The gift of time
Friday, May. 03, 2019 - 8:02 pm.

I took my sister and aunt to the airport on Monday morning. For all the things I've said about me not wanting my aunt here, it was OK. I mean, it's not that I'm not fond of her! She can be fun to have around, and she was. Overall, I was just grateful that my sister came to visit, and in the end my aunt was welcome, too. 

It did feel good going back to the routine, though. Although, not quite. I'm building a new routine now, which entails preparing for my viva and, hey, enjoying life. I don't have much to do besides viva preparations (though I could start preparing for our return to South America; but I don't want to yet). Do I feel guilty for having so much free time? Of course. I'm scared that if there's an afterlife, I'll pay for it dearly. Plus, I feel useless to society. Am I enjoying and appreciating all this free time, though? You bet. I'm reading and writing and writing. 

I have until the 20th of this month to enjoy this pace. After that, it's two weeks in the US with my family, which at the moment seems to me slightly dreadful, but I should practice patience and gratitude for this chance to see them. After that trip, it's one week until Andrew's and my viva. And then we have a couple of months left before leaving the UK. Christ. 

The present, though! I started reading my thesis today. I found a few mistakes and typos, which mortified me, but overall I'm happy with it. Except that I can't find any real contribution to the field in what I have done and that's crushing me. I did think I was onto something, but (a) I found no statistically significant results, or (b) someone else beat me to publishing similar ideas which I thought were so original. 

Crushed. My ego is crushed. Not only because I feel I make no meaningful contribution to society from academia, but because for all the time I spend writing and drawing, I'm still unworthy of being published or receiving attention from a significant audience. I try to console myself saying that me being useless and/or unpublished is not a permanent state (it might be, but let's keep trying). And anyway, when I say attention I mean it to be positive, but in this economy, you can get very nasty reactions over the dumbest things, and do I want that? Hell, no. We've already established that I have a massive and fragile ego.  

Regardless, I'm happy. I'm grateful, I feel lucky. I have the days ahead to do my own thing: read my own work before it is tested by a third party that has nothing to do with me. My thesis, yes, but also my stupid manuscript; I'm reading it once again before I send it out to yet another publisher. I'm afraid for the latter text, I sense I'll get rejected again. I'm just afraid that my story does not belong with that publisher, does not belong anywhere. 

Ugh, this thing of belonging. I feel that way. By now I don't belong in my own country (to which compatriots might say that it's because I think I'm better than them, but it's not a question of superlatives). Clearly I don't entirely belong in Chile or the UK, not that I've ever felt unwelcome in any of those places. I don't feel I belong in academia, but also I don't belong outside of it. Let's not even talk about belonging to gay or straight spaces, the former make me feel I'm not queer enough, and the latter make me feel like a traitor. 

You know where I belong? With Andrew. And he just came down from the attic, which means it's dinner time. It's time for us to have dinner and watch something on TV, get under a warm blanket while it rains outside, see the cats walk around like fish swimming in a bowl. This is the life. 

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