thesis pain versus wedding planning pain

In my first year of writing my thesis, one of the original members of my thesis committe (Alison Pearlman, who wrote Unpacking the Art of the 1980s) made this casual comment: Maybe you should just forget the old draft and start fresh… you have all the information in your head, right?

At the time, sitting in my favorite garden cafe in Pasedena, I could not even begin to fathom holding all the research I had excavated, all the tiny thoughts I had expanded – in my head at once. Now, many, many drafts later, every sentence I read is nauseatingly familiar; I can’t see what I am trying to say or tell whether I have said it already.

But I am getting close, very close. Close to where I could pound out the final draft with a couple of all-nighters. But the closer I get, the more it chafes to reread and the more difficult it becomes to focus.

And the wedding planning has also become painful – so much so that now I procrastinate wedding planning by working on my thesis. I have come to realize that the fusion of two families may be almost as excruciating as the fission of a family. Could I really be saying that marriage (or approaching marriage) is as agonizing as divorce? Well, if tears are any measure, wedding planning is gaining by the hanky-ful.

My mood is so foul I should really just stay in my bedroom until it passes. Instead, I’ll brew another cup of black tea, work on the thesis an hour and then post. And repeat.

I probably should not be watching war movies filled with soldiers clutching hand grenades to their chests (Letters from Iwo Jima and Silmido), or reading a book about a man slowly going crazy in his midlife (A Spot of Bother by Mark Hadden) and alternating it with a book about an odorless murderer (Perfume by Thomas Suskind). But I can’t help myself. I want to wallow.

Nothing is wrong with my life. This is just me in a black mood. It’s funny; people think I reveal so much when I post, but really, it seems like there is so much more that I choose not to disclose. Hell, it’s all painful – relationships, mothering, friendships, decisions, and especially change

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