The last jedi

Found my grad school journal (the first time). There she is, 23 year old me. Writing her experience, little feeling.

reference 3/2/11 Student wanted to find 1990 News-Gazette. I checked online in three or four places to see if it was digitized. Also looked online at library–catalog and ORR. Found in catalog, wasn’t sure what years HPNL had. Called and gave patrons directions after getting the affirmative.

Student working on dissertation–oil workers international union, strike of 1945. She had primary sources–needed more secondary sources. She wanted to brainstorm ideas/tips for finding secondary sources. We found some articles in ASP (America History and Life) and she used these articles to brainstorm keywords. I also directed her to subject libraries/librarians-ESSL, BIL (labor/employment relations) and HPNL–since she wasn’t sure which direction she would pursue. 

Who was I then? She seems robotic to me. So focused on the external. The product of my work. So focused on my duties. Did I like it? Did I think the topics were interesting? I only seemed to make note of my feelings when they somehow informed my work:

instruction-TA wasn’t invested. I was nervous had not practiced enough…Realized turning point was different than expected. Student told me after, “I liked it.” Also, several students waved and smiled at me when leaving 😀

That’s it, I drew myself a smiley face of reassurance, and then resumed my note taking for reference. I remember being told to do this, to write down the questions we got and the process we followed. To start ranking our interactions with patrons. Our feelings in classrooms. We had to track our time, effort, and engagement. Ever iterative, working at the library. It fit so well with my head. It fit so well with my thinking. If only I could have stayed that way. Invisible. A robot.

I have to stop fighting the bad in me. I expect that I can’t be loved, that I can’t move on, until I am perfect. No, stop. I have to accept myself the way I am. I have to save what I love. I have to save the bits I love. I have to save. If I keep on this way, fighting myself with all of myself, I will never be satisfied and I will only be exhausted. I will never let myself be, let myself feel and hear and react. I will never let myself out if I keep this up.

 

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Things burn

How do you write about people you know? Your grown-ass slob roommates? Your shallow, superficial coworkers? Do you make them up? Make them up into caricatures, shells of people, vessels for the truths you can’t tell when they’re around. The truths they don’t know about themselves. The truths only you can see.

I had a meltdown the other day. I spend a little bit of every weekend trying to manage this house. Always noticing the dust in the corners, the crumbs on the counter, the muck in the tub. I don’t mind doing a little here and there. Now and then. Something to clear my head, something to pass the time, something to give me that feeling that I’m a little bit in control of my environment. But this day, I didn’t feel like the master of my world; instead, I felt overwhelmed. Always categorizing and measuring the surfaces to clean. Weighing myself down. I need to go somewhere where I am unreachable. I need to sink into myself and get quiet. I can get so quiet. Underwater. Below the surface of me.

I feel myself rage. Hear that demon side of me. Know that while I think I am starving it, it is actually always being nurtured just out of sight. These seeds, these pop rocks of rage, that were planted so subtly by my mother and my grandmother. Some survival instinct that kicks in whenever I start to feel like someone’s maid, someone’s punching bag, someone’s cheerleader, someone’s life coach, someone’s mother. I am no one’s mother. I am not your mother. Hear me rage. Watch me melt.