After the Storm

Monday, January 09, 2006

The past two weeks have been rough. Soul battering rough. I haven’t been writing, haven’t been reading, and haven’t been sleeping. While I know that you do not require explanations of me, I now feel ready to talk about where I have been these last few weeks.

I never choose the easy path. Even as a child, my mother has said that I refused to do any thing, any way except my own way. She tells me that even if she were showing me an easier way to get something done, I would flat out refuse – and choose the harder path. She tells me that one of her lessons as a parent was to watch me, without interfering, struggle through what ever I was experiencing. She concurs that while I always reached my goal, it was with more struggle and pain than perhaps necessary.

As an adult, I am not that different. I continue to choose the difficult path. On one hand, this process has inured me to small obstacles. You disagree with me? Pah! Those small difficulties glance off of my external armor with nary a ding.

However, in developing this external shell, I have unwittingly also developed a resistance to doing things that are Good for me too. The same resistance to any change also flares up when I am doing things that, logically, I know are for the best. I begin to self-sabotage. I cry. I mope. I withdraw.

Thankfully, I have married a man that has learned this pattern of mine and keeps gentle pressure on me, while also allowing me lots of space. Even as he is doing this, I continue to fight him. Generally, when I have exhausted the emotional response, I stand up, brush off and finish the task with spectacular results.

This has been the case the past several weeks. As you may recall, I had submitted my application for my doctoral work in the fall. However, I sent the wrong application into the school. Twice.

*&^%#$^&*(#@#$%^&*$#@#$%^&*(#@#$%^&*(!!!!!!!!!

So, after I had a big cry about that, Terrance and I sat down and started to craft the real doctoral application. His goal was to get it out of me by the end of the year. This meant, of course, that I was going to be wildly interested in ANYTHING but the doctoral application. I am surprised I didn’t take up jogging to get away from him and the cursed application (which ranks up there with the chances of my joining a convent or getting a boob job in the realm of things VERY unlikely I will ever do).

It became a cat and mouse game at my house. I avoided the computer, cause if he saw me sitting there he would pop in and say “Working on your proposal?” to which I would growl and stalk away. Finally, he put the thing on the laptop and followed me around with it.

“Write just one paragraph…Just One, then you can stop”

I would write the crappiest paragraph possible and throw it back at him to proofread and then cry when he told me it wasn’t very good. See that? The self-sabotage? I am a master.

This went on until the Friday before New Year’s, when I had words with my supervisor. She has had an inkling that I am preparing to go on in my education, and rather than this being a joyful move, she tends to get hostile and threatened. This played out in a very passive aggressive exchange with her as I was leaving an unrelated meeting in her office.

My anger with her finally broke the last vestiges of loyalty and fear. I went home that night and wrote the entire proposal. Terrance was stunned. He pronounced it perfect.
It was clear from the last exchange with my supervisor that I have outgrown my space here. Emotionally, and professionally, I am ready for something different.

So, today – For real this time - I am mailing in my application for my doctoral program.

13 Baleful Regards:

Nancy said...

I am not glad you had that exchange with your supervisor, but I am happy that the momentum from that helped you to break through and finish your proposal.

Congratulations on sending it off! Today begins a new chapter in your life. And many more opportunities for people like me to share cliches and worn-out sayings.

Sugarmama said...

Congratulations! Sometimes the best, clearest writing comes when we just sit down in a mood and knock it out. I'll bet it's brilliant.

TB said...

Good for you! It sounds like the altercation with your boss was just the push you needed. Being in the wrong place is never fun. Best of luck for quick acceptance into the program that you really want.
How exciting!

Jess said...

Good luck. May this be the start of more great things for you.

Beth said...

excellent.

all that matters right now is you *did* it. enjoy the satisfaction that comes with knowing you finished something you put your mind to. regardless of how many hoops you made yourself jump through.

i empathize with you there. i love to doubt myself and make things harder. case in point: before having Davey, I was a master crafter. and I truly loved making candles and lotions and soaps. i gave them as gifts and they were generally well- received. everyone would say: Wow - you should do this for a living!

however, i never would consider going into business for myself, since technically, all I was doing was pouring melted glycerine, wax, whatever into molds. molds that someone else had created. therefore, it wasn't technically *my* craft. i was just some jerk that was using someone else's wax and someone else's molds and trying to pass that shit off as "my" handiwork. and if i wanted not to be a fraud, i would have to make my own plastic molds and make my own wax, etc. so i just stopped doing it.

see, just writing it down makes it seem all the more ridiculous to me because I know how much work went into getting the temp. right and picking the fragrances and the colors, etc. but i just couldn't take any of the credit for it.

anyway, long story short (too late!) fear of failure is crippling. fear of success is even more crippling. self-doubt is the worst. and i'm proud that you got up the guts to pound it out and do it. congrats!

madge said...

Take that, self-defeating tendencies!

I've been sitting on some paperwork that I wrested from my husband's pathologically procrastinating hands. I swore I would take care of it since he, clearly, couldn't. That was six months ago. Argh!

halloweenlover said...

HURRAY!!! What a load off you must feel. I do something similar, in that I leave stuff until the last minute, even when I know that I am sabotaging myself, even though I know that if I just did it I'd feel a huge load off, and it'll be half as bad as I imagine it to be. Sigh.

I'm so happy for you, though! What great work!!!

roo said...

Congratulations, Dawn!

There is nothing like righteous rage for impetus out of inertia. I identified so strongly with your description of procrastination tactics-- it reminded me of every day I spent getting my Masters (not to mention almost everything of value I've ever accomplished.)

It would be easier to live life without clubbing oneself with a giant stick, but it gets the job done.

Great work!

jenfromboston said...

I'm supposed to be re-doing my resume right now...I have 2 intereviews this week - starting tomorrow. What am I doing?? Commenting on your blog.

I have had this project on my to-do list since november.

I will type ....I will type...I will type...

Lisa said...

Yeay you. And you are so lucky you have such a wonderful hubby that would support you. My hubby is hardly able to think of any one other than himself. And when he does do something nice, he acts like he should be crowned hubby of the year. So now you know why I hardly mention my hubby in my blog!

Hold on to that wonderful man and give him lots of good loving! :-)

marshatm said...

I can absolutely relate to your feelings of self-sabatoge and procrastination, and, like you, have a very understanding and superhuman husband who puts up with my shit!

Your story inspires me to get off my lazy behind and take care of some things that have been stuck in my craw...

I'm pulling for you.

YOU. GO. GIRL!

Fraulein N said...

Congrats and good luck

Elizabeth said...

And once you're approved for the program, can we start calling you "Dr. Dawn"? Please?

Glad you got the package, sorry Emily didn't share it with you!

 
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