Saturday, July 24, 2010
Does MY LIFE have to be so hard?
What is it about me?
I know I suffer BMD but that can't be the ONLY reason my daily existence is such an emotional roller coaster. I seem to care TOO MUCH about everything ALL THE TIME.
Just let's examine my movement on the moo- scales over the past 48 hours. It would look visually, like a heart monitor screen whilst the heart is undergoing shocks from defibrillation! Up, down, massive ups, massive plummets and then dead straight.... before beginning the patterns again.
I was very happy with getting down to the business of writing my Exegesis finally. I have stopped procrastinating and am no longer going back to the safety net of 're-reading articles or book chapters'. I have closed the books and am getting out of my head everything that has stuck in the deep recesses of my brain over the last forty months. The Dr Rowena Wallace method of focused writing seems to be just what I need at this moment.
It seems productive and a step in the right direction; forward for a change. I feel that I have actually worked (intellectually) over this period and despite the obvious structural and stylistic omissions at this stage in the draft it is a reasonably strong base to work on in the coming days.
I have also been jotting journal notes on plot additions and deletions for my artefact and am really looking forward to giving this 100% of my attention in the next few weeks.
BUT.... (here comes the but...)
Everytime I begin to feel under control and even healthy... some voice from somewhere (outside my head) comes along to destabilise me.
My supervisor implied last Thursday that when I sat a seat apart from her on the couch I was trying to avoid her. Wrong!
I'm the bloody one who flew home from my holiday in Sydney just to catch up for a meeting about how stuck I actually was. She was the one too busy to fit me into her busy schedule... after all she needed to leave at a certain hour to ensure she could meet her family/mothering responsibilities. What about mine? Let alone the issue of how much I spent to fly down and return back again to Sydney! My money of course, never University funds.
She also had a go at me for wanting to attend an annual Conference where most of my networking occurs and where I just might have a hope of getting some respect from a future employer. This University Which Shall Not be Named...(my alma mater) will not touch me with a proverbial barge pole now that I have seen the insecurities and hidden agendas at play, keeping it disfunctional (at least at my home Campus).
My future at age 54 hangs on this stuff.
I am not privileged enough to have had a husband and supportive family to ensure that I did not need twenty years out of my academic career and subsistence on Welfare.
These were not bad choices or things I regret... just how the cards fell.
I am only pissed off NOW when people refuse to understand or empathise and put their own emotional and career needs first AT MY EXPENSE.
Hence I am angry and this takes so much energy.
I pay a heavy price for this anger. I turn the emotion inside as I cannot vent (apart from here days later), and I end up crying and self-sabotaging my academic (and health) progress.
Need to regain balance and stability... again.
To take my mind off things, I decide that I need to think of someone other than myself to gain some perspective.
So in a very positive frame of mind I take myself off to important academic "Show Cause" (for continuning to be enrolled in a Course of study) Hearings as the Student Consultative Network representative at a different Campus in a different Discipline... see how protective of myself I can actually be?
This was a great learning experience and opportunity to read character... that of the fellow academic panel members and the students presenting.
Without breaching any confidences or professional ethics let's just say that when faced with cultural pressures unknown to us Aussie-born students: wars, political instability in homelands, extreme poverty, employment victimisation, workplace inflexibility, illness and homeless insecurity... my little issues seem like proverbial mole hills.
It was a humbling experience. And a timely one wit a reminder that I need to re-focus and regroup emotionally.
Next, I have to reach out for some beauty somewhere; this time around the leafy Acland Street and bright shiny wet streets of St Kilda and her wintry sea.
Then, up again to normal scale... move on and write again. Good stuff....
Only to be brought crashing down again by a 'friend'/co-scholar. A return of a missed phone call sees me being asked to 'fix' some computer program issues THAT NEVER SHOULD HAVE ARISEN if this bloody person had listened in the training classes or re-read the notes. Nor would it be my problem if he had run the expert trainer herself PRIOR TO NOW....
...Why would anyone at this stage of a PhD completion have moved the main document several times, onto several machines and hard drives... I can understand having backups ... but changing the machine that holds the ACTUAL document and attached library files... geee how dumb?
The complete lack of understanding of I.T. by MOST academics is staggering. Why do they assume any computer or program can fix EBEKAC? (error between keyboard and chair!)
Jesus... how is this a problem needing MY TIME or energy?
Our scheduled meeting had been about agreeing on a final draft of a journal article (co-written, then re-written by me to meet referees concerns... which academically were quite startling in their response.... a complete lack of research rigour on the part of my co-author stating blatant factual errors)... not a joint let's problem solve YOUR PhD issues session. This self-centeredness is staggering... and INSULTING to me! This from the PhD candidate of the Year!!!
Now this colleague needs to be sure his second journal article flows and doesn't regurgitate this joint paper. (I too have a paper for final submission also).... yet the next scheduled meeting is to FIX COMPUTER PROGRAM ISSUES.... I think not!
And to fix his citation issues when these could be researched on our own library website or in the Australian Government Publication Stytle Guide 2010.... why me? I guess I am easier to blame when things go wrong than to actually do the blooody work oneself. NO WAY JOSE. Been there had that just last September/October with same individual, and hospitalised again in February by same issues with a trusted superior/employer and male PhD scholar...
Patterns repeating. Can I be strong and do/say what I must?
I am feeling used and abused again... Remember friendly fire?
So again what was to be a really productive writing day has dissintegrated over night with me getting angry, then keeping it inside, then lashing out on the keyboard again. So much for actual academic writing progress... I need to vent again.
This 'dear' scholar also inferred that I am responsible for my supervisors extreme stress and anger at 'my' lack of progress!!! How dare he. And if that is actually what she thinks... how dare she? Her stress is not my issue, nor should it be... that's what her job is and why she is paid at that level... deal with it. I am trying to deal with my stress at $11.80 or whatever an hour... and I am managing to inch forward and stay well.
GRRRRR angry again....or rather, still.
Just when my world seems about to totter right down towards hospitalisation yesterday, my 21 year old son decides to watch a bad movie on the TV with me last night. I can't say "No, too busy", as this request doesn't happen often and has actually been years in coming.
I am so glad I put the bloody PhD on hold for this. We have had an amazingly tough last ten years. He has had to deal with so much trauma, stress and crises for someone his age that I am proud of him actually having survived it.
He decided last night to finally reconnect with me, as a parent and trusted friend.
We were able to re-trace all our emotional injuries to each other and share the innermost fears and insecurities (both of us). The years of fights, assaults, deaths, illnesses, drug use, car crashes, legal problems, financial crises, gangs and guns are finally all out in the metaphorical cold hard light of day.
The pain is not gone but it can be dealt with at last.
My son confessed to not a day going by without some 'nightmare' haunting him for a moment or two or preventing him from sleeping. He understandably has emotionally disconnected (superfically) just to get through at present.
Who can blame him? I now understand where he is at... finally.
I would be in the same place myself.. and probably a worse place were I his age. I am so proud of this young man. He has had to grow up so hard and so fast.
For the first time in years I KNOW he will survive and I can begin to relax. I am so overcome with relief that this also needs capturing on paper/screen.
Now I can move on and roll the dice again for myself. This has been a major movement in my stability.
When people read this, perhaps they can see how my PhD may be the most visibly important thing in my life but really there has always been more important domestic issues that have sapped so much energy, emotional strength and will to succeed on my part.
I am proud of where I am now... for the first time in years.
And F.... anybody else's expectations.
I am going to stay well, keep a strong relationship with my son and finish what I have started in my own time... so everyone else can just deal with that.
Sorry guys... my turn.
The tears are flowing now.. but they are tears of release.