and purposeful. And I'm having a lot of trouble with writing every day. I know it's the only way to finish and get things done, which I desperately want to do. But I'm struggling against my own expectations. I absolutely am in a pressure cooker. I have a specific and narrow time frame in which to work and yet, I resist my own timeline. I resist what is best for me and instead end up googling the wierd feeling in the pit of my stomach and convincing myself I have some strange and foreign disease, which sends my body into overdrive and I have a panic attack.

This is the letter I need to send to myself: Dear Self, Stop being crazy. Love ya! Mean it.

I knew a girl in my undergrad who kept dating and breaking up with guys like every 3 weeks. She'd been to two community colleges and a different local college before transferring to SouthAl. Her friends said she couldn't allow herself to just be okay with the decisions she'd made. They talked about how she sabotaged herself and got in her own way. Eventually, she took a course with a young professor and after getting a B and dumping her last boyfriend she settled down with the professor and is now a news anchor for some small town in Georgia near the college where he teaches. I never understood what seemed like erratic behavior. I couldn't grasp how you could stand in your own way; I mean don't you want yourself to succeed?

And then I entered the Ph.D program and met obstacle after obstacle, many of them self-created. Somehow, though, I worked my way through the maze. What I've worked so long for is within reach and I'm complaining about writing every day. It doesn't make sense to me.

I read a beautiful revolution every day. I noticed this graphic recently: yourdream

I've modified it to show the progression of a Ph.D candidate and where I find myself on the journey.

dream modified

So close.