Blogroll

When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

Archives

For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

To search this blog, type in the field at the top left of the page and hit enter.

Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's not starting over

It's just a new point of embarkation.

That's where I feel I am, now that Monday is past. That's when I mailed my final deposit of my manuscript to Little U., where, hopefully, it will arrive and undergo review for archiving by the end of the week. Once it receives clearance, I will be DONE. My degree should arrive in the mail in late summer.

We -- D and I -- are thankful to have this nearly behind us. It's been an incredible strain on both of us for four years, first because of the return to a commuter relationship it required and secondly because the thesis portion dragged out and drew resources from me in ways that made our marriage suffer. I can't begin to encapsulate how exactly that worked (or, rather, didn't), but the effect was a stagnation in our growth as a couple. We'd never had the chance to have a "normal" existence together because of the long-distance situation that limited us before we were married and then our work schedules afterward (D worked days and I worked nights and weekends). We did our best, but we were inexperienced. We floundered.

The holding pattern we maintained during this last year was only just bearable, with much of the credit to the help we sought. Now that thesis work is essentially done, we are refocusing on what we need to get to a better place.

D's been angry about the idea of starting over. That's how it all feels to him -- that somehow, everything we'd been through in the last twelve years together "didn't count." I'd argue that it very much does. We learned a lot of survival skills; they just don't apply as much anymore.

So, as we construct a new set, I'm doing my best to foster some optimism for both of us, even though he's not quite there yet. It's exhausting. You want, at times, to scream when you feel someone else scattering the fragile pieces of hope you've propped together like tinder waiting for a spark. But it's not nearly as crazy-making as battling a past-due project, deadlines come and gone, alone. As much as D wanted to, he couldn't help me write, and the responsibility I felt for our misery put me in a constant low-level panic (with intermittent high-level spikes). Now that the precipitating factor for much of that is gone -- and I'm saying no to any new deadlines that involve paying tuition on top of having to meet them -- I feel like the balance in our dynamic has a chance at restoration.

There will, without question, be other events to throw that balance off. But before then, my hope is that we'll have better tools in place to make what comes more manageable. That this will be our hope soon.

5 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

As you head into the "restoration" and new territory, congratulations on getting through these past 4 years. And I am wishing you strength, patience, and the skills of listening and observation to assist you in moving together to a new sort of relationship.

No small task, but also not "crazy making" as you said. No tuition, but intuition. And certainly no deadlines.

TKW said...

I am so glad you are done with your degree, and so sorry that you've got a bumpy relationship to deal with as fallout. But I think "starting over" can sometimes feel really liberating. Clean. I hope he can come around to that way of seeing things. xo

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, BLW. I'm glad to be on the way out of the old territory -- eyes and ears and heart wide open.

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I'm sorry that, instead of flat-out celebration for finishing the thesis, you have some renewal to handle on the home front. But I hope you're both able to maintain the hope. And I hope you find moments to have some fun together. I find that a funny movie can go a long way. It doesn't require talking and "processing," but it still elicits a shared experience laughter.

((((CT))))

C. Troubadour said...

TKW -- I am all about liberation. And clean. This isn't the only part of my life being done with the degree means getting to start over. It's going to be a hard but important transition.

GEW -- thanks for the suggestion and the kind words. We're definitely looking for shared experiences that can give us some of that laughter. My sisters recently introduced me to Arrested Development (yay Netflix), which looks like promising comedy, especially as the TV season hits its summer hiatus.

Posts by date

Posts by label

Air travel Airline food Allergic reactions Astoria Awards Bacteremia Bacterial overgrowth Baggage beefs Bed and breakfast Betrayal Blues Body Boston Breastfeeding British Columbia California Canada Cape Spear Clam-digging Colonoscopy Commuter marriage Cooking CT scans Delays Diagnoses Dietitians Doctor-patient relationships Doctors Eating while traveling Editing Endocrine Endoscopy ER False starts Family dynamics Feedback Food anxiety Food sensitivities Gate agent guff GI Halifax Heart Home-making House hunting Hypoglycemia In-laws Intentional happiness Iowa Journaling Kidney stones Knitting Lab tests Little U. on the Prairie Liver function tests Long Beach Making friends in new places Malabsorption Massachusetts Medical records Medication Mentorship MFA programs Miami Monterey Motivation Moving Narrative New York Newark Newfoundland Nova Scotia Olympic Peninsula Ontario Ophthalmology Oregon Oxalates Pancreatic function tests Parenting Parents Paris Pets Photography Portland Prediabetes Pregnancy Process Professors Publishing Reproductive endocrine Research Revision Rewriting Rheumatology San Francisco Scenes from a graduation series Scenes from around the table series Seattle Sisters Skiing St. John's Striped-up paisley Teaching Technological snafus Texas Thesis Toronto Travel Travel fears Traveling while sick Ultrasound Urology Vancouver Victoria Voice Washington Washington D.C. Weight When words won't stick Whidbey Island Why we write Workshops Writers on writing Writing Writing friends Writing in odd places Writing jobs Yakima

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's not starting over

It's just a new point of embarkation.

That's where I feel I am, now that Monday is past. That's when I mailed my final deposit of my manuscript to Little U., where, hopefully, it will arrive and undergo review for archiving by the end of the week. Once it receives clearance, I will be DONE. My degree should arrive in the mail in late summer.

We -- D and I -- are thankful to have this nearly behind us. It's been an incredible strain on both of us for four years, first because of the return to a commuter relationship it required and secondly because the thesis portion dragged out and drew resources from me in ways that made our marriage suffer. I can't begin to encapsulate how exactly that worked (or, rather, didn't), but the effect was a stagnation in our growth as a couple. We'd never had the chance to have a "normal" existence together because of the long-distance situation that limited us before we were married and then our work schedules afterward (D worked days and I worked nights and weekends). We did our best, but we were inexperienced. We floundered.

The holding pattern we maintained during this last year was only just bearable, with much of the credit to the help we sought. Now that thesis work is essentially done, we are refocusing on what we need to get to a better place.

D's been angry about the idea of starting over. That's how it all feels to him -- that somehow, everything we'd been through in the last twelve years together "didn't count." I'd argue that it very much does. We learned a lot of survival skills; they just don't apply as much anymore.

So, as we construct a new set, I'm doing my best to foster some optimism for both of us, even though he's not quite there yet. It's exhausting. You want, at times, to scream when you feel someone else scattering the fragile pieces of hope you've propped together like tinder waiting for a spark. But it's not nearly as crazy-making as battling a past-due project, deadlines come and gone, alone. As much as D wanted to, he couldn't help me write, and the responsibility I felt for our misery put me in a constant low-level panic (with intermittent high-level spikes). Now that the precipitating factor for much of that is gone -- and I'm saying no to any new deadlines that involve paying tuition on top of having to meet them -- I feel like the balance in our dynamic has a chance at restoration.

There will, without question, be other events to throw that balance off. But before then, my hope is that we'll have better tools in place to make what comes more manageable. That this will be our hope soon.

5 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

As you head into the "restoration" and new territory, congratulations on getting through these past 4 years. And I am wishing you strength, patience, and the skills of listening and observation to assist you in moving together to a new sort of relationship.

No small task, but also not "crazy making" as you said. No tuition, but intuition. And certainly no deadlines.

TKW said...

I am so glad you are done with your degree, and so sorry that you've got a bumpy relationship to deal with as fallout. But I think "starting over" can sometimes feel really liberating. Clean. I hope he can come around to that way of seeing things. xo

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, BLW. I'm glad to be on the way out of the old territory -- eyes and ears and heart wide open.

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I'm sorry that, instead of flat-out celebration for finishing the thesis, you have some renewal to handle on the home front. But I hope you're both able to maintain the hope. And I hope you find moments to have some fun together. I find that a funny movie can go a long way. It doesn't require talking and "processing," but it still elicits a shared experience laughter.

((((CT))))

C. Troubadour said...

TKW -- I am all about liberation. And clean. This isn't the only part of my life being done with the degree means getting to start over. It's going to be a hard but important transition.

GEW -- thanks for the suggestion and the kind words. We're definitely looking for shared experiences that can give us some of that laughter. My sisters recently introduced me to Arrested Development (yay Netflix), which looks like promising comedy, especially as the TV season hits its summer hiatus.