Is anybody out there? Probably.
It’s 9 AM on a Wednesday, and I’ve decided to start a blog. I’ve thought long and hard about this for a whole weekend (imagine… a whole weekend!), and I’ve decided to take the plunge. I’m not new to blogging…. this will be my third attempt at starting up and finding my voice. All previous attempts have languished, but I don’t want that to happen again.
So, here’s what I can tell you about me:
My name is Sheena. I recently graduated from a PhD program, where I researched, wrote and successfully defended a 280 page volume about the cultural importance of remixing. I am extremely proud of this work, too. Now, I’m underemployed. I teach spin classes for a small honourarium and, because I have wonderful friends, I also work part time as a researcher while I search for full time work. I want to work in academia because I love teaching, researching and writing (even though the latter often leaves me feeling frustrated and incompetent), but I’m becoming discouraged. It’s hard times out there for academics, you know! Many graduates and fewer jobs. Well, who am I kidding, it’s hard for everyone trying to gain a foothold in this job market. The only thing to do is keep trying.
I live with a man with whom I am deeply in love. He understands me like no one ever has, sometimes to an infuriating degree. I also live with a 7.5 year old cat named Manolo. She’s nuts, as all cats are, and it’s taken her a really long time to trust me even though we’ve been together since she was a kitten. I can tell she loves me, though, when I see her relaxing on whatever was just in my hands… a book, my laptop, a sweater I’ve been knitting for a few weeks…
Which brings me to what I want to use this blog for. As you may have noticed, I’ve called it “Self Preservation,” a name that seems particularly fitting for what I hope it will do (keep me sane) as well as what I enjoy doing and, hopefully, writing about on a regular basis. I learned to knit in November 2012, as a way of keeping my mind and hands occupied in the long weeks leading up to my dissertation defense. Amazingly, this was a great strategy for quelling my anxiety about just about everything. I relaxed. I read the news less (I’m a news junky, but at a price… I feel pretty hopeless about the world at the best of times). I learned how to make my own clothing. It was brilliant.
I’m also a self-taught preserver. On the menu today is a three fruit marmalade. One of the perks of underemployment, I suppose, is having the time to devote to time consuming hobbies. I began making jams and marmalades in 2011 on a whim, and I haven’t looked back.
Finally, I’m a bread baker:
I began baking in 2008, when my union went on strike and I needed something else to focus on. It was a long strike (84 days), so I had plenty of time to hone my bread baking skills. My starter is only two years old, though… I mistakenly thought I was developing an allergy to wheat (I was probably just depressed) and stopped making bread. What a mistake! Things are different now…. I moderate my bread consumption and try to move around as much as I can, and now I have no problems with bread or wheat.
Anyway, that’s me. Maybe someone will read me. And even if you don’t, I’ll be back later this week with details of my marmalade adventures.