It’s no longer rejection season. It is now revision season. I have spent the last 48 hours in serious revision mode, red pen and all. In fact my last red pen is about to die on me. Unacceptable. How will I work without my favorite Bic crystal pen? Hmm… why am I hung on up on silly things like that. I guess it just goes to show where my head is right now. After an eventful and incident-full evening last night that did not resolve itself until 3:30am, I was up again at 7:30. One visit to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks and some moral support from two friends later, I was on my way to seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
As I look over the revisions I have made to my thesis in the past day and a half, I am astonished. These are the most extensive revisions I have ever made to a piece of my own writing. On some pages, the original text is barely distinguishable beneath my advisor’s blue markings and my own red ones. It’s bizarre and invigorating all at once. What kind of English major would I be without having done this kind of intensive revision at least once? A pretty terrible one, I’ll tell you. I mean, I’ve worked at the University Writing Center for the last 2 years and have told more students than I can remember to revise, revise, revise. I always felt a little bit like a hypocrite. There I was lauding the value of extensive and intensive revision without once participating in the process myself. Sure I’ve cleaned up a paper or a draft, but I’ve never gone in with the intention of making serious, main-idea-altering changes. Now I have, and I am happy for more than one reason.
As much as I may hate it, I know that this process is making my writing and my argument stronger. I know that I, in turn, am growing as a writer. Most of all, this process seems to have ushered in a revision of my mental state. Just last night, my mom told me that I sounded sad on the phone, that she could hear in my voice that I was stressed, upset, anxious, unhappy…. You name it, my voice revealed it. Today, I woke up in a similar state, but one grande iced coffee and several red pen revisions later, I was feeling confident, confident in my ability to overcome the seemingly insurmountable task in front of me. As I accepted the fact that maybe, just maybe, my mom and my friends were right, that I can do this, I began to feel confident in other ways. I felt happy. I wanted to smile. I laughed and joked and ate food and drank coffee and, miraculously, enjoyed myself. Despite the odds stacked against me, I felt confident in my ability to succeed and to pull through it all, in my ability to prove to my advisor that I deserve this honor, that I am capable of finishing this project, that I will be ready to defend by March 25th.
A friend recently told me that this time in our lives is more often than not a test in ignoring the people who tell you no and never admitting that you’ve reached your limit. Today I learned the truth in this statement for myself. I have chosen a passion that requires me to face the impossible every day, to stare it in the face, and to say “bring it.” I am here to do the impossible and to allow my passion for it to fill me up and see me through the trenches. Nothing about this situation is going to change. Ever. I have chosen this path and must accept the consequences of such a decision. The funny thing is, for once, today, in the midst of all this pressure and uncertainty, I am more excited by the impossible than I am afraid.