The Art of Getting Through

Art has a “so-what” element to it. Does it make me feel special? Does it make me feel alive? Do I learn something? Does it give me a different perspective? Does it make me question hidden assumptions about the world?

OR. Does it surprise me?

My life is currently dominated by a couple things: a horrendous cough, my thesis, and extreme amounts of existential dread.

Every life is art, though–the best ones are. Mine is like Guernica. Mine is like being in Fight Club and not having any idea what’s going on. Mine is like Azealia Banks chanting that she’s going to ruin me. Terrifying. Surprising. Wonderful?

What is the “so-what” element to things these days? My self-esteem was squashed about 3 months ago when my advisor asked me where my thesis’s argument is and 3 months later . . . my argument is like the groundhog hiding from its shadow. Now I am the groundhog and my thesis is the sun. I’m hiding.

Rather, not hiding but just avoiding–my cold let’s me do this. Napping, chewing raw ginger, swallowing a pharmacy of vitamins and medicine, sitting 5 inches away from my humidifier. My thesis is over there while I’m over here.

But I guess this is a new way of life? I know I will reach my DEADlines but getting there is the struggle? The goal?

My thesis has shown me how something, one thing that will hopefully get me into grad school, put a foot in some academic door somewhere somehow, can take over your life entirely. Giving yourself over to something you (used) to love, ha, still do, is beautiful? Surprising? Terrifying?

“Oh my gosh, Taylor, this week has been so awful, what am I supposed to do?”
“Well Toni Morrison has an answer. Its in the Consolata section of Paradise, let me flip to the page.”

“TAYLOR, I was staring at old photographs of my ex and they seemed to shift? change?”
“STAHP, that’s just like the ending of Beloved where I still have no idea what’s going on even though its in my thesis . . . wait. Is Morrison talking through you? Are you a Morrison oracle?”

There is an extreme irony about tracing Morrison’s theory of healing when I need to heal from the thesis process.

I walk down the road looking at the city of Ann Arbor imagining it is the City Morrison describes in Jazz. I look in the mirror and see Beloved’s face. I go to a friends house and imagine it to be Paradise’s convent pre-raid and pre-slaughter.

For now I have to give into the delusions/hallucinations/reality of certain books projecting so far into my life that I have become my own character. My agency is just the narrator of myself scripting myself and positioning myself in the world.


The art of getting through is perserverence. It’s taking naps when I’m tired. It’s eating throughout the entire day. It’s only listening to Le1f. It’s hanging out with friends for brief snippets everyday. It’s making angsty and somewhat frightening facebook statuses so you can tell the world that you are on the edge (of glory).

I hope when my thesis is turned in, when I get my degree, and when I’m months out from undergrad, I can say that things were surprising. Things made me question my hidden assumptions. Things made me reevaluate the world.

I am the art, for now. And give me a few months where I can become my own audience. I can’t see the “so-what” now, but I will. I will.

“Say make me, remake me.”


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