Blogging when you’re bored can be dangerous. The tendency, at least for me, is to write about whatever comes to mind – very stream of consciousness. And in my mind, reminds me of some works of Russian literature, except I’m no Gogol so no need to worry about any delusions of grandeur (although that would be kind of fitting). I’m hoping this will be one of my last posts of this nature – the kind where I write about personal stuff rather than things that are actually interesting – not for whoever actually reads this but for myself. I certainly intend to do my best to not write another one of these but sometimes you just gotta get stuff off your chest and out in the open.
I am terrible when it comes to talking to people and not letting things bother me. I can talk nonsensically, I can engage in idle chit-chat even though it bores the pants off me and I dwell, a lot. I can spend hours reliving and dissecting an interaction I’ve had with someone to see if I could have done things differently or if I should have, if I did anything wrong, etc..etc.. Basically I try to psychoanalyze myself and my conclusion is that I have no conclusion. It doesn’t work.
The past few months I’ve been in a funk and it’s been frustrating both for myself and the people around me. I am a firm believer that to say something or to write it down makes it real – essentially making something internal, a thought, into something real. So in order to move on, I need to make an account of things and since I am so bad with people, here I am. The first half of my first year in the MA program was great. I felt like I was in a really great groove, good grades, good discussions, etc. Then the second semester started and things didn’t necessarily go downhill but stuff happened that has really undermined my confidence and abilities. Several times over this past school year one of my professors would make remarks and comments about my abilities, or lack thereof, as a student in the program. When I was applying for scholarships for my second year, they came up to me twice to tell me that my application likely wouldn’t go through. When I was preparing for a presentation in this professors class and wanted some feedback/advice on which approach to take, the comment they made was that I need to improve on my writing because it was dismal and embarrassing at the MA level. Whenever I would make a comment in class during group discussions, I was continually shot down with phrases like “you need to look at this a little more critically than what you’re talking about.” My favourite was when a classmate made a vague comment about something that was met with sympathetic understanding at his confusion about the topic, so I waited an hour and then made a very similar comment to his and was told “You have to think about this more critically than you are doing right now. Have you done the reading? If so you would see that…” That happened in various ways on a weekly basis from January to April. In my last meeting with this professor, they told me that my writing was a reflection of my intelligence and that that was not leaving a good impression. A few weeks later, they sent me an email telling me to look into a new course being offered and to get back to them, so I did, they emailed back the next day saying that I probably shouldn’t apply because I may not be up for it. Finally, talking with some of my classmates the other night and listening to the jobs they had over the summer, or scholarships and conference invites they’ve received was almost the last straw. It’s not a jealousy thing that is the reason for my funk, I’m genuinely happy for these people, they deserve it, they worked hard. I just thought I had as well but evidently not. So maybe this professor is right. I’m not capable of doing this, of completing my MA. It’s not that I’m trying to be down on myself by saying this but maybe this should be a realization, the reality that I should be facing. More bluntly, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have what it takes to go further with my studies.
So maybe I was going through some delusions of grandeur after all. I got a little cocky with my ambition.
The inadequacy is compounded by the fact that my brother was in hospital for his appendix a few weeks ago, apparently there were complications with his liver as well because of his drinking but he just checked himself out after getting his appendix out and didn’t tell my parents anything. He did however write a wonderful email telling me that I was the reason he drank so much and wound up sick and that I make no useful contribution to anyone. It’s not that I believe him per se, but it comes in the wake of everything else that happened during the school year because the work I’ve been doing hasn’t been enough.
At first I felt sorry for myself and I’ll be honest, I kind of still do. But now I’m asking myself if doing this, my MA, is what I really want to do or is the universe trying to tell me something about myself. You know when the skeezy guy in a bar hits on you and he doesn’t clue that you’re rejecting him? I think I’m the skeez but of the academic world and I’m not getting the hint.
So. What to do? Rationally I know that the only thing to do is to just keep going. I can do that. But quite frankly, what’s the point? It doesn’t really matter because I’ve not got what it takes to get by. Not that a master’s thesis will change the face of film studies or anything. It’s basically just a giant essay. But I can’t help but continually ask myself “what’s the point?” Shouldn’t I be able to answer that? It’s not even that I’m down on myself as some of my friends have told me that that’s how I’ve been. Especially lately. It’s more like people say that to me because, like I said, I’m a bad communicator and they don’t know everything I haven’t said. It’s not that I want sympathy or anyone to feel sorry for me and I even appreciate the advice that some have given me. But while people know bits and pieces of what’s been happening, I haven’t actually told anyone how it’s made me feel. And that’s what I was getting at earlier when I said that I’m bad at talking to people. I can recount events but I’m very bad at saying how I feel they impact me which in turn impacts how I interact with those around me. I’ve done it so many times, it’s affected friendships and relationships. It’s quite the vicious and irrational cycle.
If I can’t do this, I should try something else. But what else is there to try? It’s not that I don’t have options, I just don’t know what those options are. It’s ironic that the source of my problems at school has to do with my writing, meanwhile the method I’ve chosen to slough off all these thoughts so I can move forward is by writing them out. But at least now they’re out of my head and I’m telling myself that now they’re out I can pick myself up and work towards getting what I want.