march in review, 2019

I predicted last month that March would be hell on Earth—and boy, was I even more accurate than I could have anticipated. This is easily the most hectic month I’ve experienced, and, with that, the most stressed, sleep-deprived, under-nourished and depressed I’ve been in a long, long time, if not ever. That’s saying a lot, I gotta say.

But, as I also said last month, all of this is by my own doing. I chose to take on all the things that ran my ass my ground. That are still running my ass to the ground. My mistake as well, probably, to believe that I will get them all done and will have nothing to worry about by the end of this month. This is not true at all, ha ha ha ha. I’ll be feeling this way until May, and that’s only if I’m lucky. But life, am I right.

I am happy to report, at least, that I still have a substantial list of things I enjoyed this month:

  • Company: This is the first year I’ve been able to take an elective, and with some nudging from a friend (thanks ERB) and some interesting entries on the syllabus, I chose a second year Broadway course. Company (1970) happens to make up a chunk of the course: our final mark relies on a an analysis of one song from it, critique of the school production, and historical details were a significant part of the second midterm. I expected myself to be weary of it by the end of all this, but I did quite enjoy all my repeated viewing and listening. A particular favourite, as I’m sure it is for most other people, is “Being Alive”—which has one of my favourite lyric changes in the switch to the imperative at the end of the song. Plus the recent West End production, with its little subversions and with Patti LuPone as Joanne, was a fun one to put on loop as I was writing my paper.

  • Haikyuu!! is going to get its own blog post, but it’s imperative I give it a shoutout here because my emotional and mental state would have crashed and burned a lot more if not for the little doses of rewatching I’ve been doing in between papers and deadlines and club responsibilities. The last time I touched this anime was in high school, and returning to it has been a mish-mash of harmless fun and nostalgia that had somehow resulted in a weird Pomodoro effect as I sneak in an episode or two in between hours of work.

  • Yuri!!! on CONCERT also deserves a spot here, while we’re talking about sports anime nostalgia. I remember bypassing it when it was briefly a trending topic on Tumblr, not knowing any other details about it, but I recently listened to the recordings on Spotify and those hit different. Which is just another way of saying I was reminded of how much warmth this show—and all its original songs from the tears magnet that is “Tales of a Sleeping Prince” to karaoke jams like “Theme of King JJ”—had brought me in 2016. YOI is another anime that got me through a rough time, though it sucks that I’ll always have to associate it with everything I felt the morning after the 2016 U.S Presidential Election.

  • Thucydides, I realize, is an odd entry on a favourites list, but I have been reading nothing but the Peloponnesian War this past month and it’s taken over every waking hour. Classics as a whole is stuffed full with half-horrifying, half-fascinating moments of history repeating itself, but none has landed quite like Thucydides declaring his work as a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί (with its ridiculously pretty translation as “a possession for all time“) and being dead-right about it. It sounds pretentious, I realize, but I’ve never felt the need to proclaim something as a must-read until I read this thing. It really is, in all of its surprisingly accurate insight so early in the history of, well, history. If not that, then it’s just such a curious thing to see how much of human nature has remained unchanged, and, really, how human any human from any time can be. Not to sound like a PoliSci bro. It’s unfortunate how much his work has been appropriated by sides that don’t necessarily interpret them as widely as it should be, but that shouldn’t be a surprise when working with text from Antiquity.

On that note, I also wrote papers on some interesting topics this term. It soothes the sting of having so many to bang out, I have to say, when I at least love writing them. A particular honourable mention is the paper on the Pythia’s role in the Greek colonial movement during the Archaic Period. (Bonus points because this gave me my first time encountering Anne Carson’s academic work on JSTOR and being able to use her paper on Pindar, even if it was only for, like, one footnote.)

My paper last year on Christianity’s role in reinforcing Roman slavery as a social institution still remains at the top in terms of the amount of enjoyment I took in writing it, but the Delphi paper came close. The Thucydides one I’m writing early next month will likely come closer.

Speaking of which, as much as I loved studying Thucydides, for better or for worse, his name alone has planted in me an amount of anxiety that I’ll carry for the rest of my life. Dramatics intended. This is high-high on my list of list of cons this month.

Like, I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve developed a genuine phobia of my Greek Historians seminar and, as brilliant as he is and regardless of how much I admire him, the prof that teaches it. He’s amazing, no doubt about it, and I imagine this is what the main Secret History coterie felt about Julian Morrow—but I’m getting anxious just writing this. It’s a shame, because that seminar gave me some of the best of my new friends this term; the amount of socialization I took from that class is surreal. And yet I spoke like five times despite having so much to say, purely because I was so afraid for reasons I can’t even pinpoint. So that’s always fun. But I knew that, going in. My CBT last year hadn’t been enough to teach me how to cope with the anxiety I feel around this prof, and there was no reason to expect it to go away this term. I just wasn’t expecting it to get so much worse over the course of twelve weeks.

As for Agnès Varda, I have no words that will accurately capture how devastated I am. What horrible news to end March on.

I’m going into April with the first missed deadlines and deadline extension requests of my life, and alongside that, some more intensified anxiety and feelings of incompetence that are truly, truly, truly not cute.

It will be over at some point. I think. I hope. I pray.