Problematizing My Problematizing and Other Tales

Today’s title brought to you by the fact that this Helen Oyeyemi article that I was supposed to submit to a bucket list academic publication two weeks ago is still being revised. Because I reread some of the core texts and my research/thoughts have so far evolved since I submitted my PhD dissertation.

I *was* going to turn that dissertation into two monographs, *was* going to take a sabbatical this year so this could happen. Alas, life dealt me with more than one curve ball. My sabbatical was “postponed” unless I could jump into a time machine to prove I had 5 ISI/SCOPUS publications. So far to date I have 1 ERA/EBSCO etc indexed publication, 3 scopus publications and that’s not enough. I *may* have 4 Scopus publications, I’m not sure.

So I sadly declined to jump into a time machine, and decided not to go on sabbatical. Maybe I’ll try again in ten year’s time, if I’m still alive.

Anyway, with my current health scare, I had to streamline a lot of my impossible projections and expectations for myself this year. So it would have been a wasted sabbatical. Life truly works in mysterious ways. Still, it’s been a very bitter pill for me to swallow. Because I promised myself my 42nd year of life had to be extraordinary — since I was destined to spend the rest of my life alone. I don’t want to grow up an old, embittered spinster with nothing to live for.

I was going to go to Venice, or Helsinki, or New York, or Paris. I *was* going to go to Helsinki and Queensland this year.

What happened? Health scare which led to a six month course of antibiotics, plus steroid inhalers which fucked me up to the extent that I now have palpitations and irregular heart rhythms. So far September has been a month of going to two hospitals more than once, multiple tests and we’re still not getting to the bottom of why my heart won’t behave itself. Oh, and all of my hard work losing weight? Down the drain. Within the course of six months I put on 8kg and now don’t even have my usual physical mobility so I can swim off the kgs. I’ve had to learn what my body can do and what it can’t do so I can remain moderately fit. I still have a good resting heart rate of between 60-71bpm (it goes down to 58bpm when I sleep), but I have also lost my ability to swim breaststrokes like a swimming pool monster. Now I’m more a timid and frail old lady doing timid laps. Well, I was. I’ve decided to stop swimming until they figure out what is wrong with me. So I just walk laps in corridors now. Faithfully, dedicatedly. Every day.

Every night, a sense of terror that I won’t wake up if I fall asleep. Every night, my heart feels strange, like it’s not mine. Like I’m not in this body that is not mine.

I must have faith, I tell myself. It might be nothing. I’ve stopped the steroid inhalers. The antibiotics end in October. My lungs are clear, kidneys slightly battered from years of diabetes but still okay and functional, liver’s on the borderline but still okay, and at least one hospital has declared my thyroid function is okay.

That’s all well and good but mystery heart is still being mysterious and I could write a story about how my heart is really a garuda wanting to take wing and bring me up to a magical empire or kingdom where I can be a badass superhero, but the truth is every night I am whispering into my pillow, please be okay, please be okay, please be normal. Please let me wake up tomorrow, I have too many stories to write, too many articles to finish, too much inside me I want to share. Please don’t let it end here.

Tell me, when you contain all of these emotions and thoughts, how can one ever have ordinary conversation?

So I suppose this is a letter, in lieu of a conversation.

I am okay because I am determined to be okay.

I am not okay because I do not know the future and that’s terrifying.

All I know is what I have had in lieu of an extraordinary year:

I’ve written some extraordinary things that I am rather proud of. I cleared myself of accumulated debt which means that for the first time since I returned from Australia, I’m feeling comfortable — but still not flush enough to be able to move out of my apartment. Sigh.

In lieu of finding a better place to live in, I’ve stayed in some pretty awesome hotels that I really enjoyed. Some, like the E&O and Lone Pine, I’ve been “pining” after since I was a kid growing up in Penang. It was magical despite the health fears. No regrets. I needed those time outs. Oh, I also flew business for the first time in my life. It was a local trip and I booked two months in advance so it did not wind up costing too much.

Not quite Paris but it may be better because I’ll always love Penang more than I love any other place on the planet.

Oh, and I finished Watermyth. Finally! I queried Watermyth! Finally! But now I’m still improving it because I’m problematizing my problematizing of certain tropes through the novel. And new perspectives keep happening. But, it’s done. (If only I was able to stop tweaking! Argh!). I’m hoping to send more queries this weekend.

..and I supposed one may say all of those publications were rather extraordinary. But I barely filled a thimble. My entire publishing output since 2007 is less than some people publish in a year. Oh well. At least I do have people who seem to like what I write. That’s awfully nice.

And now, I need to get back to that blasted Helen Oyeyemi article where I am still problematizing my problematizing of her texts. It’s got to be good because goddamn it I’ll conquer bucket list publication somehow. *shakes belligerent fists at the world*

This wasn’t exactly what I was planning on writing but *shrug* …hasn’t exactly been a planned year. But I’m resilient and not willing to give up without a fight. So heart, if you’re a garuda, you’d better fight along with me. We’ve got some more awesomeness we need to achieve. Goddamnit we’re owed some awesomeness.