Emotional Bricks

Today at work, my promotion was announced to my team. The only person in the room with whom I had worked before was my boss, making the announcement. Somewhat ironically, the person who got the job I wanted most in the company (I’m not worried; there will be another chance for me). But amid the whole-hearted clapping and congratulations from these unknown men, for I find myself yet again the only woman on my technical team, I felt the weight of the impostor syndrome that has plagued me (not to mention many whom I love) for a long time. I don’t understand why the people that know me best are the people whose opinions feel unfairly weighted to the positive towards me. I know, intellectually, that my parents, my husband, my boss, and all my previous bosses are right when they say that I deserve this promotion. And yet I am terrified that I will prove everyone wrong with a single mistake. I am not afraid to make a mistake. I am scared to make the mistake. As I try to define It with my anxious, insomniac mind, I discover that there is no single mistake I could make that would prove to the world that I Am Not Worthy. And yet the emotion persists. I took a logic class when I was 14(?) and I recognize that this emotion is totally fallacious. Oi, is that an argument to pity?

Well, whatever it is, it’s keeping me from sleeping tonight. More accurately, it’s keeping me awake enough to think about school, which is causing me more anxiety than I’m entirely comfortable admitting to. And more than enough to keep me from sleeping. When I last left school, I failed (pardon the pun) to withdraw from my classes. Which means I have a jam-packed semester of failed hours. Which has put me on academic probation, because let’s face it, I didn’t really figure out how to be a grown-up until my late 20s and my GPA couldn’t really take a hit of 16 hours of F. So I am on academic probation. World, I’ve learned my lesson. I spend a minimum two hours a day, six days out of seven (I give myself either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday off) on homework after a full 9 hour day in the office. I’m really truly an adult now. If I were a regular student, taking a regular courseload, I could recover within the two semesters provided to me by the university. But I’m not. I’m juggling this slippery-seeming career with a single class that stresses my [shoulda-already-graduated] schedule, and a GPA that all too painfully delineates my lifelong struggle with depression. With a philosophy class and a gym class left to go, I could flunk out of college permanently. And so I sit here writing, wrought with anxiety. That is the mistake of which I am most scared. There is the mistake. The one from which I have been running for so many years. The imminent failure that kept me from going back to school for so long. There might end up being proof that I wasn’t good enough to make it.

And so this house of anxiety and sleeplessness is built. Brick after unyielding emotional brick.

Write Drunk; Edit Sober

In the modern world of blogging, editing is arguably a losing, though not yet lost, art. In the spirit (as it were) of Ernest Hemingway’s “write drunk; edit sober” quote, I have decided to try it. Although I must warn you that (a) I have not actually verified any quotation source on this and (b) I may or may not end up editing this post. I also apologize in advance for the length of this post. I can’t figure out how to add a paragraph break in my latest version of WP.

So yes, I decided to have a few glasses of wine tonight. I was reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the third in Steig Larsson’s trilogy of Lisbeth Salander. Because this series has some parts that seriously lag, my husband was watching football, I am still not pregnant, and it is Saturday night, wine seemed like an excellent way to close out my excellent week before tomorrow’s rather unexciting agenda of homework and house cleaning. Then the book started to bog down in business intrigue (which I find rather dull and unlikely) and F. started snoring. I put down the book to tuck him into bed. While I was reciting the words, “tuck tuck tuck tuck tuck! tuck tuck tuck!” I realized that I was saying these words because I don’t recall ever being tucked into bed any other way, and I have no idea whether this recitation is unique to my family. Which made me really want to update this blog because, let’s be honest, no one but my family reads it as far as I know. (Which, for the record, is totally fine with me, because my family is awesome and I love writing letters to them without having to write letters to them. At which I have always been abysmal.)

Good god, WP. I have a whole window devoted to writing this entry, why must you insist upon using no more than 1/5 of it for my actual text window??

So anyway. Stream of consciousness at its worst. Don’t mind me while I jump all over the place. I’ve had an awesome week. Actually, I’ve had an awesome year. So far, despite the whole I’m-not-pregnant thing, 2012 has shown 2011 the door, and slammed said door behind it as well. I got a promotion at work which should be announced Monday, I’ve moved back to a department where my day-to-day duties resonate much more with what makes me happy. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but it hasn’t yet.

As a supposedly congratulatory present for the promotion but actually just because he indulged his romantic streak, F. bought me a gorgeous ring. It has 5 diamonds and 4 emeralds. Unfortunately, the jeweler that I had heretofore had excellent if hardly unusual requests for, has been an utter dick about the whole thing. F. got me a size 6 ring, which could only fit on my ring finger. Since one of those is taken up by a wedding ring and the other with a rather ostentatious class ring, I needed it resized for a different finger. Because the stones are channel set, they couldn’t resize it despite the fact that up to 2 sizes were on the invoice as included in the price. So I’ve been dealing with trying to get a ring out of a jeweler who made a promise he could not keep. I’ve decided not to be angry about it, and instead take all of the emotion of F. giving me this ring and ignore the hassle. The only downside (primarily for him) is that he’s still on the hook to get me an emerald ring as a 10-year anniversary present. I’ve decided to have the jeweler order this instead. Some part of me feels like I should argue with them to return the money for the original ring (“ALL SALES FINAL” is posted all over the shop) and get one on Amazon in my size for less money, but in the end I’ve decided that once all my current business with this jeweler is concluded I will just move on. I’m sad to see that a jeweler I used to trust is no longer someone with whom I want to do business (mostly because of how they have handled the whole thing, not because the ring can’t be resized). But I’ve also sent out feelers to people I know who still have connections in the industry to see if there is somewhere else I can go.

I’m tempted to bring Nana Paula’s bracelet to the place that’s recently been recommended to me for an appraisal, to see how their customer service (and their appraisal!) line up with AWJ’s (I’ll probably be posting the name once I get my heirloom back from them. Their customer service has been so painfully bad that I’m a little worried about posting anything on the internet while they have it).

So anyway. So far 2012 has done just as I challenged it to on New Year’s: shown that durn 2011 how awesome a year can be. And now I’m getting sleepy, so I’m going to post this without editing it. Because that’s how I roll. When I’ve had a few drinks.

ps. Please don’t think that I don’t realize exactly how lame I am for going to bed before it’s even 11pm on a Saturday night. That is also how I roll, drunk or sober, since I turned about 30. I am old and lame and I am totally ok with that.

If it’s gonna take a while

If it’s going to take longer than expected to get pregnant, I’ve gotta say… Good beer is a pretty awesome consolation prize.

Rattling Car

Ever gotten in a car where at a certain speed it rattles and shakes so hard, you feel like it’s going to fly apart in a thousand directions? Sometimes, depression is just like that. I know that if I could go faster or slower, maybe this dreadful sensation that I’m about to lose my grip on everything will ease, but the traffic is going 55 all around me so I just need to have faith that things feel worse than they are. I must not fly apart. Traffic will speed back up to 60 soon.

I don’t like to talk about work on this blog so I can’t get into specifics. But right now I have so much anger and pain, so much frustration and rejection. I feel like I just got dumped and at the same time I have the sick sinking tingle in my stomach that I get when I’m about to dump someone I still love. I feel like I’ve been lied to and everyone’s pretending it’s the truth. I thought I could turn right but I missed my turn, and now I have to take three lefts in heavy traffic.

I hate the generic analogy I am using. I regret painting myself into this corner of refusing to talk specifically about a job that is so much a part of my life. But I just can’t shake this feeling and I had to get some of it out. The right path is not always the easiest, and I’m not good at dealing with rejection.

Sirens in the Night

Texas is burning.

The fires in Bastrop, which is only about 30 miles from Austin, have been burning for days. So far over 35,000 acres and 1,000 homes have been destroyed, and firefighters are only now beginning to get it under control. The maps of the fires show all of Northeast Texas ablaze, with new fires springing up all over. Yesterday there was one so close to my vet’s office they could see the thick billowing smoke, and all day today the whole city has been hazy with the campfire-smell of smoke and fear. In the last three months, Central Texas has seen on average less than two inches of rainfall (not per month. Total.) and the drought isn’t likely to break soon. My neighborhood is as much a tinderbox of crumbling brown grass and yellowed trees as anywhere else in the state. It would take no more than a driver’s careless cigarette butt or a gust of wind on a neighbor’s grill to start it. Our neighbor in back had their house burn down just a few weeks ago, and a tree we share caught too. The amazing men and women of the Austin Fire Department kept it from going further but nonetheless that night stands sharp and hot in my mind. I have been afraid of fire for as long as I can remember. I spent many sweaty childhood summer camp nights, crammed into a sleeping bag to avoid the whine of the mosquitoes and listening to the undulating sussuration of crickets and cicadas, worrying that fire is destroying everything I love.

I have been treading a careful line between prepared and paranoid the last few days. Gathering paperwork that we would need if we had to leave our house in a rush, but not putting all I own in a car. Keeping the gas tank full but not leaving the keys in the ignition when at home.

And yet, when I hear a siren spinning up and off into the night, I can’t help but glance around to make sure I can see all the cats. Brief catalogues of canned foods whirl in my mind before dropping back into my ocean of thoughts.

I’m more than nervous, less than terrified. I am on the balls of my feet, ready to burst into fear and run. The adrenaline stays contained, crackling within me, but I’m not sleeping very well these days.

The sirens keep waking me up.

I thought 32 would be awesome

Throughout my life, I’ve felt like there were years that would just somehow be better or worse than others. 27 was slated to be an amazing year since the age of 13 or so, and indeed it was an excellent year. 32 was supposed to be another fantastic year. So far, it feels like it’s not living up to expectations. Sparked by some extremely difficult times at work, I’ve instead found myself struggling through a (hopefully relatively minor) spell of depression. I’m somewhat regretting having already chosen to Not Talk About Work here. I thought I was on top of things in my life, but I feel very out of control. The pressure of ScriptFrenzy has turned out to be too much for me, and my guilt at my own inability to write at the end of 9 hours of barely-hanging-on every day has seriously undermined my ability to update this blog. I’ve been reading Fosterhood in NYC (I’d been savoring it but have now caught up) and decided to try and take a page from Rebecca’s book and just post about inconsequentialiaties (is that a word?) for a while. I’m fascinated by her, her lifestyle choices, and her strength. So I’m just going to try little posts for a while in hopes that I can get back into this.

This week, the big decision has been whether to take the $100 gift card I got at work and: a) buy an $100 Amazon.com gift card for myself for future minor purchases, b) put it towards buying a gas grill so I can stop struggling with charcoal, or c) buying myself a decent pressure cooker. I don’t really want to feel like I frittered the card away on little purchases, although I expect most of them would be books about pregnancy and child rearing. A hundred dollars doesn’t quite make a decent grill affordable, so I would still be spending another hundred+ on the grill. And I can’t imagine what I’d use a pressure cooker for besides corned beef and cabbage. So the card is just sitting in my wallet for now.

I also found out that I might be able to take 12 weeks of maternity leave instead of 6, which is pretty awesome! Maybe, like 27, I’ll find the joy in 32 a little bit later in the year (I got married right before I turned 28). I’d like to have 6 months, but I don’t know that there’s anywhere out there that would offer so much. And not entirely sure I want to know either; I feel pretty trapped already by the knowledge that no one would hire a pregnant woman and FMLA wouldn’t help me at a new job at this point.

I’m starting to mope out loud (ish) aren’t I? That’s enough of that.

I only had coffee this morning.

I am already struggling with creating and maintaining new habits. I don’t do well with, “struggling.” I am easily frustrated and I expect to get things right the first or second time I do them. When it comes to building habits and routines, that means that if I mess up, even once, I get frustrated. Doing something regularly isn’t something you can really improve on; it’s too binary. You either do it or you don’t.  It’s a situation rife with opportunities for frustration.

It’s been a long time since I pushed myself creatively and intellectually on a daily basis, the way full-time learners do. While my job involves learning new things, it’s not like being in school full time, where every single day the primary goal is to learn something new. Build on what you learned yesterday, twist it around to look at it from another angle, internalize it. Learning is (or should be) a state of mind. It’s a way of living your life and I find it beautiful and fulfilling. These days, I learn something in the course of my workday about once a week. I learn something truly exciting to me, something so brain-bustingly fascinating that I think about it for hours, maybe every couple weeks or if I’m having a dry run, months. If I were to win the lottery, I would go back to school and never leave. I feel stilted in my life, and I wonder if it’s my career rather than my job that makes me feel that way.

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