Tuesday, May 4, 2021

There it is.

Tonight I gave my presentation in Ethics and Educational Decision Making, a very cool topic in its own right, and one that is at the core of my philosophical inquiry. 
I've spent the last several weeks on this, and the whole of the course knowing that this topic is where I needed to dig to find my dissertation. The readings and conversations each week were excellent and pushed me in just the right directions at just the right time. The syllabus has an elegance that can only be understood by looking back, and I'm glad I took the time to really delve into this for real answers.
The magic happened yesterday evening, that moment when all the side notes of analysis and the structural bits of logic and craft came together to create a fertile tendril of its own. I spent five hours letting the flower unfold, and then this morning I trimmed and shaped until it was a bouquet.
All sorts of stuff is happening in my so-called real life, and lately it's been a struggle to do even small things. Some days thinking is too much. the last couple weeks I'd begun to worry if it would ever come back.
The success of the last 24 hours was restorative, and I was fine until I started making tea ten minutes before the presentation. Not a crisis of confidence in the work, but a deep shaking desire not to be seen. I leaned against the wall, letting the undeniable tears have their way until the kettle boiled. 
I washed my face and changed my blouse while the tea steeped. There were four whole minutes left yet, and I moved slowly through each one, tying my hair up, fetching the pages of the presentation, opening the laptop, stirring sugar into the freshly poured tea.
The structure of class took over, and I barely noticed the shaking in my core -- reading a strong work is settling for me, kind of the opposite of stage fright. I didn't give any preamble about why this is the line of inquiry that spoke to me, I simply looked at the top line and let the words on the page take me, as they always do. When I got to the last line ten minutes later, I was kind of sad to see them go. I muted my mic.

I looked up at the quiet zoom room, wondering if I'd muted them instead, and then the professor spoke. I don't remember his first statements, and didn't really come back to reality until I was reaching for my pen to take a note on his suggestion for long term considerations of the avenue I had recommended. I had forgotten to bring my notebook and pen. When does that ever happen? I fetched the almost dead marker from my desk, the only writing instrument in the room, and scrawled "educational long term strategy" on the back of the presentation.
By the time the next presentation began, I was nearly human again. All of the presentations have been so great, and I feel honored to have had the wisdom of these fellow scholars this term. I felt solid about my work and the presentation. After class I poured the rest of the tea into my mug and talked with a friend, not realizing how keyed up I'd been until the drop came, ten minutes into the conversation, a warm weariness that oozed down through my bones and rooted me to the chair, to the floor, to the ground. I'd be asleep in thirty minutes or less, so I heated up some leftover Golden Noodle Heal All, brushed my teeth, and headed to bed.

I was drifting off when my phone chimed with a text, and I blearily realized that meant it wasn't on the charging stand -- the charging routine goes into do not disturb, possibly my favorite technological feature ever. 
The message from my professor made my whole day.

Onward, friends.