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DAY 3: digging out…

March 5, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

The continuous raging blizzards of Midwestern America are indeed an apt metaphor for my life these past few days. It’s more and more and more emails and calendar events and reports all the time and this morning I was a bit of a frazzled mess about it. Tonight after a highly productive day in the closet office, a successful piano lesson, and liberal amounts of both siracha aioli and Beligan beer, I’m feeling way more like I have at least a tiny grasp things and my pace of life has slowed from Mach 3 to 1987 VCR fast forward. Today the spinning plates haven’t shattered and even more my own soul is firmly intact…..which feels very very good

So…on the academic frontier, Assignment 3 has been sent off to my faithful proofreader and should be out of my hands by early next week at the latest. It will be interesting to see how it goes. It feels a bit like it’s going to be a total win or a total bust depending on how a conceptual framework is actually supposed to be put together. I think tracing my hand and hand lettering and using fingerprints to describe variables in the totally computer mediated virtual studio space is subversive and genius…am I delusional and going back to what I am comfortable with as a way to find a shred of certainty in the swirling vortex that feels a bit like every unknown in this class? Quite possibly. But…I do think it’s worth the risk as this isn’t life and least not yet!

Assignment 2 presentation is the “main event” of tomorrow and if my musings during meditation this morning are any indication I’ve got some sweet ideas for slides….and presentation content and talking, of course. Me + L are going to turn the cohort into the arts-based researched for 20 minutes and I’m fairly sure it will be genius to not just lecture the idea but live it as well. Hopefully…Again…risk. worth. taking.

I think the best thing about this class (and perhaps even this degree) is that it’s still all so new to me that I feel like I almost can’t mess up in it. Don’t get me wrong, I can fail and I can totally miss the mark and I can do all that sort of negative stuff for my hallowed GPA but, because I can’t even really put my finger on what “perfect” is because I don’t even know how to name it, I don’t feel pressure like I did in my MFA program. With my MFA and graphic design at a higher ed level, I had such a clear vision of what I wanted to do and who I wanted (and thought needed) to be. Every class was such a fight and was about me not letting the pressure or the doubt overcome me. Though I loved my time working on my MFA, I can honestly say the consistent recurring feelings were inadequacy, doubt, and straight up heart-pounding terror. I was the underdog with didn’t have an graphic design undergrad degree and I was the one who always had to work so much harder and I was the one who would always email instructors, always call, always show up at office hours with the somewhat desperate look of someone who is inches from jumping off the ledge. I wanted it so bad and I wanted to prove that I had what it took to be a designer…to fit in and be validated.

But here I don’t have that “idealized Lisa” that I’m trying with all my might to reach and embody. It’s interesting because I do indeed want this degree too and I want to succeed but it doesn’t quite feel like the fist-clenching desperate grab of my MFA. I don’t need this degree to complete me, I don’t need this degree to validate me, if anything deep down I might almost be more scared of the voice that this degree is going to give me. What I am doing and the magnitude of it all kind of gives me a panic all its own.

I’m comfortable being the fighter and the independent and the loner. What I’m not so comfortable with is the knowledge that I do indeed have agency to make some larger changes to the little academic world in which I inhabit. What I’m not so comfortable with is the crystal clear knowledge that my life matters way more than to the small world I can see with my eyes and touch with my hands. It’s exciting and I think more than anything it’s humbling because I know my whole story up to this point….which is anything but the story of a golden academic. I think perhaps that is why I want to keep it light for as long as possible…that is why I want to keep myself taking risks and getting a little off kilter and not taking myself so seriously so I don’t get into my own head about the future and the weight of it that I feel sometimes.  There is indeed therapy in laughing and in the ironic and in the subtle subversive…even in the academic sphere.


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