Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday morning things

Edited to add: Guys, I'm just struggling today. I hope this is just because my allergies are bad but I'm tired and full of the "dunwannas" and am about one bad thing happening away from just melting down in tears. I have too much to do not to be productive today.

Another Edited to Add: I figured out part of why the "not giving a darn except about things that give you total joy" bugs me. It comes from a very privileged position.

How many of us, in our jobs, can say, "Nope, not doing that" to something we dislike? There are PLENTY of times where grading not only fails to bring me joy, it's an active drag and a pain. Or submitting all the paperwork I must submit. Or dealing with a "revise and resubmit" on a manuscript. Or, or, or. Maybe if I were special and rich and a freaking SUPERSTAR, I could say, "Nope, not doing that, it doesn't make me happy" about things.

The other thing is: there are just some cruddy tasks out there. But they need to be done. What happens if everyone in a household decides that doing the dishes fails to bring them sufficient joy in order to want to do it? Do they wind up hiring someone, figuring money is enough of a motivation - or, alternatively, NOT CARING about whether that person is "brought joy" by washing someone else's cruddy dishes. I think that's exactly what bugs me: the airy assertion that there are sufficient "little people " or sufficient people who have a twisted sense of joy that they will willingly scrub the toilets or rake the leaves or sit through a hundred grade-appeals, and the person who doesn't feel "joy" at that is off the hook.

And there are a lot of things that are Not Fun but they are Important. I would much, much rather not have the Independent Project in one of my classes. It is a lot of work for me and sometimes causes pain (as when a student calls me up two days before the due date and says their project failed, and what am I going to do so they can pass? or the time I caught a plagiarist). But it's important the students get practice in this kind of thing, and I'm the logical one to do it. (And I will just note my frustration with someone who quit doing papers in their classes, and then told me smugly they were "glad" I was still doing it BECAUSE THEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO. And then went on to talk about how they were "working smarter instead of harder" because apparently I had chosen to work harder. Yeah, I'm a little bitter about that)

Am I wrong about the fact that adulthood is often doing stuff you hate, because it has to be done? Or am I just one of the "little people" who gets stuck doing that stuff because I'm not Important enough not to give a darn about it?

I dunno. Feels like of Harold Skimpole-ish to me to say, "Nope, not gonna do it, because it doesn't spark joy in me. You do it instead"

And yeah, I know I'm being cranky about this, but I'm insufficiently important - even in my own life - to be able to turn down the "scut work" and make someone else do it. And I sometimes wind up doing OTHERS' scut work because they manage to skate around it. 


On the "Marie Kondo is our god now" front, there's an article out there (Here's the link, but be forewarned about every other word in there is the "f" word. I will euphemize that to "darn" here).

I dunno. I am telling myself that article is parody. Because I am the kind of person who is socialized to give a darn about EVERYTHING and to give a darn about things ALL THE TIME.

And I suspect that my giving a darn too much is the secret of whatever success I have, just as I suspect the dogged diligence about getting stuff done before deadlines even if it kills me is part of my success. Some days, when I'm really down on myself, I feel like I'm not that smart or that good or that talented, so my ability to give a darn is about all I've got, it's the only thing that separates me from the primordial ooze, so I have to give a darn.

And yes, that article points out that being a people-pleaser (which I am, but I was trained early that that's the ONLY way to get people to like you, and it's hard to break habits learned in childhood) is part of giving too many darns and giving darns when not really appropriate.

But anyway. That's probably partly why this lawn stuff has upset me so deeply. (And again, I feel like: no one EVER sees it when I successfully juggle fifteen balls; they only notice when I've dropped ONE.)

I dunno. I'm trying to pivot this in my head so I don't get all cranky again.

My tutoring student was back in this morning. So far it's been every Tuesday and Thursday for at least 20 minutes since early October. At least now I get the sense he's beginning to understand the material better (Or, what's more likely: he's realizing that to learn this stuff you have to put the time in). I'm really REALLY really hoping he earns a good grade on the exam today because then I will feel like I haven't wasted my time. And also not feel like a failure, because if this student doesn't get his stuff together after all this tutoring it's at least partly on me.

(Heh: random thought. Maybe a Modern Beatitude would be "Blessed are those who give a darn, because...." Well, I don't actually know how a person like that would be blessed; I sure don't think we'll inherit the earth because we're too busy picking up other people's litter or making sure there are snacks for the kids at church)

The other thing about people selectively not giving a darn: this is where I get screwed over in life. Quite frequently, it seems, when I depend on someone for something, they don't come through. So I wind up doing more stuff than I probably should have to, but that's because certain people have "trained" me that "people are unreliable and you can only be sure of depending on yourself"

I also tend to see deadlines as "hard" deadlines. (I forgot to order spring textbooks and the orders were due yesterday. I did the orders first thing this morning but now I'm worried my textbooks won't be on the shelves for my students. Oh well. I mean, seriously: asking faculty to order textbooks for NEXT semester when we're giving midterms for the current one? Also it's a buggy online interface and I'm not at all convinced my orders actually went through, despite getting a confirmation screen).

I'm not sure but I think I might have a touch of poison ivy around one eye. At any rate: the eye has been hived up and itchy since Sunday. (This was actually how my hives first began: bad exposure to poison ivy including getting it around one eye. And then all heck broke loose and I turned up allergic to everything).

And I have to cook for the college kids tonight. Just oven fried chicken again (someone else is providing all the sides and dessert) but still that's an effort and something to juggle in with monitoring my experiment and grading the exams I give today and getting the copies made for tomorrow and DARN IT I am so tired....


Actually, thought about this while invigilating the exam: I got, somewhere during my youth (probably from peers) the idea that my value as a human being laid in what I could do, especially what I could do for other people. I have a very hard time accepting the "you have value because you exist" argument, at least for me. I don't know how to work on that.

I think it does also tie into what I was talking about earlier about "Martha vs. Mary" - on some level, Martha is the one who believes in "works," and Mary is the one who just has "faith" (or you could caricaturize them as such). (Though it's more than that: Martha has to "do" and Mary is able to just "be.") Sometimes I wish I was better at just "being" and accepting that I am good enough because I exist, and I don't have to constantly work to prove that I'm good enough, but that's just how I am and I don't know how to change it.

Part of this is that I'm unusually allergy-ridden today and I'm tired and kind of sad just over stuff (already the local CBS affiliate is advertising "Watch us November 8 for election coverage!" and my reaction is "I'd rather remove my own wisdom teeth with a bayonet, thanks") and a friend of mine from church (and former colleague - she retired from my department a few years ago) is going in for a pacemaker on Friday and while I'm telling myself it's routine and she's otherwise in decent health and she will be fine still there's that concern at the back of my mind.

I really need a do-over on Fall Break. Another day to go shopping and hang out with Laura, another day of just doing what I want....and an entire day free to knit or quilt without feeling driven to write and grade exams and cut brush in my yard. But I'm not gonna get it.

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