Unexpected Feels: Safety, Failure, and Loss

Let’s start with the good news.

First, I have completely unpacked all my belongings and found homes for everything. The dining room is no longer a mountain of boxes and it has a dining table which is doubling up as my desk at the moment. I also found curtains for the living room. Second, with the help of Mum, I’ve finished digging up the weeds in the garden and sown my flower seeds. She also identified all the mystery shrubs. There’s a Weigela, a Ceanothus and a Hydrangea. There’s also a Himalayan Honeysuckle which is in bud. Very exciting!

In the interesting news category, this coming week is my last at the RCN. I am sad to be leaving but also grateful as I had reached the limits of the interesting bits of the job and have spent the last two weeks bored out of my skull with not quite enough to do. I am however going to miss my paycheck, especially as I don’t have anything lined up for when I get back from sailing.

Speaking of which, I’m going sailing on the Stavros in a week’s time! Much Excite! Southampton to Cardiff with a sea shanty group! Hopefully the weather will have the correct amount of wind, in the right direction. The bad news is that we are currently lacking enough Watch Leaders and Deckhands. I hope to Neptune they fill the volunteer crew positions in time else I am going to be VERY busy.

Pink weigela flowers

Flowering Weigela – very pretty!

In between all the things I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been having some interesting emotional outbursts. I’ll just start feeling sad for what seems like no reason and then tears follow. Continue reading

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Settling In to my New Home

This weekend was our first proper weekend in mine and Squishy’s new house! i.e. we were actually at home and not galivanting off to other parts of the country. We’re cohabiting for the first time so this is a major life milestone for us both. We got things done! For example, replacing the overflow pipe for the bath, replacing the shower head and doing all the laundry. Well, all my laundry at any rate.

We arranged the living room furniture so we have a sofa to sit on, a TV to watch and a HiFi to listen to. All our DVDs, computer games and CDs are on the shelves. We haven’t merged CD or book collections because I have OPINIONS on how they should be ordered, as does he. He thinks they MUST be alphabetical whereas I like mine to be ordered thematically and then by artist/author. In the case of books it’s doubly complicated because they must also be pleasing to the eye, and that means accounting for spine height. Srsly, nothing gets me more than having books in the same series by the same author from different print editions. Who thought changing the book dimensions was a good idea?!! The Terry Pratchett (may he find what he hopes for across the desert) books are particularly bad for this, especially once you start mixing hardback and paperback. ANYWAY. Continue reading

Perfectionism as a Bully

I’ve been thinking about the comment I left on Olivia’s blog ‘We Got So Far To Go’, aboout “realistic expectations” and how mine are but a shadow of their former selves. Realistic expectations for me as an undergrad included me pulling 8 hrs of revision a day for 5-6 days a week during the exam period, which usually lasted about a month, and submitting every bit of coursework on time. I’m currently not really capable of that. I used to be able to write a 2000 word essay in two or three days, some of that time including all the necessary reading, but not any more.

Thus, when I worked out my plan for getting my Intro written in time for my deadline in January, it entailed me writing 500 words a day, 5 days a week for 4-5 weeks. It seemed so sensible but in the first week of that plan I wrote… no words. None. I couldn’t face sitting down to write.

The massive irony being I can churn out a 1000+ word essay on my blog in the space of an hour. Continue reading

Jesus fucking H Christ, my supervisor is an idiot!

Just have to put this out here. Where I’d been accusing my supervisor of not getting back to me with comments, he had prepared comments and MANAGED NOT TO SEND THEM.

I THINK THAT IS WORSE THAN SEEMINGLY IGNORING ME.

This would not be the first time he’s convinced himself he sent an email when in fact he hadn’t. A prime example of that would be when I emailed to say I was going off sick with stress for two weeks and he didn’t respond at all.

So, on top of him not sending his comments on my draft for over 6 weeks, when I finally got to read them tonight, one comment really took the biscuit.

Mmm, biscuit.
Sorry. Distracted.

He’d managed to claim that the thing that was my idea was actually his and that he’d told me to do it all along, when in truth, he’d opposed me from the beginning.

It needs a lot of backstory, apologies.

A long time ago, back in my first year of my PhD, Continue reading

Did I mention how thesis writing is really tedious?

Status update: see above.

duckling on lawn next to pink flower

Baby duckling!

Also my partner has moved house to a city five hours away by train to start a new job. This is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting because it is a big step up for him, nerve-wracking for me because five hours is a long way away. It’s a temporary situation in that once I finish my PhD I can move down south to be nearer but when I say temporary it is going to be at least three months, which is quite a while especially when you consider the potential stress writing my Thesis may cause. So yes, happy for him, nervous for me.

All things considered though I am actually doing very well at the moment. Lab work is so nearly done, I can taste the freedom. I have significantly revised, restructured and added to my first Results Chapter and likewise with my Methods Chapter. The story is clear in my head, and hopefully now on paper too. The arguments flow and the step-by-step logic behind my decisions aobut the early phase of the work make sense. That is progress, and is something that four months ago I couldn’t even envisage. Continue reading

“Let It Go” – Frozen

I finally got around to watching Frozen and yep, I think it’s as good as everyone said! “Let It Go” moved me to tears. There’s so much in the lyrics that resonate with me and ugh, all the feelings.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.

I’ve spent all my years feeling this. Inside, I feel like a mess but the external façade has always been of the perfect good girl. My terror is that the mask will slip and those ever-present them will see.

Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on…

And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I’m free!

But this? This freedom from fear and shame? Is where I want to be.

The shadow weight I carry whispers “you’re not good enough“. Without ever specifying what “good enough” even is. Except that it’s never how I am right now. There’s always more I could be, more I should be doing.

Elsa sings “I don’t care what they’re going to say”. If only it were true. I do care, so very much. I fear judgement and rejection and although no-one has ever said anything as harsh to me as the things I say to myself, they might and then what would I do?

Where do I want to be?

In a place where I am enough. Where I am okay, just as I am. Where, fundamentally, who I am inside is all right, is aceptable.

I want to be able to sing this love song to myself and to believe it.

 

Where even the darkest parts of me hold no shame for me any more so that I can rise, courageous, like the break of dawn and say:

That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day.

To-Do Lists, Deadlines and Aggravating Supervisors

As I say in the audio below, I haven’t posted about the PhD in a while. That’s because, until this week, it was going really quite well. I’ve been getting things done and have actually started writing and putting figure together. You have NO IDEA how much of a step forward that is for me.

I have lots of these in my notebook. Bribing your inner primary school teacher's pet FTW.

I have lots of these in my notebook. Bribing your inner primary school teacher’s pet FTW.

In the audio I talk about the things I’ve been doing that have been helping, but it soon gets on to the things I am struggling with at the moment. That mainly boils down my supervisor being an arrogant twatface, made worse by the fact that he thinks he’s helping by (finally!) taking an interest. I mean, that’s a little unfair and some of what I said was a little harsh and slightly exaggerated. But then again, some of it isn’t. I am angry about the way a lot of things have happened in my PhD, and in those of my friends. And yet here I am trying to back-pedal and excuse his behaviour, because I’m sure he meant well and didn’t mean to be an inconsiderate, thoughtless, unobservant, rude and inept manager. Ugh.

The other thing is that I am not highly unlikely to meet my deadline of Friday 7th for handing a draft of my first results chapter*. The mere thought of which makes me feel useless and despondent. This deadline was supposed to give me something to aim for and to keep me motivated, not something to beat myself over the head with. Yet my brain weasels are using it that way regardless. The thought that I might not make the deadline is kicking my perfectionist habit into overdrive, and is making me try to forget all the things I have achieved this month.

It ignores the fact that I have 18 days worth of gold stars in my notebook for stuff I have done. Stuff that was hard, Continue reading