Saturday, August 28, 2010


Ahhh, weekend. The first Friday night of my senior year was quite a success, full of good company and good drinks. I can't help thinking, though, about how different my life will be a year from now. I'll miss some things about being an undergrad. Other things, not so much.

I have drafts. I am officially an editor. I feel a little overwhelmed, because there are infinite possibilities for giving feedback. But I don't want to overwhelm my writers when they see a draft covered in red. I am trying to focus on "higher order concerns" (as my professor recommended) and on being encouraging. Most of these writers do not really know what they are doing. On the other hand, I love editing. It feels so natural, so enjoyable... Perhaps I've had the personality for this job all along. I know I sound like a dweeb, but that's ok.

I've made it through the first week admirably. No meltdowns, no freakouts. And tonight is date night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

short skirt/long jacket

This is my girl editor theme song. Partly. I'm trying to mix in some humor and compassion for all the scared newbie writers. But don't get me wrong. I mean business. The first round of Monday evening newspaper meetings (practicum, ed board meeting, general staff meeting) went very, very well. We shall see how things progress... I am excited and a little nervous about getting my first round of drafts.

I do not feel the same sense of overwhelming panic that I usually feel in the first week of classes. I keep waiting for it to set in, for something to go wrong, for me to freak out. I think I can safely say, though, that being a senior, knowing how this all works, knowing my capabilities and priorities is helping. I think that every semester has helped me become more confident, more disciplined... London taught me to go with the flow, that things will work out if you simply strike out and take a chance. Leap, and the net will appear. I still have trouble applying that to life post-graduation. May seems far away enough right now that I'm not freaking out... yet. I know I will, but I'm hoping I'll be able to understand that the anxiety is a surface thing, that deep down everything will be okay.

Life is good. I am in love. In love with this school, with the things I've chosen to pursue,with my many beautiful and wonderful friends, and with my man (even after two and a half years). Thunderstorm my lie in wait, but for now I am basking in the sun. I'll re-read this post later if I have trouble remembering how wonderful things are, really. I'm also going to re-read my last post... to remind myself to stay kind and compassionate (to myself and others).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Girl

The stress has already begun, and I'm not even back at school yet. Heavens. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the kind of person I want to be, how I might handle certain situations differently. I want to be a calm person, an authentic person, a kind person who tries to be patient with people I like and people I don't. This is a high bar. I know I will not always be this person all the time. I will get sometimes get weepy, and anxious, and irritated. I will alternately be self righteous and self doubting.

I feel like this semester is an opportunity for a breakthrough (or rather, a messy one-step-forward-one-step-back kind of painful progress). I have realized this afternoon, with unprecedented clarity how wrong it is that I almost always equate my sense of self worth with my performance and what other people (might) think of me. I have for years assumed that if I do everything everyone else wants of me, if I always show up on time, turn things in on time, get good grades, go to every single meeting, then I am a good girl. I am worth something.

This is very, very bad. If I do everything, I end up feeling sick and crazy because it never ends and everyone always wants something. Someone else always appears to be doing more, doing better. When I realize I can't do everything, I feel an overwhelming sense of panic and guilt, but I am comparing myself to others and not being true to myself. But what if I do make everything happen? What if I somehow manage to "do it all'? I am passing some subtle and terrible reverse judgment on others: that I am somehow a better person because I show up on time, and do what other people want. That scares me.

This is not the way to become calmer, or more accepting, or more authentic. This is not the road to self respect. This is the road to taking on an unmanageable amount of stress, not being able to prioritize, and then unintentionally taking things out on friends and partners.

Why, then, do I have so much trouble controlling my knee-jerk reactions? Why can't I banish the voice that tells me to do every assignment perfectly, go to every meeting, stay up late and get up early, be on time, get an A every class. I wish I knew. I wish that I could pray or go to therapy (or both) and have this voice magically erased.

I don't think that's likely. Instead, I think I have to feel good that I can finally see this with a clarity I could never have reached a few years ago. Awareness is the first step, right? Today, I said "no" and I'm not going to feel guilty.

It's going to be a messy semester, but a good one I think.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Well, now. The summer slowly dwindles. I am both grateful for these last few days at home to rest and collect my thoughts, and quite restless and ready to get on with moving back in at school. House of Leaves is ... ridiculous. I think I like it, but I'm not sure. It's so dense, but it certainly draws you in. I jumped the other night when the phone rang while I was reading.

I miss my sweetheart. He is in Ohio for a funeral and I think about him off and on throughout the day, wishing I could be there too. I feel unusually tired, but I'm trying to stay up because he said he would call.

I've been distracting myself by sorting through all my clothes: washing, mending and packing for school. I finally found the clothes I had stashed in the very back corner of my closet before I left for England. What a long time ago that seems. I have enjoyed the pleasant surprise with which I greet items of clothing I forgot I owned. It's such a treat. On the other hand, some items are a bit shabbier than I realized. Some cuts had to be made.

So the days slip into one another, full of dishes and laundry and milking goats. It's peaceful in its own way and not a bad way to spend the last few days before my life suddenly becomes very, very busy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fret and Wonder

Well, so far the whole "staying calm" when thinking about the future is tricky business. One step forward, one step back. I simply don't care for these in-between times when I think a lot about the future, but can't really take any meaningful steps forward yet. I know that things must happen in their own time, but I want to get down to it. Otherwise I fret and wonder. Deep down, I know that I am capable of managing life post-Guilford. But oh, these big transitions are dizzying and unsettling to think about. My worries cycle through a few different topics. Right now, money (or lack thereof) is on my mind.

Perhaps everything seems worse right now because I am tired, and because I am trying desperately to read "House of Leaves" but its making my eyes and my head hurt. Even doing laundry isn't making me feel more settled.

I have made a step forward on the exercise front. I have acquired some work out DVDs... this is positive because I can never get the gumption to actually go to the gym every day. If I don't have to leave my room, I think I'll do much better.

I've also acquired some lovely new recipes, thanks to my Ant Deeda. I will never make macaroni and cheese without a bread and molasses topping ever again. I'm glad to have some tasty dinners to share with my vegetarian friends as well.

I've started a new knitting project. I couldn't help myself. This one will definitely get finished, though.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cutting Through

This blog is starting to reach the dilemma of every journal I've ever attempted to keep. I wait so long to post that the intervening events and changes seem too overwhelming to tackle, and yet it seems terrible to just let them fall by the wayside undocumented. Often, I find that I don't write because it is too real and overwhelming to reflect closely on things. Often, I find myself feeling guilty for spending time here when I feel I ought to be spending my time on other things like little chores and errands, family time, researching grad schools, finally finishing up my summer reading assignments (some self imposed, others not). And yet, I always feel drawn back here. I need it in some strange way, and I have decided that I need to try and cut through the distractions pulling and diverting my urge to write. It's an unending battle, but I think maybe if I allow myself to write what I can when I can (without high-minded expectations) I might do a little better.

I'd like to do a little better at a lot of things. The list for now (besides more blogging):

Staying calm and trusting when thinking about life post-graduation

Starting to exercise at least a few times a week (regularly!) to manage stress levels etc.

Eating healthy and enjoying the process of shopping/cooking now that I will be totally off the meal plan

Resisting perfectionism hang-ups (particularly during my English capstone and being an editor for the newspaper this coming school year)

I think that's a long enough list for now. I could add more (like: actually finish one of those unfinished knitting projects languishing under your bed) but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, or get distracted from the essential things to focus on.