Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coming up for Air


I realize it's only been a couple of days since I've written, but it's been a good couple of days. All of the things that have been stressing me out are still there (it's not like they were going to disappear or something) but I am feeling infinitely more centered and ok. What has produced this?

  1. I seriously just took the past couple of days for me. I didn't do work (although work looms and I've really got to get on the ball with the grading today, for I'm an idiot who procrastinates in ways that are not positive), but rather I just took some time to do things that make me happy.
  2. What sorts of things, you ask? Well, I made a hair appointment for tomorrow, and yesterday I paid all of my bills, which then made me realize that I really could afford to take myself shopping.
  3. So I went shopping yesterday afternoon. I bought myself: 1) a lovely new black leather purse, which I got on sale (orig. $138 bucks; I paid like $66, which is still more than I like to spend, but given my other buys I'm feeling quite virtuous, esp. as I really did need it), 2) a sweater (v. long, though, so really more of a sweater-dress, which will be great with leggings) on sale (orig. $45; I paid like $18); a skirt for which I paid $5.70 (orig. $40); and new sheets for my bed (orig. $70; I paid $21).
  4. I then took myself to the bookstore, and I bought trash to read. Indeed, I've started reading the Twilight series, which felt like a good Halloweeny choice. And then I took myself to Panera for lunch, which felt like a huge treat since I've been avoiding eating out what with the fitness goals and all.
  5. I also made a menu for this week, and I'll be going to the grocery store and cooking up delicious things over the next few days (new lentil soup recipe; a healthy version of homemade mac 'n cheese and homemade tomato soup; maybe a pot of chili).
So last night I came home from shopping and took a nice long, hot bath, made my bed with my new sheets, and I spent the night reading. And it was fan-freaking-tastic. I also spent some time writing in my journal over the past couple of days, and that's been good, too. All of this is to say, in sum, that I'm feeling like myself. The things that have been upsetting me aren't gone, but I don't feel like some crazy monster that I don't quite recognize, which was how I was feeling last week.

Here's the thing: I think a lot of why I've been upset has to do with two interlocking issues: 1) I'm not sure what's next for me, and I don't feel like I have much control over what's next, although obviously I do have control and it just doesn't feel like it because of the confluence of factors that go into succeeding in this profession, i.e., the fact that the whole thing is set up as this mysterious judging process, no matter how "transparent" people try to be, and when I feel like I'm being judged I don't respond terribly well, even though one would think that I'd be used to it by this point; and 2) I've really been questioning whether things I've assumed that I wanted or would want really matter to me in the long run, or how those things matter if they do, which of course is complicated by the out-of-control nonsense, because I can only take back control over my life if I know what I'm aiming for and what matters to me.

I've also determined that my go-to thing when I'm feeling like this is to become sort of defensive and disingenuous, which is a habit that I think I picked up in grad school and which is really not positive for me or for people around me. I think that I've been so worried about how other people perceive me that it's been a really long time since I've been totally honest with myself, which then, when I'm feeling insecure, spreads out into dishonesty with people around me. It's fine when I'm on a secure path (so not like I'm some sort of compulsive liar or something), but when I'm not, my go-to thing is to pretend everything's fine, while yet expecting everybody to know things aren't fine, which isn't necessarily a good thing for me or for the people in my life, because ultimately I can't keep up the pretense and so I freak out, taking everybody (including me) by surprise. Luckily, I've got people who really do love and support me and who see through this whole defensive and screwed up thing that I do, but I'd really like to be more aware that this is what I do and to try not to do it because I actually think that it takes me further from where I want to be in my life even though it feels like I'm protecting myself when I do it.

But so anyway, all of the above is to say that it's not been a dark weekend of the soul by any stretch, but rather that it's been a weekend where I let myself sort of put my angst on the back burner because the angst isn't actually me if that makes any sense. And I know that I'm being self-absorbed and annoying, but I think that this is a time where I need to be self-absorbed (and even annoying), because I need to remember who I am beyond all of this job-related angst and to be a lot nicer to that person than I typically tend to be.

So anyway, that's what's going on with me. Now I need to get started with my day.


Virginia S. Wood, PsyD said...

I've been checking in throughout the weekend, and was glad to see this morning that you're back. Hooray for you for having time just to enjoy yourself: I'm glad it worked and that you are feeling so much better.

Dr. Bad Ass said...

Good for you. Self-care is fabulous, and I like the sound of that new purse! I've also started reading the _Twilight_ series, and am about to start the third book (as soon as it arrives from Amazon). I'm not sure I'm as sold on it as it seems others are -- but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Anne said...

Ok, Dr. Crazy, I'm going to do a quick, unwarranted, and loving drive-by intervention here:

I am a pretty sane workaholic academic. Even so, I basically had a nervous breakdown last year awaiting the news that I got the tenure that everyone in the world knew I would get. It was probably the second least surprising decision in the world. The least being your own imminent tenure.

There is just something deeply messed up about the waiting and the sense of surveillance.

At a conference in June, a bunch of us all had gotten tenure in the past month. The casualties were striking: a divorce, a break-up... (I'm still standing, but oy!). So, be good to yourself, be forgiving, keep shopping the sales, and all that.


This too shall pass.



rachel said...

hey can you post your mac & cheese recipe please??

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody. I've got more to say, but for now, just thanks.

As for the mac and cheese recipe, it's a new one, so if it comes out well, I will surely post it. If it does not come out well, I will not inflict it upon you all :)

Susan said...

Glad you took some time for yourself. It's a hard time to take control of your life, but a wise choice. Hang in there....