Monday, October 14, 2019

Dread Revisited

So, remember when I wrote about Dread?
Yeah, we're back there again.

I am getting ready to submit this damn proposal. It's something I need and want to do - but it is such a challenging and vulnerable process.

Yes, I said vulnerable.
I have drunk the Kool Aid, and yes, I am a Brene Brown devotee.

I know I need to be vulnerable with this, but it is so hard sometimes, putting myself out there for criticism, time and time again. I know that it makes me stronger, it makes my science better, and it (usually) turns out better than anticipated.

But oh, it is still so hard. I live in fear that I will send something out for review and that the feedback I receive will boil down to "This is a hot mess" or, "Why on earth did you think that you could do this and succeed?"


It's hard. It's tiring. And it really does a number on your self-esteem and self-worth, if you let it.

So I am trying to remind myself that with vulnerability comes growth. And growth and change are absolutely vital to my success as a scholar.

Here's hoping that the proposal is not viewed as a hot mess. I'll just go for constructive feedback at this point.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hard reset

You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help. 
Bill Watterson

Wow. This week has been unbelievably difficult. I'm so glad I finally made it to Thursday, although there were times yesterday when that was in question. I did not stop from 7:30 (really, 6 am) until 4:30. I was completely fried at the end of the day, questioning my career path, my knowledge, and who I've become professionally. It was the kind of day that completely destroys your self-esteem, your confidence in yourself and your ability to stand up for yourself. 

Most embarrassing, I dumped on several colleagues who I respect highly, whose opinions I value, and I worry that dumping on them may have diminished me in some way in their eyes. I am on a grant deadline, it's not quite coming together the way I want it to, and it's just...frustrating. So. Damn. Frustrating. I need to email them and apologize for dumping on them, but... who knows how they'll receive that. Still, it's what I feel like I need to do. 

I know what I want to say - I know what I need to say - but my words have been muddied by too much input from others. I need to reclaim what I plan to do - to own it, to hone down my writing to the key points that I need to make. I know I need to do this - it's just the doing that's hard. 

Fortunately, I got some sleep last night. I disconnected for a while. And I'm ready to get back to it today. Here's to a better day. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Dear You

What if you closed your eyes?
Would the world fall
apart without you?
Or would your mind
become the open sky
flock of thoughts
flying across the sunrise
as you just watched and smiled.
~ From "Dear You", by Kaveri Patel

I managed to unearth the above verse (and the entire poem) when searching for poems about stillness to share with my class last week. I never did share it - it was quite the discussion - but I love this poem, and it turns out that I love this poet. She's a poet and healer - a medical doctor who writes poetry and leads compassion retreats. What a wonderful combination, and one that speaks to me as a scientist and health care provider. 

These next few weeks are going to be insane, on the personal and professional fronts. I have a grant due in 2 weeks. I'm in the middle of a long-running argument with my spouse. I have multiple guest lectures. 

But I also know that the world will not fall apart without me. It will get done. I don't have to do it all at once. And even more important, I need to remember to close my eyes periodically, or nothing will get done. Rest and disconnection are just as important to my productivity and mental health as putting in the work. Yes, I'm going to work hard. Yes, it will likely suck in multiple ways. But I'll get through. As long as I remember to close my eyes. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Changes...seasonal and otherwise...

This week, fall came. 

Literally overnight. It was 80+ and swampy outside on Monday. This morning, I lamented the fact that I did not have my gloves and scarf (admittedly, I like to wear these earlier than most thanks to some circulation problems I have...). In a week, I've gone from long-sleeved t-shirts to fleece.

And of course I sense that there are changes coming in other areas of my life. My father's having some relatively major medical issues. My parents are cleaning out their house. I'm contemplating where I am in my relationship and whether that has as much of a future as I thought. I am continuing to clean out my apartment, donating items that I no longer use or want. 

I love stability, but sometimes shaking it up (well, except for the medical issues) is so needed. Deep cleaning, reconsidering where we are in life, our habits, expectations, and routines. 

I know that some elements of my life will not change, but... it certainly seems like others will. Here's to seeing what's over the horizon as autumn shifts to winter... but hopefully not next week. 

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Chaos, peace, and reason

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This is sort of a statement about my current perspective on our world, and particularly our own "president" and the unfolding impeachment saga. 
But it's also about the chaos in my own life and my need for peace and reason. It's an insane time of year for me - the nuttiest month in my year, with grants due, teaching, guest lectures, and other responsibilities (that I want!) being added to my plate.
It's a lot. 
And with all the outside chaos, I really need and want peace and reason at home. And I have that - in my own space. But in my relationship, I don't have that. I have chaos in my personal life that quite frankly I don't want or need right now. 
So I'm seeking peace... and hoping to find it. I know that I'll make it through the month work-wise. That's kind of non-negotiable. But having to navigate the personal chaos in addition to that is a lot. 
Hoping to gain some peace the next few days, as hopefully a few things come to a resolution, whatever that is. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Moving through

If you knew how hard it would be and how long it would take in the beginning then you might not try in the first place. You can't guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure: never try. ~David Cain

I've had a lot of ups and downs personally and professionally in the last few weeks. Great days at work followed by those that make me question what the heck I am doing. Great conversations and get togethers with people... only to be followed by long periods of silence during which I fret about what I did or said to turn the other person away.

I'm trying to remember that patience will pay off. I need to persist to succeed. But sometimes it's tiring. Sometimes I want to step off the treadmill - of grant submission after grant submission, meeting after meeting, constant worry about my relationships and how others perceive me. Sometimes, I'd give almost anything to just get away from it all, go way up north where no one knows me, and no one knows how to find me, and just... be.

And then I remember that for right now, I have to be in the trenches. I need to persist, see these things through...and that the time for rest will come. Sometimes the only way out, is through.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Like and unlike

I need something more lighthearted today.
Heavy work and thinking weekend. Lots of pondering about what to do next in a certain situation, worrying about something going on in my family this week, and just general (normal-for-me) anxiety.

So, something a bit lighter.

I have officially turned into my mother. The tipping point was yesterday, when I found myself rinsing out Ziploc bags to reuse. I have a goal to not buy them anymore - to change to reusable ones. But the issue is that I still wash and reuse them all the time. And I said I would never do that! mostly because my mother did. And I thought it was absurd and ridiculous. Now, of course, I realize that she was absolutely doing the right thing, if she wasn't going to (or wasn't able to) switch to reusables (they didn't exist when she started doing this...)

I put water in the dish detergent to get every last bit out of the bottle.

I squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom up.

I haven't started telling the same stories over and over (and over) again, but I anticipate that will start soon.

I want to chop off all my hair, a move she made when she was just a bit younger than me.

We like the same books.

We like the same food.

We both laugh at my father and his overreaction to things like a man-cold.

If you saw us together, you'd know we're related

And yet, I differ so much from her in other ways - important (to me) ways.

Politically, spiritually, socially. She's an extrovert with a loud voice who likes to dominate conversation and doesn't know what to do with a weekend without plans.

I am... not an extrovert with a loud voice, and there is nothing I like more than a quiet weekend without plans.

I shop at thrift shops, nearly exclusively. She shops at Talbots.

She wears makeup to go to the gym sometimes, and always, always, wears jewelry.

Um, yeah. My 1-minute makeup "routine" is the essence of minimalism.

And yet. There are still these hints of her in my actions, in what I do unconsciously on a daily basis.

It's reassuring and comforting, in a way, to know that some of what I do is not new to me, but instead rooted in years of observation and absorbing her way of doing things, even if I once ridiculed it. I haven't changed everything about who I was before, where I came from. I've changed a lot, yes, but there are still vestiges of who I was that persist.

And I'm okay with that.