Nope. About 3 weeks. Time has no meaning in Trump’s America. It feels like Trump has been the president forever, but we’ve only barely gotten through the first month.
Anyway, I had a feeling this would happen, that life would get busy and I would forget to write. Except I didn’t really forget to write. I thought about writing something dozens of times, but it seemed like a lot of work. I thought about summarizing all the crazy shit that has been happening in life under Trump, but there was just too much of it. Where would I begin? How could I put into words the insanity of that press conference? Or that he held a campaign rally a month into his administration? Or how absurd it is that he spends every weekend at Mar-a-Lago?
And I also considered writing about all the chaos associated with being on the job market. The constant anxiety that I will not find a job and they (read: my adviser) won’t let me leave graduate school. The anger that comes with my adviser imply that even if I get a post-doc, I should consider staying for another year because, you know, moving is a hassle. The bittersweet news of a friend getting a post-doc, while you’re still stuck. But all that felt like too much to write about. I barely had time to cover it all in weekly therapy sessions; I didn’t want to write it all down.
Ironically, this is the same way I feel about my dissertation. There is so much to write about that I can’t write about anything. I don’t know where to start, and so I don’t start at all. I have regression tables for days, but I can’t bring myself to interpret and write up the results. And then when I get drafts back from my advisers there are so many edits – some made much more kindly than others – that I just want the whole thing to disappear.
So this is where I am. I continue to tread water with my dissertation. Every day is an exercise in staying awake long enough to make sure that Trump hasn’t declared martial law, but really just wanting to sleep away the rest of the semester. Maybe I will write more soon. I keep telling myself I will. It’s just so damn exhausting.
The beauty of getting a dual degree is that I have two advisors. Twice the advising, twice the fun. Except what two advisors really means is that each advisor gets to skirt their responsibilities (because the other one is doing it, right?) while remaining just as critical. Twice the criticism, half the helpful feedback.
A recent exchange with one advisor:
I haven’t posted in
10 13 days because I literally cannot even. Trump is president. My dissertation is stalled and my graduation will be pushed back from May to August. Trump is president. I don’t have any job prospects. Trump is president. My advisors are driving me nuts. And have I mentioned that Trump is president?
I didn’t think Trump taking office would affect me so much – we’ve all been putting up with his bullshit for months, years now. But now every insane thing he says, every stupid thing he tweets, every lie that his staff insists is truth has matters so much more now. His recklessness could really fuck some shit up and frankly, it’s making me very anxious. I feel like I’m always waiting for the next news alert.
So let’s just recap some of the crazy that has happened in the last week:
Being a grad student comes with a constant sense of guilt. There is always more work to be done, always something more you could be reading, always something you could be writing.
I am well acquainted with crushing guilt, having grown up Catholic. I can’t exactly pinpoint why Catholic guilt is so crushing. It’s just this constant sense that I’m doing something wrong. For me personally, my Catholic guilt was much stronger when I was a child. I think that’s due in part to Catholic parents strategically using Catholic guilt to get their children to behave. It’s like having Santa Claus watching, except instead of being deprived of presents at Christmas you’re doomed to an eternity in a fiery hell.
I think Jack Donaghy sums it up best: Continue reading
First off, let’s not even talk about how long I spent playing around with that very simple graphic. There were many iterations in what is ultimately a very simple graphic. Should I use bright colors to signify how outrageous life has become? That’s not really my style though, so how about some muted colors… What kind of banner do I want? Do I want it curved or straight? What about the text? Serif? Sans serif? I get way too into this stuff. Maybe I will blog in only graphics from now on. Though isn’t that… tumblr? (I don’t really understand tumblr.)
Okay, but back to business. There have been way too many things this week that I can’t even. Every day I wake up and think, things can’t get any more absurd, right? And then I read the news or open up Twitter…
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I don’t want to write my dissertation. More like finish my dissertation. It’s well on its way, or at least that’s what I keep saying in cover letters and on job interviews.
So I thought I would start this blog to chronicle my journeys in finishing the dissertation. I’ll learn to love writing again, I told myself. And then I’ll want to write about control variables and the results of logistic regressions! Turns out that is not true. It also turns out that racing thoughts does not translate into lots of blog posts.
For anyone keeping tracks, that’s:
Pr(blogging) != Pr(dissertating)
racing thoughts != blogging
My preferred coping mechanism/procrastination technique for the dissertation stress is sleeping and watching re-runs of The Office. Both of which I find soothing and non-taxing on my brain. Both of which contribute nothing to the subfield.
This, however, is an improvement from my previous coping mechanisms, which included exercising until I thought I was going to die, and binge eating massive amounts of chocolate, peanut butter, and just generally anything I thought tasted good at that moment. So… progress?
I have a bad habit of reading the comments section. In my mind I see comments section and think, “Oh, an intelligent discussion about an article I just read. I love intelligent discussions!” If you’ve never gone into a comments section, let me tell you one thing it is not: an intelligent discussion. It is quite the opposite.
But I know I’m not the only one to plunge into the dark abyss of a comments section. There are plenty of people – troll or not – who frequent them. Trolls, after all, cease to exist if there is no exasperation to feed on.
Do you know what happens when a country becomes so enamored with ad hominem attacks and logical fallacies? They elect Donald Trump – a walking, talking, Tweeting comments section.
So I present to you This Week in “I can’t even.” A collection of the most absurd things I have seen from Trump in the past week.