People Need to Chill the Fuck Out about Swine Flu.

April 27, 2009

This post has nothing to do with flu, I’m just already sick to death about the fear-mongering going on the MSM and it was either type that here, or yell it out the window of my apartment.


Monday is therapy day, which is yet another reason to dislike it.  If you needed one.  The last two weeks have been especially bad, as I’m realizing that several months into this, I don’t feel one whit closer to feeling more hopeful about my prospects or abilities, neither do I think that I’ve really figured out what it is that I’m afraid of, or concerned about, or whatever it is that puts me on the edge of tears nearly any time I think too much about it, or dare to sit down and look through files.

I do feel like I’ve managed to wall off my school/diss work into a little corner of my life, and mostly ignore it, in favor of the things that are pretty good.  However, that crammed little corner, which is black and bloated with poison, keeps bleeding over into the rest of my life.  Weekly therapy is where I drain that emotional abcess, so to speak, but it hasn’t been healing.  While that is a graphic and gross metaphor, it feels spot on.

I’d rather have swine flu.


Blue Monday

April 20, 2009

Today is a grey, crappy, rainy, blustery day.  As if my internal life were reflected in the atmosphere, you might say.

Had myself a blustery chat with Ye Olde Therapiste, wherein I talked about:

1.  Robot Boy’s grandmother, who has taken quite a decline recently, prompting him to schedule a quick trip to visit with her this coming weekend,

2.  Which has also put any vacation plans–to Costa Rica or anywhere else–on hold until we know what’s up with Grandma.

3.  My post today at Harpyness on not being sorry, and yet how I’m completely consumed with guilt and remorse and constantly feel sorry both for and about what seem like my unending failures, and

4.  Needing to meet both with my dissertation director, so as to more-or-less “come clean;” and the placement officer/career counselor dude, so as to be assured that the best I will be able to do for the fall is tape together a number of adjunct positions and thus earn a subsistence wage; and not feeling confident that I could do either of those things without having a humiliating meltdown.

It was not pleasant.

Afterwards, I went up to school for a quick errand, and saw that my diss director was in his office, and although 49% of me was thinking “Fly, you fool! Flyyyyyyyy!”, 51% said “Good god, woman, get in there and get it over with!”  So I went in there and said really all I trusted myself to say: “Well, the long and short of it is I’m burned out, and I don’t know how to get un-burned out.” I didn’t get into details of how long I’ve been struggling, how little I’ve produced in recent months, or the therapy and meds, but the cat was out of the bag.

I think I kind of shocked him (to the extent that he can be shocked), although I can’t be sure.  He paused, expressed sympathy (“I’m sorry,” and “it happens to all writers”) and then advised me to:

1.  Keep a scheduled, dedicated writing time (just an hour), even if I don’t write a thing, just to sit and think is necessary;

2. Try a different angle–a new section or chapter, a new and weird idea, just to see what happens;

3. Take a break–but not too long, as not-writing tends to breed more not-writing (and my life is a testament to that bit of wisdom); and

4. Take care not to strangle it (which is what I’m doing when I’m not ignoring its ensuing gasps for breath).

Nothing revolutionary, but true all the same.  He encouraged me to keep with it, that struggle is part of the process, that even if you’re not cranking out pages, or only cranking out shite, if you sit with it, work is happening in your brain, and if you can get out of its way, so to speak, it will come.  We talked about the undeniable crapulence of the job market, and he said that “slowing down a bit” (HA!  HA HA HAHAHHHHHAAAAAA!) wasn’t a terrible idea.  He assured me of my ability (or rather, he tried to, I can’t say I’m sold on that) and the worthiness of my subject matter, and asked me to set a time to meet with him next month and see how things are going.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do.


Helpful/Not Helpful

April 15, 2009

Helpful:  Getting a lot of kind words and wishes on my birthday.

Not Helpful:  Realizing I’m 34 and still have no career to speak of.

Helpful:  Rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin.  I’m feeling closer to “normal” than I have in at least a month.

Not Helpful:  Orange Cat’s many medicines.  His eye doesn’t seem to be healing.

Helpful:  Looking over my CV and thinking:  this is okay.

Not Helpful:  Learning that a co-worker of mine (in a different discipline) just landed a job here in the city, even though she’s barely half-done with her rather pedestrian formalist diss, and her contract at our job lasted another year.

Helpful:  I’ve started doing a workout DVD, since that’s sposeda help with mental as well as physical health.

Not Helpful:  Realizing that while my weight is fine, I’m puny and weak and embarrassingly out of shape.  Also:  sore all over.

Helpful:  Blogging at Harpyness.  It’s nice to be able to write something, even if it’s not professionally useful.

Not Helpful:  Blogging at Harpyness.  It’s frustrating to be putting all my writing energy into something that’s not professionally useful.



What I Want for My Birthday

April 13, 2009

So today is my 34th birthday.


Usually I’m a big old birthday-slut.  I want you to be nice to me, and wish me well, and maybe surprise me with something thoughtful, even though I feel kinda stupid announcing it.  This year, however, is different.

33 was not an especially good year for me, and while I am in some ways glad to put it behind me, I’m not terribly looking forward to what 34 seems to be offering:  more of the same.

Of course, one can never know what the future holds (as Benjamin notes, the Angel of History always faces the past), but what it appears to hold is unemployment, debt, and facing up my failure, which I’ve been holding at arm’s-length for the last four-to-six months.

I’m hoping the rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin will help me with that facing-up.  The first day was a total emotional trainwreck (which happened to coincide with my blowing off a deadline that will simply make getting back on track–should I decide to do so–even more of a slog, but subsequently has improved to mere whippiness.

Once I level out (I’m hoping I level out), as hard as it will be, I must plan a have-it-out meeting with my chair, and let him know where I am vis-a-vis the process both intellectually and emotionally (which is:  resentful, burnt-out, and with little hope for change–in the market, in my attitude and prospects), and listen, as I have so many times in the last few years, to his advice.  I can’t believe that I would be the first flame-out he’s seen in his at-least-45-year career, and I ‘m hoping that he can offer some hint of clarity that I’ve been so in need of.



April 10, 2009

I’m starting rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin today.  I spent a few days thinking I’d do without, but then when I started getting all drippy and self-hating and unable to leave the house, I thought:  yeah, maybe drugs are the answer.  (Just say yes, kids!)  So I’m about ready to admit that my brain is fucked up, as embarrassing as I find that.

My doc said rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin is “activating,” and  as such, may make me spazzy, as rhymes-with-mexico did.  So we’ll see.  I’ve decided not to have any caffiene this morning, the better to judge what sort of spazzy it makes me.  I shoud quit it with the caffiene, anyway.

The good thing about this one (they say) is that it won’t kill your mojo like SSRIs will, which would be nice, because getting off BCP and onto SSRIs was kind of a cruel joke.  It still might kill my appetite.  Which I’m not happy about; I have a good food-day laid out, and my birthday (with ice-cream cake!) is imminent.  Yes, I am that excited about food.

But I have a big stupid thing that I have to take care of today, that I have been procrastinating for, literally, months, and it’s now or never.  So I’m going to go activate the shower, and the subway turnstile, and a copy machine, among other things.  If you see me vibrating, you’ll know why.


The Eye of the Tiger

April 7, 2009

I didn’t call the doc yesterday because I was busy with a big presentation and then a big, very expensive vet visit for Orange Cat, who has a very nasty corneal ulcer, and who may need more vet care and more drugs (the 5 things he got yesterday might not be enough?).  I have to call the animal hospital–the one where our beloved Screamy Cat died in October of 2007–and see what sorta money an ophthamologist might squeeze out of us.

So I’m down $400+ (and counting) and the sloths are disappearing into their ever-receding equatorial rainforests.

However, there is an upside:  I’m not thinking about myself, or the diss.  I’m worried about the Orange Boy, who is one of the delights of my life.  Send good thoughts, if you please.



April 4, 2009

Two days ago, as I walked home from errands in the sunshine, I felt really good.  Like “I don’t need chemical interference!  Things are looking  up! Maybe I’ll do some work!”

I was wrong.  On all counts.

I quit taking rhymes-with-Mexico on Tuesday, and I think it’s out of my system now, and although I’m glad that my GI tract is more-or-less back to normal, I don’t like where my head is at.  I’ve been avoiding people again, staying in the apartment for absurd stretches of time, not writing,  sleeping a lot.  In other words: I’ve been here before, and it sucks giant mutant alien buttsores.

I’m calling the doc on Monday, and will probably end up with rhymes-with-smell-shoe-chin.    After that?  I dunno:  cocaine?  poppers?  glue?  If it doesn’t make me feel better, at least it’ll help me pass the time.

Orange Cat has eye problems.  Going to see his doc on Monday afternoon.  If it’s crazy expensive (and when isn’t it?), the sloth-trip will necessarily be put off.