Tuesday, October 10, 2006

State of Waiting*; or ABA**

**ABA: "All But Appendages"

Morph the Cat here (aka Kate from Knitty) has been "coming soon" for a long time now. Nearly finished for over six months, he sits patiently, awaiting the day I decide finally to sew on his arms, legs, and ears.

Much too often, I also feel like I'm "coming soon," but that I'm never quite there. More and more frequently, I find myself in a state of waiting, sensing that I'm in limbo somehow. Perhaps someday I'll awake and find my appendages finally stitched to the rest of me in a way that makes sense.

This "state of waiting," I know, I know, is what the state of living is all about. As the cliched sayings note (ad nauseum), we are works in progress, and nothing, as our craft of knitting has taught us, is ever really completely finished. I think, nevertheless, that being a graduate student in the *late* stages of the PhD promotes this feeling of stasis, of waiting, and of incompletion. For one thing, there's a sense that everyone around me has become a fully fledged grown-up already (whatever that is), and that I've been left behind in this liminal stage of neither a student nor a professor, neither a girlfriend nor a wife, neither in Canada nor in the US.

In short, I'm an ABD***, an all but something.

Now, truthfully, many days this is a good thing--this stage of liminality. When I first started to blog (about five months ago, over on Blogspirit), I wrote about how dangerous it is to insist that people are or become one thing. I noted that playing with identities is freeing and liberating and might just make for a more peaceful, beautiful, tolerant world. Indeed, most days I reject confining labels, roles, slots, predictablity, conventionality. Certainly, since my late adolescence, in trying to determine who I was or who I wanted to be, I have gloried in the possibilities and the range of experiences and identities that life has to offer; I have insisted on trying all sorts of things, and have vowed not to become one thing. I would be fluid & flexible.

But sometimes it can be scary, and off-putting, this fluidity, this rejection of labels and roles and conventions. Especially for a worrier, like me. And at some point, I wonder if there is a reason, after all, for those conventions, those ways-of-doing things, that I just didn't see before.

I think this is yet another thing that knitting might be teaching me...

*This somber post brought to you today by our proud sponsors: the rainy, cloudy, grey weather; the lack of sleep; the overabundance of worry about the dissertation; the fact that *all* of my highschool friends and *all* of my siblings are now married and if they have not had babies recently, are now about to have them; by the dismay of having 11 years of post-secondary education and being paid less than the undergraduate who serves me coffee or who sorts my mail; by the fact that the picture-taking of projects must wait until the sun pokes itself out again. I promise: somber blogger to leave then.

***ABD = "all but dissertation"