Why I never take Chlor-Trimeton

Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with Chlor-Trimeton.

TW: Abuse, false accusations

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I never liked the happy Christmas songs

It snowed on the end of town I work in Thursday night, so when I got over there Friday morning, the roads were wet and there was a very thin layer of snow still on the grass and parking lot. It’s now warmed up into the 50s-60s, so my tiny fleeting glimpse of winter didn’t last. But for a brief moment Friday morning, it looked and felt like winter.

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Spoons are oddly meaningful in my world lately.

I’m a spoonie, which means I have a chronic illness. This term comes from Spoon Theory, which is the idea that people with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses have to measure their lives carefully so as not to overtax themselves. It’s a sort of energy conservation. I know I have a very finite amount of energy, and so I think very carefully about how I choose to spend it. And sometimes, you just run out of spoons.

But spoons have other meanings, too.

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The Master…undermined.

It turns out that I’m still a PhD candidate. After a long talk with my advisor, I decided to stay with it, as they addressed some of the concerns I had, and…quite frankly, made me realize that I’m not half bad at this. My advisor was fairly candid with my about my performance, and it was all quite positive.

I’m still feeling highly motivated to write, so I figure having limited time to focus on my own writing may make me more productive. In the past few weeks it has, since I’ve had to divide my time up so carefully. I’ve managed to stay on top of assignments and punch out more than 5,000 words, so that’s something.

Meanwhile in PhD-land, I’ve been reading a lot about something called Arts-Based Research after having taken a class on it, and I’m intrigued. It’s an interesting marriage of arts and research that can potentially make knowledge more widely accessible. I’ve always faulted academia for being too insulated, so it’s a relief to be in a program that doesn’t see itself as developing the next generation of Keepers of the Ivory Tower.

Having a job environment that isn’t saturated in elitism and hatred masked as sarcasm is helping immensely as well. Once again, it reiterates to me that who you surround yourself with matters; if you spend 40 hours a week with people who are tiresomely full of themselves and always ready with a biting, negative quip, it’s going to pull you down. And what really chafes is that humans have the uncanny ability to normalize to really shitty situations, so often we find ourselves plugging along and tolerating it.

So here we are – new job, new outlook, same program, maybe a bit more invigoration? Ask me again at the end of the academic year.


Now what?

It’s fall, so that means I’m firmly ensconced in classwork again, this time in two theory courses. Theory is an interesting thing; it’s such a wide-open world, and it’s exciting to plummet into the depths of it, but it doesn’t always translate well to practice. The goal of the program I’m in is to help translate theory into practice – something that’s sometimes easier said than done. That got me to musing a bit about my academic career…

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