Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Re-gain Original Man of Stem!"

That's the title of today's sex spam. I confess it made me laugh.

Panic is setting in--my sabbatical is effectively over, and, of course, I have various unfinished tasks (like, um, the TWO articles I had delusions of completing), house projects that I no longer have time or money for, and, of course, the impending arrival of my bright, shiny, eager new students, who will demand things like textbooks, course readers, and syllabi. As always, I'm not sure how I will manage. I feel as though I wasted a lot of my sabbatical; without a frantic schedule like the one I usually have, I fall pretty quickly into the doldrums. I wish I took myself seriously to stick to my ambitious diet and exercise programs, or my writing regimen. In retrospect, I feel like I have accomplished so little during a time when I could have done so much...I kind of always feel like that, I guess. I keep thinking I will grow out of this, or that someone will create a magic pill that will give me more gumption--or allow me to be easier on myself. Somehow my extra pounds, failure to cook vegetarian meals every day, overgrown hedges, peeling paint, and long-postponed projects (wedding album? Unpacking the basement and second floor of our house? doctor's appointment? window cleaning? re-balancing the washer? helping my daughter read more? cancelling cable and working in the evenings? mending?) become evidence of sloth and moral turpitude. But without the accompanying self-loathing, I fear I would get nothing done at all. Everything feels overwhelming. And yes, this probably sounds like depression. But it's pretty much the way I have felt my entire life--motivated only by fear of my own inadequacy or by hyper-exaggerated expectations of how great things will be if only I can...

Time to shut down the pity party. The damn article is not going to write itself--at least, it has shown no signs of doing so thus far.



At 10:49 AM , Blogger Julia said...

I hear you. And that is all I am going to say before I cattle-prod myself in the direction of a pile of work I should've been doing for a loooooong time now.

At 6:32 AM , Blogger bg's Little Sis said...

ditto on that post...we moved over a year ago and STILL don't have the old house on the market yet! There are days I wake so early and have all the "undones" as I call them whirling about my mind, only to fall back to sleep and press snooze one too many times.

At 10:11 AM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Ladies, I am sorry to hear that others are similarly afflicted, but happy to experience the solidarity!
bgls, can I tell you that we call those waking hours "the fantods," and that I experience similar house-selling anxieties about my rental, even though I don't plan to sell it for several years? I lie awake thinking about all that would need to be done to get it in selling shape...and about all of things falling apart at my house...and about how I'd rather paint the bathroom than replace the crumbling outer doors to the basement, and....

At 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely Dorcasina - not that it will beat the fantods into submission, but worth remembering, if you can, that you're in a very difficult and demanding profession-- at what is its most difficult and demanding moment (& will stay that way until you get tenure). You're doing it without anybody picking up your laundry or taking care of the house (be it dusting or doors). You're a mother, and a wonderful one. More very hard work. You're doing this by yourself. Both of these things. AT THE SAME TIME. And you always know that you might not have had to, had the gods been halfway decent. You live in an old house that like other old houses in wet climates, is doing its best to disintegrate. What else.

What else, I think, has to do with the creative process, which is bloody awful. You flail around and flail around until the damn thing starts to take shape and form, and then you flail around some more. You "waste time" chasing down alleys that turn out to be blind. You run into someone who maybe kind of sort of got to part of it first, and so now you have to deal with *her*. And then you try to stare down, every, every day, the self-doubt, because you do not have the raving ego that would make part of it one hell of a lot easier.


The upside: your beautiful, fascinating daughter. The upside: your career, that although often exasperating and not always anywhere near as scintillating as outsiders think it is, is nonetheless a damn sight more interesting than -- waiting tables? Editing? Data entry? Collecting eggs ;-) The upside: the friends who love you, and whom you love.

But you know all that and simply want to take a breather in which to have the tiniest of nervous breakdowns, damn the damn upsides. Have at it-- you've earned it.

Mme X


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