One day to breathe
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 - 5:59 pm.

It's been an exhausting week and a half. I didn't even have the time nor the energy to come and check in here over the weekend, as is my regular want and need. I was awarded my PhD and I immediately started working on a grant application, pulling a research project out of thin air in a rush, trying to meet the deadline, which was this afternoon.

Let's start by the end: I met the deadline! Beautifully. I submitted my research proposal last night.

Now, there's a catch: I'm submitting this to my university, and they have a week to approve it. Then they send it to the government agency that provides the funding. However, my university has this procedure of "opening the application" again after it closes, for those who didn't finish their proposal on time. Hence, I have an additional week to work on it before submitting it. My boss has read it and she seemed quite pleased, but I still need to figure out some analysis and write a proper (not C&P) abstract. I didn't have enough time to write one.

See, I had less than two weeks to put it together, when I got my degree and became eligible, while this call for proposal has been open for months. With good reason, it's A LOT of work. It was crazy, I was running in circles because it's hard to plan for a 3-year budget, and citation ranking politics make my head explode. But I'm not a n00b in this field, and I had the reliable guidance of my boss, so my crisis came and went in waves.

Moreover, in spite of myself, it seems like I had a good time! I mean, I went to bed exhausted every night, abhorring all the hoops you have to jump through in academia, but usually I was beaming. I was worried I may not meet the deadline, but I felt accomplished nonetheless. It's just a grant application for now, which may get rejected, but my mind was working at full speed. There's such a long way to go in this country in terms of LGBT issues that I could actually make a difference with my work.

I also need to come out to my boss. I feel it's safe to do it with her, and she's cool enough to sponsor and appreciate my project examining LGB (no T this time) students' living conditions. Then I was reading her feedback on my proposal and found a comment, more personal than academic, that was textbook biphobic. She wasn't talking about me, clearly, but it felt like a punch in the stomach. That encouraged me even more to come out to her, though, and explain her a few things. Wish me luck.

Oh, and it was Bisexual Visibility Day yesterday <3

After all my hard work, I gave myself today off. Throughout this week and a half, I only left the house three times to go see friends, as this was actually a holiday week due to Independence Day. Other friends came to visit us, too. It annoyed me, everyday there was a social commitment, which kept reminding me that these were Andrew's friends and not mine, though of course they care for me as much as they do for him. Yet, I never said no, because otherwise I'd have no life. It was to take some distance for a few hours and enjoy myself. It was enjoyable indeed.

Today, free from the stupid grant application for the day, Andrew and I went for breakfast with a couple of his friends, H & MJ, from his undergrad years. I've hung out with them only a bunch of times, but we have a lot of common. For starters, H went to get his PhD in Sheffield years ago, and that somewhat inspired Andrew to go there. H and MJ, his wife, had a daughter while in the UK, and then returned to Chile, and now they work at the university in the Southernmost capital city of the country, very much at the world's end, which is a dream of mine.

They're in town visiting friends and family, so we met for breakfast. It was great to be with someone who's gone through the same thing as us, who knows what it's like to live and study in Sheffield and then having to leave. You try to keep your heart from breaking, you try to adjust to your old home, you try to not annoy others by keeping quiet about your time there.

Breakfast was great, and they brought their second daughter, who's only 4 months old. So tiny and sweet, she just lived her life to the fullest while we talked. The greatest thing is that H and MJ into the social psychology field, and H was interested in my work, as he teaches the subject in his university down south. We talked about gender and sexual orientation and THIS IS WHERE I COULD HAVE COME OUT TO THEM BUT DIDN'T.

It's hard, man, coming out. I think it would have been an awesome thing to do, because they're awesome people and conversation just led us to that, but I let it slide. I regret it now. Anyway, H wanted Andrew and me to come down some day and talk about our research with his students, because his Psych Department is quite small (five academics!) and his students are eager to learn beyond that. Plus, it'd be cool to address LGBT issues.

I probably mentioned this years ago, but I used to have a crush on H. He's just...good-looking. He's changed a bit over time, but don't we all. Today over breakfast, for a while it was he and I speaking about sexual prejudice, and about one of his students who wanted to do research on this sort of discrimination, and I thought, yeah, I like this guy. And now I have grounds for liking him other than his face.

The important thing here, though, is that he and MJ have invited us to visit them at world's end, and seemed keen to bring us to their university. I mean, they always have been, but they don't have a say in their Psych Department about bringing new people in. A collaboration and some talks might be a way to warm the hearts of the people in charge at that Department.

Change of topic: The huge-ass publishing house rejected my manuscript. I sort of expected it, so I wasn't devastated. Plus, my former editor, who was the one who put in a word for me, got them to write me feedback. They said some nice things about the story, and pointed out at the flaws.

I don't think those flaws should have been enough to reject me completely, but then again, it's not my publishing house. Regardless, I *can* see those flaws getting in the way of the story, which I didn't before. The feedback was extremely helpful, and something that editors never provide when they reject you, so I'm grateful nonetheless. I can't wait for my brain to stop feeling like mashed potatoes after this week-and-a-half of grant application writing, so I can start fixing the story. Again. I have another publishing house in sight.

See, this is me right now: I'm wagging my tail like a happy puppy, excited over the things that may come. Never mind that my spirit melted with the rush of the research proposal, or that the world may end and a story I've written that is so dear to me will never see the light because it keeps being Not Good Enough.

I feel exhausted. I think I should feel angry and frustrated about me never going anywhere. I do feel like that a little bit, but I want these things so badly -to do research, to tell a story-, that I just carry on. Happily.

I surprise myself sometimes.

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