a week of days: Monday in five movements

May 13, 2013

In response to a Blog Roll challenge to write a ‘day in the life of’, every day for a week. The others can be found here.

1. the walk

I step out the library into the dark. It’s six-thirty and the air smells like night, and cold, and woodsmoke. It’s delicious and I love walking at night, so I clatter through the carpark and shrubbery and out onto the street where the air smells like fresh-baked bread. The next half-hour takes me through exhaust fumes, new-mown grass, gravel, petrol, the blind flash of headlamps, the smell of long-overboiled cabbage and, strangely, that smell that happens when you open a packet of jam biscuits. Blackberry or raspberry, oddly sweet, turning slowly into paint fumes as I cross a road. I cross many roads home. Huge trucks and buses rattle near enough to deafen and sometimes, walking home, picking my away across bridge while headlights slam past, I think of stepping out in front of them. A fleeting, reflexive thought, not an intention. Old mental habits die hard.

I pass the quiet twitching of an electric fence, remember this poem. I pass a dying streetlamp. It empties out and I stop to watch, hopeful. A second later it begins to glow dimly orange and then it blinks on, sudden as that. Bright as that. I head home, breathing in the dark and too many faint, fleeting smells to name, thinking about what I’m going to write for this blogpost, thinking about the things I learned today. Thinking about people. Unlock the front door, step into a house that smells like onions and tomatoes cooking, push open my bedroom door. My room smells warm and stale. I drop my bag on the shelf and head into the kitchen.


2. the library

I’ve had two classes and I’m tired and hungry and the incipient panic in my gut won’t leave. I have work I need to do, essays that are due and overdue, but I can’t concentrate like this. I clatter back out of the library and into the dining room with food, leftover stew from Friday night. Heat it up while the boys come in and out of the kitchen; one makes soup, another toasts garlic bread. We talk bowties. Someone I’ve not met turns up at the counter and shows us the just-expired Cheezles he’s dumpster-dived; we all sit at a table and eat, me and five guys. One picks Cheezles out of the bag with chopsticks.

Stability of the body acquired, I clean out my bowl and swing back into the library where I sit in front of a computer and remember the vague, amorphous, loomingly dire mass of things I still need to do. And I can’t concentrate. Can’t write. S’always my emotions that get in the way; I’m still learning how to handle them. The next half-hour is spent writing kind things at myself to try and encourage myself into working, and trying to drown myself in the wave of sheer audible beauty that is Abendlied.


It doesn’t work.

And then, while I’m hugging myself and trying not to cry, trying to figure out how to get my brain into a state where I can get things done, I stumble back over my Introspective Insight Of The Week.


And I remember university. I remember PM and Kirsten reassuring me with words and hugs and cups of tea that I could get things done, that they knew I could do whatever it was I was doing, that I could do it and that it’d be awesome. And because I’ve been turning this over in my head for a while, things slowly click into place.

One of my base states of knowledge is that in some ways I will always be afraid. It is the way it is. Fear is, in some ways, the ever-fixed mark by which I define all my other emotions, but fear is also too unspecific for how I’m feeling here. In this instance, it is not that I am afraid, because I am always afraid: it is that I have lost courage. I am discouraged and overwhelmed and I don’t think I can continue. And I realise one of the reasons I got through university was because I had people who loved and encouraged me, who gave me reasons to keep going and cheered me on and reminded me that I could do whatever it was I thought I couldn’t do at the time. The problem is, of course, that all these people are halfway down the country.

But as I sit here hugging myself for comfort, because there’s no-one here to hug me, I think about PM and Kirsten being encouraging and decide that what I need right now is something like that. And so I abandon Abendlied, the essay and my computer, scramble upstairs into the study area, plonk my chin on the partition between two cubicles and ask two new friends to tell me that I’m really really awesome and totally amazing and that I can totally do what I need to do and this essay doesn’t stand a chance. They, being wonderful people, grin at me and oblige. They oblige really, really well. They’re incredibly encouraging and remarkably genuine for all that I just asked them to do it.

It works. I scramble back downstairs and get some writing done until the library closes.


3. the lectures

This is the whiteboard after my Spirit & Trinity class.

Spirit & Trinity.

It’s my favourite class in the universe. The lecturer is amazing. We talk about Spirit Christology and Myk scribbles crazily and it’s the least boring, most exciting, most fascinating thing ever. Every Monday, I sit in Myk’s class and decide I need to stay at Carey longer because he offers a Christology paper and a Humanity and Hope paper next year and at this point, I am very much a Habets disciple. If I can follow him around from class to class I will be content. It is that good.

Today, I drink a lot of tea between and during classes. I eat samosas. I talk with a classmate about theology and art and changing culture during the break. I have Prophets in the afternoon; we look at the post-exilic period and apocalyptic literature. I think about Modernist poetry and its reusal of metaphors. In the next break, I sit with my lecturer and a few other students in the sunshine and she tells me stories about what happens in between the Old and New Testament. Greeks, Ptolemys, Maccabees, Pharisees. I am happy. I drink more tea.

I do like my lectures.

4. late night

I realise that a lot of my self-care mechanisms are to do with comfort or reassurance. I cry a little and dream about something. Whatever it is, I don’t remember it ten hours afterwards.

5. early hours

I realise that the essay I’m working on, the overdue one, the one about the doctrine of the Trinity, the one that is two thousand words over the limit, the one that happens to be the most difficult essay I’ve ever had to do in my academic career- isn’t actually four thousand words long. I’ve got the footnotes box checked in the wordcount software.

You cannot imagine my relief. I stop freaking out, put some of my sentences back in and tell Facebook that I’m an idiot.

One Response to “a week of days: Monday in five movements”

  1. Polly Says:

    Wow! That seems like two days in one day! I’m glad you have new friends up there that can be honest with you xx

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