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Archive for July, 2009

Shine On

I had a crew once.  You know, multiple people who all mutually enjoyed hanging out with each other.  Do you think you outgrow these?  Or did I just leave mine behind?  Can you find new ones?  And do I even want a new crew?  I’ve always been awkwardly self sufficient.

I’ve been getting some flack from people around here about being out of touch, not in contact enough.  I was doing dishes tonight and suddenly felt lonely.  And I called my sister, and felt better.  I realized this:  I very rarely get lonely enough to reach out.  I’m much more apt to keep myself busy and not lean on others because it feels like my troubles are my own troubles, which will go away in time, and no one else can fix.  There’s always one exception to this – there’s always one person and one person only I really want to help me.  It was Ban.  Then Steen.  Cerise.  Steen again!  Tiff.  Jess.  Armand.  Darin.   And now that I’m married, Lewis fills this spot permanently.  It’s not that my other friends were less loved or less appreciated or less needed, even.  Just that I seem to be only able to be really open with one person at a time.  And other than that, I’ve always been the one to receive calls from my friends who need someone to talk to – not the one who makes them.  I don’t want to be that person.  Which leaves me with what I’ve got – I miss having people close enough to me that I would call them just to say hi, and see what’s going on today.  I just don’t think there’s a way to forge these friendships without crisis.

I’ve only had three real crews – the Band, the YSIB set (of which I was more of a hanger-on), and my Russkiis.  The Band and the Russkiis both are formed out of tough times – friends from new schools, teenage years, learning to grow up together, to live life together.  I’m not in the market for someone to help me grow up – I have Lewis who is my partner in everything and is the only person I need or want to grow old with.  I suppose grad school is potentially one of those times we should all be super-bonding, but grad school is full of self-driven, independent, serious folks.  We only got where we are by not needing our hand being held.  It does not really breed people who need people.

Every day feels like I’m reading the preamble to the text of my life.  And that preamble tells me so much about myself, and so little that has any application to my life.  So I’m ready to admit I’ve always played as well alone as with others, and that most times playing alone is less stressful because you’ve got no one else to please. My friends will still always be bothered that I don’t call out of the blue.  I’m honest to goodness not ignoring anyone, I just have a very high threshold for a need for human contact.  I fully acknowledge this might perpetuate this lack of friend cohesion…


I want to be able to relax completely.  I always think that this necessitates my doing nothing so that I can stop and think through all the things I put aside while I’m busy.  It turns out, thinking stresses me out because I spiral into goodness-knows-where and the enormity of life engulfs my good intentions.

Today is one of those days, even though I have been doing a fair amount of work and I’m feeling sorta busy.  I wish I knew how to vanquish my pessimism.  I know, logically so, that my life is good, and that everything will turn out fine in both the short and long term of it.  I remain consumed with a feeling of inadequacy and inevitable failure.  Failure in both hind- and foresight.  Trapped in this irreconcilable middle, feeling as though I’ve screwed up my life so far, and I’m certainly not strong enough to change my own behavior, so I’ll screw up my future in the same way.  I vacillate between the two – the knowledge that I’m doing well by myself and that I’m exceeding the expectations of 20-somethings as a whole, but that in my specific circumstances I’m a poorly performing graduate student with no vision and no promise for the future.  Part of my inner self knows that I’m well suited, like my mother, for a variety of mundane tasks – secretary stuff, administrative stuff, organizational stuff – and that sometimes makes me feel like I’m an office worker trapped in grad school.  As though getting this PhD is proving something irrelevant to myself, and that I’ll take my doctoral title and go back to making photocopies for somebody I find illogical or incapable in a company whose business philosophy is retarded at best.  Yet that I have some sort of quixotic martyrical desires and, while frustrating, this work would be fulfilling.  Somehow trying to make my own career in a subject I think is fascinating seems irresponsible, and that what I really need to be doing is settling down, having a steady job, and starting a family.

My aggravation with this thought pattern seeps into every little nook.  I seethe at my perception of peoples’ expectations of me.  I shy away from opportunities to make good impressions.  I ignore the work I know I have to do, because doing it at all seems like such a futile endeavor when I feel as though I’m just pretending to be some kind of promising academic.  I’ll end up selling everyone’s hopes up the river when they all figure out that the university job I’ve applied for is undergraduate advisor for some archeology department in Montana.  The office aide at some company you’ve never heard of in Tacoma.  I don’t see how I get from where I am – weirdly, sitting my house in California – to where I’m supposed to be, that doesn’t involve me moving to Auburn and getting a bullshit job.   What I’m saying is this:  where the hell am I supposed to even be?  What am I trying to accomplish?