Thursday, December 11, 2008


News flash: I am burned out.
Last night I was up until 3am typing all of my Korean notes into my computer. Up until about 1:30am, I was eating cheese, apples, seaweed, and chocolate. Tomorrow early morning I trek to a subway to a train to the boonies to visit another papermill.

Today I learned a grammatical phrase that expresses regret, both present and past. I feel like I am drowning in regret. I also feel like my research has turned into a big blob, a huge soft thing that has no definition and no beginning and no end and I have no idea where I fit into it. When I try to lean against it I get sleepy and it gives me no satisfaction.

I remember being halfway thru grad school and telling Melissa that I wanted to drop out. I think I'm there now, that halfway hump (AKA siesta time or the Wednesday hump). Nothing stimulates me, everything exhausts me, and I feel like I'm standing in space constantly looking forward and back and unhappy with here. I am tired of feeling fat and ugly and stupid and inadequate in ways I couldn't even fathom before I got here. I am tired of fighting that feeling. I am tired of giving into that feeling.

I've always been one to scoff at holidays and vacations, and looked forward to them b/c I'd want everyone else to leave town or empty the studios or just scram so that I could be the only one working, alone, b/c I don't need a vacation! And then everyone would clear out and I'd sometimes get work done but mostly realize that it's no fun to be the only one working during the holiday. Seeing time off as time to work is a twisted perversion of workaholics. That would be me.

I've spent the last few days watching clips of medical dramas and doing everything in my power to not deal with other people in ways that were overly strenuous. But every day, a new "assignment" arrives, a new thing to do, a new person to meet, a new email to compose painstakingly in Korean. It's great, this life, but it's also killer. No wonder I daydream so much about being on the farm in Nebraska. No, I used to do that. Now, I'm in a big haze. I just want to unplug from everything. But how do I do that if I haven't even been able to work at the vat for 6 months? It seems so wrong. And right NOW is when papermaking season is in full swing. Right now, when I am in hardcore hibernation mode. The thought of relocating to the boonies and living in a seedy motel so that I can hang out in freezing cold water during the winter doesn't appeal to my current state of eating everything in sight constantly and wanting to burrow.

I'd like to take a hot bath and then turn into a boob in front of the tube with really good dark chocolate. The problem? No bathtub, nothing I can veg out to (TV in a foreign language is more stressful than mind numbing), no dark chocolate. So I'm going to settle for a hot shower, transcribing more notes, and milk chocolate with hazelnuts.

Oh, man. Now I remember what Joan told me years ago when I complained about feeling totally blank: these are the dark days. And they call them that for a reason. So this feeling is normal.


  1. And always remember: when you're in the middle of it, you hit this very point where you can't see it anymore, and you seriously question your choices. I find this true for anything big that you really want: grad school, Fulbright research, installations, editions, relationships...
    and that's a rhetorical "you" but seems very true for "you" right now as well. And "me" as well, but that's another story.

  2. Be careful what you wish for, eh?!

    Hang in there. I imagine you'll be glad you did!

  3. Burned out?! Duh!!

    Girlfriend! You need take a prescription chill pill and time for yourself!

    It's OK to take some vacay.


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