facing the thesis

I’m sitting in rural Maryland with the people I call my out-laws. They’re Lin’s parents. They live in a small town called North East, but they really live about 6 miles outside of that bustling metropolis (with two stoplights and a few four-way stops) on a cul-de-sac next to Lin’s uncle. Her cousin is getting married tonight. We are wearing slightly matching outfits, but only because we both liked the vests we found and both of us ended up buying black corduroy pants instead of dress slacks. Lin’s butt is large and round (like I like them) and they only really fit well in jeans. Nothing else looks right on her. I tried on some slacks, but they all have too much crotch room.

It’s different here than it was back home, and when we’re here I’m struck by the way their family gets along, and by the way the granite countertops sparkle. Nothing is like it is in a trailer or a trailer park. Our dogs are with us – we drove overnight on New Year’s Eve and watched the sun rise as we pulled into their driveway around 7 am. It’s a 12 hour drive, but that night, we were able to do it in only 11 with a few stops. We ate breakfast around 2:30 at a Waffle House in Staunton, Virginia with a lot of drunk people with New Year’s hats on. We were exhausted and super-revved on coffee. We weren’t supposed to leave to come up here until around the 5th of January, but we both needed a break from our regular life and when a tree fell on a power line next door to us, knocking out our power and narrowly missing our car, we started packing and took off. The power came back on in time for me to get a shower before we jumped in the car. The dogs slept the whole drive – they like it like that.

While we’re here, I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve been trying to get some work done on my thesis.  I’ve finished planning the course I’m teaching – I’m teaching online this semester, so it’ll be vastly different from the last when I taught in a classroom. I have a few students in my online section, though, who signed up because they had friends in my classroom course in the Fall and my students apparently liked me. I’m not like most professors, I think. I’m honest with my students. When we talked about gentrification and how poor people often get taken by banks, I explained how mortgages work. That’s something I had to familiarize myself with before I could teach them. But I got good comments from them all, and most of them appreciated that they learned some life skills instead of just social theory. When teaching social problems, it’s difficult not to bring the real life stuff in, though I remember that didn’t happen in my course in undergrad.

Now I’m facing writing my thesis in the next three months and I can’t put a word on a page. No matter what word I write, it never seems like the right one. My committee chair is not happy with the word “homonormativity” and would prefer that I use “heteronormativity” and “heterosexism” in its place because she thinks homonormativity has no sociological, analytical value, but I disagree. I’m not sure I’m ready to have that full argument with her yet, but I love the word Homonormativity and feel it has value. However, I can’t put into words why that is so. This makes it difficult to make an academic argument. Plus, it gets harder to write a concise thesis without that word – always having to explain that what I’m talking about is how heteronormative forces work within the LGBT community, and never being able to say “homonormativity” which would cut out a few words and be more specific than heteronormativity. But, I digress. I’ll figure out how to make an academic argument for the word soon, and no one will be able to argue my point – after all, that’s what I do.

Lin and her mom are back from their trip to the bank and the grocery store, though, so I must stop writing now. I’m sure there will be things to do…

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