Friday, 03.03.2017 - 9:24 pm.
As it's becoming my habit, I'm updating on a Friday night. Party hard!
This week my life has been enhanced with the addition of two supporting characters, literally:
1. I have a research assistant. My supervisor, Peter, recommended her to help me recruit participants for my cis-study. She's a 2nd year undergrad and is eager to learn about research. The only task I had for her was delivering flyers, but given her enthusiasm, I've shown her how I'm collecting data and she might help me with it; and we'll apply for a summer project in which I will supervise her.
Peter said she wasn't as outgoing as I said I needed an assistant to be, but she's very motivated. She's from Oman so she doesn't also know the city any better than I do, and there's the safety issue since she'll be delivering flyers. We'll see how it goes with the recruitment, I'm crossing my fingers hoping she'll come through. I only had one participant this week. Great, only 97 to go.
2. A recognized trans author and editor wrote me, regarding my trans-study. Someone forwarder her my survey, which she responded, and she offered her help with trans issues, as her area of expertise in literature is close to my study subject in psychology. She's heavent-sent, good Lord. She agreed to look over my discussion once I've analyzed the data, and she's sent me some of her writing, and I've learned a lot from her blog. She shared the link to my study on a few Facebook pages (which got me a couple of much needed participants), and even recommended me someone in my city who's working with trans sci-fi authors.
I'm about to jump on a train to where she lives and buy her lunch or coffee, I just can't thank her enough. I'm so looking forward to working with her. Her first e-mail made my day, I was elated.
Other things that have been happening: the professor with the blog I follow, Tom, asked me how my PhD was going. I'd just entered the classroom, a few minutes before class, and sat down in front of him because it was the chair closest to me (also, I want to be desensitized to his presence). "No. He is not talking to me", was the response in my head, but alas, I'm the only PhD student in his course. In fairness, that's hard to tell because I keep saying stupid things in class. Even my response to how my PhD is going was all mumbly, and worst of all, I'm using a test code he wrote with a colleague.
It dawned on me that he reminded me, for a second, of W., my mentor. In retrospective, I tend to have and enjoy intelectually-driven friendships with older men; it's not a crush thing. That first happened with F, my Literature teacher, in high school...I'm sure I wrote about that in this diary. Again, in retrospective, that may have seem creepy, because sometimes he did take me out of class so we could have coffee. However, (a) I'd ask him to, because I didn't need the English class, I already spoke the language; (b) we'd hang out in public inside the school; (c) he never pulled any weird shit on me. It wasn't even a paternalistic thing, I'd say, we were like equals discussing our philosophies about life. Good old F., I wonder how he's doing. Ok, it was a pretty weird relationship, if I see it from the outside, but he was a friend to me.
Then came M, my Science teacher in high school. We stayed friends for years, I got into The Beatles thanks to him. He stopped replying to my e-mails though, and didn't come to my wedding ceremony in my home country when he said he would; and then didn't reply to a message about getting together before I left a few days later. He always replied. I've thought of insisting but the pattern of non-responses suggests me otherwise.
Then comes my friend Ahmed, whom I met when I was working at the foundation for people with disabilities. He's a man of the world, a mix of cultures, and he sends me postcards from his trips all over the world (mostly from African countries, he lives in one). He encouraged me to travel. We talk regularly, and we do have the migrant status in common now. I hope we can meet again in the near future.
As for W, last I heard from him was in December. He became a father! He said he wasn't going to have children so that came as a huge shock, but good for him! He sounded so happy. Anyway, he's been very influential in my life, as a professor first, then as a friend (he was friends with Brother #3 when both attended university), a mentor and a colleague.
So it could be that I'm looking at him as the next person who will continue pushing me intellectually. I've been in awe that years ago I was amazed by this awesome blog, and then I came to this university and one of its authors was just next door to my office, but he didn't even look at me when we'd pass in the hall, like a proper British. I told my friend Virginia in a letter (we write long letters to each other a few times a year) that I'd get to talk to him somehow because, it seems, I always get what I want. It's a smug thing to say but truly, I end up getting most of the things I've wished for, even small things that were childhood fantasies.
So there, I got to talk to him. If it's a crush, it's a different type of crush, not the one in which you want a physical or romantic relationship (otherwise, I think, I wouldn't come running to Andrew all fluttered to tell him "OMG he asked about my PhD!!!!!!" and stuff). I want to be like him: knowledgeable, critical, prolific. Furthermore, I want him to think I'm smart and interesting. Hell, I'm amazing sometimes. Instead, he must think I'm obsessed with blogs because I've mentioned them a few times (including the e-mail in which I signed up for his class, I told him I enjoy his...and how many times in this entry? Fuck), which is frankly embarrassing. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose?
I have one last opportunity to atone for the stupidity I display before him. I'm leading the discussion of fucking chapter 15 on Monday. I've realized that I'm the embodiment of stereotype threat, scared to death about what other people are thinking about me, and -I just noticed this today- very aware that I'm unlikable. I can tell you for the life of me that I'm not unlikable but it's a feeling I have deeply ingrained for some reason.
Speaking of which, I taught a class last Tuesday. It went well, I think! At least students didn't laugh at me and were well behaved. I don't know if they were staring at me because they were paying attention or they were trying to understand my accent. While I forgot a few examples, the lecture rolled off my tongue better than I expected and I didn't get acid reflux. That's good enough for me.
One last issue: it was Joseph's birthday this week. I got one minute of sadness in which I wished him a Happy Pancake Day. I'm done with him, so done that I'm rewriting a short story for a literary magazine in my country (yay!), and I erased a phrase that put him and our story in the background of a scene. That sounds like nothing but it's huge for me. I'm not writing about him anymore, in my stories, I mean. And now, on his birthday, I celebrate leaving my country to go to Chile (thus meeting Andrew and coming to the UK) and, as of this year, teaching my first class in English.
Whew. I had a lot to say, eh. I'd better stop here.