Monday, May 28, 2012

The feeling I never want to feel again

That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you don't hear from them.  You worry, you're scared.  You don't want anything bad to have happened to them.  Then you get angry and frustrated.  It's not the first time this has happened.  It's gotten to be almost routine to not hear from them.  You should almost expect it.  You sit there and try to go about your day completely preoccupied, going back and forth between being worried about them and being angry with them.  Then finally, after you've been awake several hours, you hear from them.  First, a pathetic excuse of a text saying they just woke up and completely crashed from being exhausted.  Then, they say they're sorry (if they even do that) and say they have errands to run or tons of schoolwork to delve into.  They text sporadically throughout the day, disappearing and not responding for hours at a time.  You get to deal with their excuses and lies, trying to figure what to believe, what to ignore, and what to call them out on.  You usually believe most everything because they ALWAYS have great explanations, ignore very little, and call them out on even less.  Calling them out on the most egregious lies just leads to a fight with you being the one to apologize.  Why would you want to deal with it?  Ignoring it works just fine...

If you get a phone call that day, you feel like a princess.  The most important girl in the world.  They actually called you.  If there's no call, then there are at least some texts at night, with maybe, if you're lucky, a goodnight text.

Thrown in there is always placating "I'm sorry" and "I love you" texts to smooth everything over and to make you feel like everything is ok.  To not worry. To not be angry. To not give up...

I don't have to ever feel that feeling again.  I moved on and realize that I needed to be treated better.  Now, I don't have to wonder if he's lying to me, or hiding things from me.  I know he loves me.  He doesn't text that often because he's usually with me.  We talk on the phone even when he's not with me.  He loves me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Academic Epiphany, Part Two: End of the Semester and Thesis Changes...Again

One year down on my Masters degree.  The grades are all in and I survived what was a pretty difficult semester.  Issues with professors, issues with content, and issues with procrastination made for an unpredictable outcome grade-wise.  I pulled it all together and came out unscathed.  I can say with no shame that I am happy with my B in ANTH 602 and hope to never have to take another archaeological method and theory class again.

If anyone out there has been keeping score while reading my blog, you will know I've been having trouble with my thesis topic.  I thought for sure that I had gotten it all straightened out.  I was going to study the effects of the Texas drought on the hunting industry.  Yes, kinks were still being hammered out, but research topics are always in a sort of fluctuation, being melded and molded every which way until its absolutely perfect.  I thought that was the stage I was in.  After the end of the semester calmed down, I emailed my adviser essentially asking what my next step should be.  I wasn't sure if he wanted to meet with me to work out a summer game plan or if an email would suffice.  In the email, I *may* have alluded to being stressed out about the whole researching and writing a thesis thing, so he knew I was having reservations about my topic but understood that I wanted to be working on something.  I really hate sitting around doing nothing.  I have a whole stack of recreation/non-school related/fun books to read this summer to keep me occupied.  In addition to reading and working at the law firm again this summer (which I am always eternally grateful that they let me come back year after year), I wanted to make some headway in my thesis, which I couldn't do until something was finalized.  

Fast forward to today at 3 pm.  We have finalization!  I have a real thesis topic!  Hallelujah! 

Ok, yes, the topic is different, BUT, in my defense, it is a topic I've (somewhat) worked on before in a class in the fall: ANTH 604 with my advisor, to be more specific.  I'm no longer looking at the Texas drought and hunting.  I'm not looking at the US at all even.  In addition to completely changing locales and topics, my research style is changing.  No field research...which is comforting and scary at the same time.  I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do field research, but I think that doing archival and literature review research will ultimately be what is best for me.  

The new topic feels better to me.  My research is still a comparative study, but now, it is focused on two different areas affected by earthquakes and tsunamis (Indonesia/Thailand [which one is still being worked out] and Japan).  I'm focusing on disaster modeling and how the two areas/countries were affected and reacted differently after the disasters struck.  A huge curve ball to all of this is the pesky nuclear reactor problem that Japan has, but it'll add an interesting perspective to how it was affected differently.  

Even after changing my topic (again), I'm still scared.  Laying this all out in this post has me nervous (again).  What if I lose focus again and start to over-think and over-analyze my entire research project?  I think it really comes down to me worrying that I'll fail and not be able to complete this.  I don't want to let anyone down, especially myself.  I've never really embarked on anything of this magnitude and it scares the crap out of me.  Luckily, I've already found some articles to start reading.  I downloaded a 500 page book, chapter by chapter, so 1) I wouldn't have to buy it and 2) so it could write/highlight/underline on it.  

I need to stop second-guessing myself.  I need to just jump in and start reading the preliminary lit that I've found and that my advisor recommended.  I have to start somewhere.