Marching On From Setbacks

Marching On From Setbacks

Wow, sorry for abruptly disappearing from the blog for nearly three weeks. I was doing a lot better on the ‘regularly posting’ thing, and then… well, life happened.

Firstly, I got the flu, which was miserable. Also, my immune system is completely useless, so it lasted way too long — I spent several days unable to get out of bed, but still had a horrible chesty cough a week and a half later. The fatigue it caused was also pretty overwhelming; my body’s just been useless at functioning ever since. So that wasn’t fun.

Then, when I was hardly recovered from the flu, I was in the ballet club’s production of Swan Lake. Now, admittedly, I wasn’t in much of Swan Lake — I’d estimate I was on stage for less than five minutes per show, because I was only in one class dance, due to not being able to get to any of the other rehearsal times. However, it was still a big time commitment, especially on the days of the performances. We had a matinee and an evening show on Saturday, and so I spent ten hours at the theatre.

And ten hours hanging around backstage, trying to get stuff done while sitting hunched over my tablet in a very non-ergonomic chair… yeah, the pain kicked in on Monday, and it was bad. I could hardly move, I had so much neck and back pain.

Then I had to have two vaccinations (because, as mentioned, my immune system is totally useless — yay, auto-immune diseases), which not only made both my arms hurt like hell, but I think was also responsible for the big joint pain flare-up I had yesterday where, again, I couldn’t get out of bed. I ended up eating dinner at 11pm because it was only after painkillers and a long bath that I could actually stand long enough to cook.

All of this has not led to a very productive couple of weeks. I’ve also not been in a great place emotionally, which wasn’t helped by one of my supervisors being really unnecessarily harsh in a report he wrote and making me feel like a total failure.

Talking of failure: I got rejected without interview for the job I applied for back in January, which was a little dispiriting, as I’d thought I was a strong enough candidate on paper to get to the interview stage at least. Then, of course, I started despairing of all the other job applications I was filling in, because maybe it was pointless and none of them would be interested in me! Fortunately, before I could give up completely, I got invited to interview at one of the others, one that I’m particularly keen on, so I’ll be heading to Oxford in a week’s time for my first ever job interview (eek). And that gave me the confidence to fill in two more, with a third one halfway done.

I also got rejected by two agents, following the queries I sent out, but I’m okay with that. It’s definitely better to have had a reply, even if it was negative, than to be waiting without response, and every rejection reminds me that I tried. Of course, if I get rejected by all of them, I won’t feel the same way, but at the moment it feels like progress.

Anyway, it’s been a weird few weeks. Currently, I’m still trying to get back on my feet after the double whammy of flu and then a week of bad pain days, and I have my first feis (Irish dance competition) in seven years this weekend — which I’m both excited and distinctly nervous about. I don’t feel like I’ve had the chance to practise as much as I needed to, because I’ve been ill so much, and it would have been nice to have actually, like, had a class in the last two months…

Plus, I’ve hardly been reading; I accidentally failed to schedule any reviews for this week so my book blog’s had its first dodgy week in a while (and I was doing so well), and I feel generally book-deprived.

However, I did start a medievalist Discord server to better facilitate niche, nerdy chat between medievalists from all over the world, because sometimes it’s nice to get perspectives from people studying at different universities and under different systems or with contrasting focuses. Only ever talking to other Cambridge people means our knowledge and methodology gets really homogenous, but it’s hard to find people to talk about Old Irish with who aren’t from my department. The server’s been great fun so far, though, and I’ve got high hopes for it. (If you’re a medievalist and would like to join, send me a message and I’ll invite you!)

This was one of the moments when I looked at my life choices and was like, “Yep, this server was a great idea.”

Anyway. I don’t feel like it’s been a total write-off: like I said, I got one job interview, sent off two other applications, got replies from two agents (even if they were rejections), and started a fun medieval server. Plus at the last practice I managed to do, my dances for this feis were looking pretty good. I don’t expect I’ll win, nor am I really aiming to — I’d just like to not come last. We’ll see on Sunday how that works out.

But there’ve definitely been some setbacks, and it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. So here’s hoping the rest of March is better…

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