Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Unsolved mysteries

Miraculously, I did not have a debilitating hangover today, just a slight fog behind the eyes that dissipated soon after waking. As it turned out, James’ birthday celebration was an entirely civilized affair, and, since he forgot to invite people until just before eleven PM, quite an exclusive one. In any case, James has successfully reached the age of thirty-four, a feat I hope to replicate in several weeks time.

I have heard nothing from my mother or my brother since Saturday, which is probably just as well, as it allows me to maintain the illusion of distance. I have spent a lifetime learning how to keep my family at bay, a skill I have by no means mastered, but which I have always instinctively understood to be essential to self-preservation. At least, that’s what my therapist tells me. She has had less to say about the raging currents of guilt it causes, but I’m hoping we’ll get to that.

To belabour the point, why is it that every graduate student on earth, or in the humanities at least, eventually winds up in therapy? Is it because the university functions as a homing beacon to the congenitally fucked-up? Alternatively, does academia drive otherwise happy, well-functioning individuals to the brink of despair? Whatever the cause, it seems that we are all writing, or not writing, the same PhD thesis: “Self-Sabotage: Personal Discourses of Extreme Negativity and the Denial of Satisfaction.[1]

Obviously, I am stuck on chapter one: “Procrastination.”

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1. Oblivia. “I feel the heat.” The Public Ineffectual. http://thepublicineffectual.blogspot.com. 05 July 2005: 1.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why therapy? The humanities dissertation leaves you alone with your demons. Most people don't want to be left alone with their demons.

--J

g_pi said...

Yes, that must be it.

English Lit was my major, and I found the english department to be the most dysfunctional of the entire university. All the lecturers seemed to be chronically depressed - and according to a friend who was doing some admin work in the department (while writing her thesis...or attempting to write her thesis) - they were all on some form of antidepressant or another. They seemed, also, to hate one another with a vengeance. The noxious fumes given off by their petty jealousies and intense rivalries were thick enough to choke, I swear. Students seemed an annoying distraction (and there's me thinking - naively - that's what they were there for). A truly bizarre lot. But then again, I don't know the frustrations, disappointments and strains of working in an academic environment. From the outside, of course, it looks like a cushy job. I'm sure this is not the case. Whatever the truth of the matter, I was well and truly cured of any notions I might of had in regards to postgraduate study....

uberfrau said...

Maybe you're right. I was trying to think of something clever to say, but as one of your aforementioned art students driven to the brink of despair while at graduate school, I have no idea what to say.

xanthium said...

I dunno, my humanities masters didn't lead me to the brink of despair, it just left me in a constant state of extreme irritation at the fact that a smart person like myself had been tricked into working for free. But then again, I had an office. Perhaps without that...

Vila H. said...

Yes, exactly.