Thursday, April 19, 2012

House Arrest :)

Thesis Central - Complete With Two Computers and a Bottle of Lysine for Protecting My Immune System

I have spent the last two weeks shutting myself off from most of my friends. I haven't gone to any openings, parties, or meetings that I wasn't absolutely required for. I have been keeping my nose to the grindstone and have only allowed myself one outing per day, usually to exercise or run an errand. It's just what I've had to do in order to get my thesis finished and I'm not finished yet. I've had that pit of worry in my stomach for a couple of weeks and the only thing that has helped me to relax has been to work. But tonight I finally reached a point in my writing where I felt like I am going to get this done! I'm excited again and having fun with the process. Thank God!

I think it has something to do with taking some time off yesterday. I had to go to Norman to talk with someone in the graduate college and then to see my thesis advisor. I also got to see a sweet friend for a little bit before I came back up to OKC and he gave me some great advice. He told me to get some rest. So I did...and then I wrote 10 quality pages today. I feel so much better! I guess I needed the break. (Thanks P.)

I'm getting closer to the finish line all the time, and I'm not going to give up. I have this suspicion that graduating is the gateway to the next chapter in my life and while I know that I can do what I have planned without a master's degree, I don't want to. I know that I won't be able to respect myself if I just let all of the hard work, time and money I've spent over the past five and one-half years go to waste. In fact, it's even not an option. I want this! I love art history!

While writing tonight, that old spark jumped back into my heart and replaced the fear and worry. I remembered all of the discoveries and revelations studying art has brought to me over the years. Life makes more sense to me after studying art history because I've been taught to look at every detail and to contemplate the layers and layers of meaning they represent. It has helped me to open my mind to other cultures, beliefs and ideas. In the meantime, it's helped me to open my heart to more and more people. You realize that even after reading and looking for long periods of time, you could probably keep it up for a lifetime and never completely grasp the whole "picture." (Sorry. I know, bad pun. Haha!) But isn't that what we should be doing in order to understand and show compassion to everyone in this world? The more you know, the more you can empathize. The more you can empathize, the more you can love.

It's a really good thing that I listened to my friend last night and that the result of rest was peace, because my computer that I had been working on kept freezing up on me and giving me messages such as, "Corrupt disk," or "Unrecoverable error." That can strike fear into the heart of any writer, especially one with a deadline. Luckily, I had backed everything up to Dropbox (obsessively, as in every 10 minutes while I've been writing). Thank goodness for working during THIS time of technological advance. I have nothing but the hugest amount of respect for people who did this before computers, thesis templates given by OU, and online storage. Whew!

Aaaaand then there's the fact that I had an old computer that I wasn't using. Poor old gal. I had traded her in for a newer model. (Can you tell that I'm projecting what's happened to me with men onto this cold, hard piece of machinery? Haha!) But I didn't get rid of her and boy did she step in and take care of me. In fact, because it's older, the version of Word on it is actually more compatible with the OU thesis template than my new computer. After restarting the new one a few times (taking at least 10 minutes each time), I decided to ditch the high maintenance, sleek model and go back to the trustworthy and generous, although slightly larger, version. Guess what. It's actually been easier to write on this one because my mind somehow feels freer with all of that viewable space. Psychology is a mystery sometimes, isn't it? All I know is that I'm grateful. I installed Dropbox on this computer in five minutes, opened my thesis file and got back to work. Crisis averted. And I did it all by myself, without panicking. Hell yeah!

I keep getting the reminder that you have to balance work with rest. It's good to step away from things for a little bit and let some ideas marinate. It's also a good idea to write when you're fresh, so pushing and pushing doesn't produce quality, just quantity. That's not what I'm after here. I want my thesis committee to think that this is the best thing I've ever written. My thesis is about these precious, little, intimate gifts that people gave each other, so why shouldn't my paper be a gift to them? I want them to know how much I appreciate all that I've learned from them and I want to be true to myself too, so working hard is really a gift to me.

Of course, I have dreams like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, imagining that my writing will bring rapture and delight to all who read it.  Hahahahaha! Truthfully, I'll just be happy if when I finish, I'm proud of what I wrote, my committee is happy and that I'll get to graduate. The next few days are going to be full of hard work, but I'm ready. Bring it, Thesis!

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