lines in sand
It’s been a kinda nice, easy day for me so far. We wrapped up a never-die project on Friday, so I was aware I’d be moving on to something new today. My boss emailed me last night with a 911 thing for me to do this morning, and I dunked it in the first hour or so. This is rare. It was really fun to talk to a great guy who was full of entertaining stories. Even better, that I could help him reach a goal. It reminded me of how much I really do like being able to chat with all kinds of people I’d never get to meet otherwise. From there, I went back to what we call The Bench. AKA the place where you wait for the new thing that will determine your work happiness for however long it lasts. I knew it could be a while before I heard anything. I’m still waiting, and it may not be till tomorrow at this point. And while I probably should have been writing and perfecting my thesis, I decided to just chill out today and not worry about it. (Well, as I handled various fires and responded to the email that never stops).
Part of me felt mega-guilty for taking a break, and part of me felt righteously deserving of such things. But a conversation I had with my thesis advisor yesterday helped me feel better. She liked my draft and thinks I have something meaningful on my hands–but it needs a stronger focus. I hate it. The draft she has was from a couple weeks ago, and I’ve made major decisions since then. Namely, that–instead of just making blind recommendations–I’m going to use a filter organization to illustrate how people will use this thing I’m creating. This means a lot of extra work I don’t have to do–but that I think will tie everything together pretty well and will also be something I can actually give the nonprofit in question–that will immediately help them solve something I witnessed while working with them in the past. The decision to do this was what got me wanting to quit last week. Because how the hell am I going to get all of that done before xyz? My prof is an amazing woman who tells it like it is, so I trust her. She told me I’m too colloquial and need to take out all my chit-chatty whatever (which I totally am aware of). But she also recognized how much work is left–that it’s all really done, but needing some digesting and organizing and polishing. So, she offered me something that I never considered before and that instantly took all the pressure off. I have options that mean more time–if I need it–but whether I choose that route or not is entirely up to me. We’ll see where I am on Sunday. For now, I’m committed to putting my head down and doing what I can as quickly as I can. But I’m not going to kill myself to do it. Still, more time–for me–is not always a good thing. I work better under pressure. I focus better and the gremlins in my head have less of a chance to take over. Besides, I CAN get this done if I just decide to do it and then–well–do it.
Besides, if I have any more time, I’ll probably scrap it all and decide on a completely different topic!
Meanwhile, one of my classmates just turned hers in today. She didn’t want to look at it anymore and just decided she had to finish. So she did. It’s inspiring and terrifying. And makes me feel like a loser because I am always the first done. Heh.
It’s really rare for me to have a crisis of confidence, honestly. Or at least, consciously. My confidence problems are usually more subtle–not paralyzing. Either that, or I’ve learned to cope with it in ways that allow me to function. It’s even more unusual for me to feel this way about an academic thing–especially one involving work I’ve done for almost 15 years now. I know this stuff. I do this stuff all day, every day, so that’s how I knew it was about more than the writing and the research. It was about letting go of a life that used to be mine and accepting the one I have + the one I want.
I didn’t expect it to ring such a chord with people, but–apparently–it did. It reminded me that vulnerability is a good thing, and that what I have to say still matters.
On the other hand, part of me felt weird about it–in a way that isn’t usual for me. I’ve been vulnerable on the Internet for a long time. It usually doesn’t faze me. But having people respond to it felt like too much in a way. I was glad I shared it–because it helped people, and I needed to–but something in me wanted to hold some things back.
That feeling has been coming and going for a while now, I guess–if I really think about it. Sometimes, I feel like I erect walls or like–as hard as I try–I can’t say what’s really in my heart…what I want to say. Maybe because I think someone who shouldn’t be reading is or because I don’t really enjoy being vulnerable in the crowded…yet often silent…room that is the Internet. I’ve held various opinions throughout my time blogging. Which has led me to zip things up every so often.
I’ve realized that a lot of this is me struggling with boundaries–as I always have–and that this is yet another version of it. I want to share–need to share–but sometimes, it recreates the patterns of abandonment and love addiction that come from parts of me I still don’t understand. Sometimes, it still feels inappropriately intimate. And while I know, for me, connecting with people is a necessary thing–it’s hard because the venue is kinda not. I try to filter things and edit myself in ways that make sense–but sometimes–like yesterday–I say things out loud and then doubt why I did that. Even if the net effect is ultimately good. I’m still figuring it out.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to change how I blog–with varying degrees of success. Now that school is almost over, and I’m taking a break from academia for a little while, I’ve decided to make something new for myself. I’ve been vaguely studying UX design, and I’ve had an idea for a long time for a new Web site that’s more true to who I am. It’d be a chance to practice my skills and really just start over when it comes to my writing online. So, once I’m done with the thesis, I’m going to start building the site and making the writing part more prominent in my life.
The only problem is that I don’t know where my personal life fits in. If it should at all–or if I should keep this site going just for those things. I feel like this part tends to take over and tends to distract me from what I really want to share–openly and healthily. Things like the stuff I studied in school. Real discussions about things happening in the world. Things that make me happy and things that matter to me, essentially. Instead of me just writing to cope. My feeling is that these types of things belong off-line more than they do online. But I dunno. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t share my stories–just maybe only the stories that don’t hurt so much. Maybe the things I’m ready to share without wincing when I realize someone actually read it–and that it affected them enough to say so.
I guess I just want to take what I do here more seriously and hold myself more accountable for the way I process my life rather than relying on public discussions to do the heavy lifting.
Thanks for reading so far. Stay tuned for whatever comes next.