Where should I start?
It's not the first time I've felt this way. If I really wanted to, I could go find my high school Xanga and quote a particularly sadsack entry.
But INSTEAD I'm probably just going to repeat myself unintentionally like a broken iPod...
You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but I'm incredibly insecure. This is probably why I over compensate with a booming personality and in-you-face obnoxious presence. I don't dislike myself, it's just that I can't find something about me that is incredible. My problem is I don't feel talented. I feel average.
Everyone's good at something, right? Some people are brilliant at lots of things. I'm. Just. Not. Don't think I'm feeling sorry for myself, it's just that I've tried loads of things and never found my niche. Artist, musician, vocalist, academic, dancer, comedienne, athlete, writer, corporate pig, laborer. I can do all these things, and pull off most of them.... but it's like all my skills are pooled into too many buckets. I'm not beautiful. But I'm not particularly unattractive. Just average.
This has a point, I promise.
So due to this insecurity, I'm pretty tightly wound, and perhaps I underachieve subconsciously because I'm afraid if I put in all my effort, I'll still fall short. The easier option is just to tell myself, "If I only tried harder, _________ would have been amazing!"
My grades last term are coming in. Fine, nothing to complain about. This term I won't just tell myself to try harder, I actually will put in the effort. Instead of doing my papers at the last minute, I'll start them over a month early. Draft, outline, properly research. This feels very productive.
Yesterday, I met with my adviser to throw ideas off him and show him six pages of citations for various projects that will eventually be handed in. He probably hadn't had a good day because he wasn't his usual cheery, grandfatherly self... but that's not even why I left his office later on with a quivering lip and watery eyes. It wasn't my research process that was lacking, it was my ideas. He told me to come back when I'd better developed something. I didn't tell him that I'd been working on this concept for over two years. It was as close to what It was as close to a substancial research question as I could manage, I thought.
Then I realized I've never really been able to be more than vague and overly general about anything I write about. I am not a person who can look at a text critically and ask, "What are the current tensions in blah blah blah and what does this imply?" My take is to say, "I'm interested in such and such and I'll be exploring blah blah notions" then wander around with words and examples until I've reached my work count.
I arrived to my next lecture late, and it was one of those horrible moments. The room was dark and I tried so hard to put my own troubles on the back burner to focus on the pretty pictures or the seemingly natural way my professor could incorporate obscure words into his lexicon. I realized I was crying. Then I became angry at myself for crying, silently wiping tears away from my face. This was futile because fat little water droplets kept running down my cheeks. Since I was already late for lecture, I couldn't disrupt the class for a second time to leave for the bathroom. I just prayed that no one noticed me in the darkness of the room.
No one did. In fact, after using my scarf to periodically scrub my face and nose (yes, it's in the hamper to get washed) by the end of lecture, I looked as fresh as a daisy, if not a little worn and tired. There I was again, personable and social surrounded by people who had no idea what was inside me. I felt incredibly distanced. Alone in a crowded room.
Long story short, I knew something had to be done. If I didn't handle my emotions, I would resent my advisor and I couldn't afford to avoid him for the next seven months. My only option, it seemed, was to stuff my feelings down. Literally. Punishment.
This would not be a normal binge. I had to torture myself for allowing my carefully constructed facade to crack. On my way home, I used my last few coins to buy a hamburger.
And chicken nuggets.
Ask me when I ate these last. I ate and cried. It was disgusting and sad. But I accomplished what I set out to do: instead of loathing my professor, I hated myself for eating meat.
The worst part is that today it all feels like a fading dream.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Where should I start?