Monday, April 25, 2011



When I was in grad school--and in college too--I would sometimes have a terrible time finishing papers. I rarely pulled all-nighters and I usually managed to turn things in on time, but I often worked right up to the deadline. In lieu of a true-all nighter. The day a paper was due, I'd often get up early (6am?) to type it.

When it came time to do my master's thesis in grad school, I had this summer when I'd finished all the research, done all the statistical modeling, read all the literature and yet, I couldn't get myself to put the whole thing together. I talked to my mother about it and she called it "fear of completion." I knew I could finish it, of course, I had all the pieces. I'd even written a class paper on the exact same topic (I cleverly picked the topic early and used my class assignments to do the lit review and analysis, as appropriate).  Yet, there I was, with plenty of free time and no will to assemble the parts.

What is the fear actually of? It's of being found out. If I never finish, then we can talk about my brilliant, untapped potential. When you actually finish, then we can all tell what I fraud I've been all along. At any rate, knowing that helped me get through the anxiety and I did, indeed, finish the work that summer.  I even got it accepted as a conference paper not long after. What I never did was get it published (though I did submit it for publication once). 

Since I'm still recovering from my illness, I spent a lot of time in the house this weekend. The entire course of the illness was spent keeping my hands and mind occupied so that no deep thinking could happen. That made it quite relaxing. I'm stressed out enough with work that the break was for both my body and mind.

Last night, I came quite near finishing a little "summer" sweater I'm knitting. It's a short-sleeved cardigan--a rather impracticable garment. I might have preferred it with sleeves, but I didn't have enough yarn (I'm kind of amazed I squeezed a garment from the yarn at all--it was totally bought on a whim). I am quite close to having the sweater done: I only have to finish one of the front edges and weave in all the ends. I actully re-did the collar three times. I'd decided to use some contrasting yarn. I did the collar and I didn't like the way it fit. I ripped it out. I did the collar again and this time, added some shaping. It was better, but not perfect. I ripped back again, found a better way to do the shaping, and then realized I didn't like the contrast yarn. I ripped it out again. I gambled on having enough of the main color yarn, so I did it a fouth time. This time, it was right. I weighed the remaining yarn and started the edging (where buttons would go) so that I would stop before I used up half the yarn, making sure that I would have enough for the second edge. After I finished the first edge, I stopped. I started weaving in ends--a tedious and hateful job. And I left the rest alone. I'm not sure why I didn't finish. Who cares? Who will judge me?

I also beat myself up for not concentrating enough at work. I decided that today, whenever I have the urge to read blogs/news/etc. rather than doing an actual work related task, I will open this window and write something. And then go back to work.


Kind of failing at NOT reading blogs/news sites. Got an email about a knitting retreat in London this summer. I'd love to go if only the airfares weren't so high at that time of year. Was looking at a map of London near retreat location and I started to get sad. Right. London makes me sad. Maybe I should find a different, state-side knitting retreat. I think I will try and go to Paris instead this summer. Maybe go to England for a weekend to see my friends but not make it about London. Less sad.


Total fail at not reading blogs! At least a lot of what I read these day is "educational" so they add value. Not that entertaining personal journals don't add value, but most of the people I know who wrote those have stopped. Interesting, that. I guess I've mostly stopped too. I wonder how many more times I'll stop and start before ending with the "STOP." Well, I am going to stop and publish for today. Thanks for reading.

Grateful for: time to write.

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully you won't write "Stop" anytime soon. I've been following you for years, maybe 3-4. It will be a sad day when you write that final post.


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