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This week I have begun to completely lose it—sending insane emails to my supervisor, eating fortnight old rotisserie chicken, and bursting into tears after the last chocolate Wheaten—all because of a suffocating relationship I am in and cannot get out of. That relationship is with my thesis, which refuses to be broken up with. “You’re obliged to stay with me until February next year,” it keeps saying. “You should spend a recommended 30 hours with me each week.” As a strong independent woman the only thing I enjoy devoting 30 hours a week to is the Church of Me, so if my thesis thought it was getting that much attention then we have obviously both entered this relationship under false pretenses. What my thesis thought was: “she’s going to turn me into an academic and artistic contribution to the world.” What I thought was: “I’m halfway through my Master’s I guess I’ll try to finish it.” And now here we are, three months into our relationship and I already want to call it quits.
It was all so promising at the start. It didn’t seem like other academic relationships. No lectures! No group work! No exams! Thesis would be different, it coaxed. You were a girl, now you’re a woman. Procrastination, creative ruts, all the problems I’d faced in the past wouldn’t matter. We would love each other, and with our love we’d work through anything. Little did I know that my thesis would turn into the clingiest thing I have ever known. Through the blackest of magic it has lodged itself deep into my thoughts. Any moment of relaxation is quickly ruined with thesis’ voice. “Just because Tom Hanks is an architect in this movie doesn’t mean you’re doing work,” it nags. “You haven’t spent time with me all week….” But it’s never any fun when we do! When I feel insecure, my thesis does nothing to reassure me. It just sits there, as incomplete and lacking in substance as before—expecting me to give, give, give.
Honestly though, I should have seen this coming. I have commitment issues and even one month assignments seemed too long. I can barely pay attention to anything for more than five minutes, so the fact that I’m struggling in an arranged one-year-minimum relationship is not surprising, although it is miserable. Can you imagine dating someone on the condition that you had to date them for at least a year? Hardly any postgrads are married, yet we’re expected to remain faithful to our theses for so long. How am I meant to be academically available when I’m not even emotionally available? And you can’t even have sex with a thesis! I am banned from the library now, don’t try it!
I hope my thesis and I can work through our rough patch. I’ll admit I could probably sacrifice some time from Australian reality cooking shows and constant day napping, but listen thesis—you’ve got to start giving me something too. And tired eyes and paper cuts don’t count.