Sorry for the extremely long absence here. In the past three weeks I have been
a) moving house;
b) applying for postdoc positions;
c) attempting to finish my PhD; and
d) reevaluating just about every aspect of my life, including my relationship with the internet.
All of which means I simply haven't been online. But I've got a bit of time right now to catch my breath, and feel that an update is in order.
So yeah, Matthias and I moved house. We've moved out of the share house which has been in the hands of people from our department for the past three years, which he lived in from 2009-12 and I lived in from 2010-11, into a small house on our own. You cannot believe how happy we are to finally be living on our own. Housemates can be great, but there's only so many times you can clean their dishes before you start to get resentful. The move was made doubly difficult by the fact that the house has had numerous residents over the past three years, and of them only Matthias, D2, J1 and I were responsible enough to get rid of all our stuff when we moved out. Our friend R kindly drove loads of rubbish to the tip - rubbish that did not belong to us. I've moved house at least once every year since 2007, and I'm over it.
These postdoc applications are massively stressful. Every one wants something slightly different - 2000-word statement vs 1000-word statement, 10,000-word writing sample vs full draft of your PhD, three referees vs two and so on. It's turned me into a somewhat deranged, hair-tearing, anxiety-ridden person, and it's not going to be over for another two months at least. On the plus side, I get to write lots of lists of things and cross them out, which is oddly calming.
This is the final year of my PhD. It needs to be finished by next (northern) summer, not only in case I get one of these postdocs, but also because my funding will run out then. I'm in a position to be finished, but I realise this year is going to be rather stressful, and sleep may not be an option for a lot of the time. On top of the thesis work, I'm going to be doing a lot of the teaching in my department as my supervisor is on leave during the first two terms. I'll also be going back to my part-time library job.
Last year was a rather horrific year. It wasn't quite as bad as 2007, but it was one of those awful periods in your life that makes you sit up and take notice. A year of learning, if you will. And what I learnt while in Germany were some fairly ugly truths about myself. I'm not as strong as I thought, and my physical, mental and 'spiritual' (for want of a better word) health are more connected than I previously imagined. The result of all this soul-searching is that I've resolved to do more to take care of these three aspects of my health. That means much more exercise - daily runs (which I've been doing since moving into the new house), weekly yoga and kickboxing classes (which I'm beginning this evening) and much more time spent walking every day. I also need to find a daily working routine and stick to it. But, much more importantly, I have decided to severely limit my exposure to, and participation in, things that upset me.
After a lot of thought, I realised that I spent pretty much all the time feeling extraordinarily angry about something. That was hardly unexpected, considering the amount of time I devote to online social justice-related stuff. And that's a big part of my life, and I don't plan to give it up entirely. But I am going to avoid particular topics unless I'm feeling completely on top of things. And those topic are:
1. Victim-blaming, apologism and rape culture in general in relation to instances of rape, abuse, stalking and sexual violence
2. Religious fundamentalism in general and Christian Patriarchy in particular
3. Discussions about corporal punishment of children
It's got to the point where these issues upset me so much that I'm incapable of working, which is neither healthy nor productive. I realise that I'm incredibly lucky in being able to simply walk away, and that there are many people for whom these issues are inescapable. I struggled a lot with this decision, because it feels like a betrayal of these people. But I just can't anymore.
Moving beyond this specific resolution, I've also decided to give up Tumblr entirely until my PhD is done. I'll look at individual posts that people link me (hi, thelxiepia
), but I'm not going to be active, I won't be reading my dash and I doubt I'll be reblogging anything. It's not good for my mental health.
In general, I think I'm going to be way less active online. A while ago, John Scalzi referred to three principles of internet-usage that I feel I'd do well to follow. And they are, before I post online, to ask oneself:
1. Does this need to be said?
2. Does this need to be said by me?
3. Does this need to be said now?
It's high time I started asking myself those questions.