Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Something strange and scary is happening to me. Once upon a time I was what used to be called an "over-achiever" and has now been politically correctified to be "super achiever." I have, as a rule, always loaded my plate to ever-teetering heights, juggling tasks and jobs and emails and people with the skill of a Cirque de Soleil performer. Sure, it has taken its toll in a variety of ways, on psyche and body alike. But up until very recently it could still be done without much consequence.

I don't know if it is the process of having been in graduate school for nearly two years, having done the radio show for equally as long or if I am starting to wear out on the process of trying to get a book published, but a switch has been flipped inside me and the result is not pleasing me. I can't do as much. Not only am I less motivated (a problem I have NEVER had), I get positively frozen at times. I stare at my novel-in-progress and feel as though I am being asked to take the SATs all over again.

The irony of course is that on some level this is probalby healthy, since over-doing is an adaption to unhealthy circumstances to begin with. It comes with a strange sense of grief too, like something is being lost, though that seems silly. I feel silly writing about this, but maybe in my own way I'm hoping someone will advise me.

Last night Joy L. and I went to this reading for a publication that I had a piece in. It was held in a nice little place in Cotati and there was free food, but I really didn't know anybody (except for Joy--my portable friend for the evening :) ). And not only that, they all seemed so young and I had this strange out of body feeling, almost a panic, that I really shouldn't be there. I'm not sure if it was the strange fellow usurping Joy's seat and drinking her wine that did it, but we were equally ready to leave. So, guiltily on my part, we pushed out into the rain and holed up in this funky little cafe across the street that is one part thrift store, or maybe the place where the Franklin Mint creatures go when they're not loved anymore, and equal parts coffee shop, ice cream parlor and tobaccerie...it was cool. There, we had a nice talk and it was truly the best part of the whole evening.

I felt all full of great ideas and energy and a surge of belief in myself, only to get up this morning and fall apart under the pressure of the blank page. Yesterday I was full of belief in myself and good cheer, and today I'm slumped low. I don't really understand it. I seem to experience a downfall day after each day that I feel really good. I think that I feel this way only in direct relationship to my desire to achieve certain things. In other words, when I ride my bike and jog on the weekend, sit in cafes with Erik and relish in the small things of my life, I'm happy. When I want more, bigger, things that require praise and reward and validation, I begin to slide into this place of despair. So shit...what should I do?

Suggestions welcome.


At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I want more, bigger, things that require praise and reward and validation, I begin to slide into this place of despair."

Praise, reward and validation all come from external sources, and you're maturing to the point where you don't need external approval to feel good about yourself. You're at a new point now, and the "more" and the "bigger" are fine to pursue, so long as you're pursuing them for YOU, and not for the atta-boys of others.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Thanks, whomever you are!!




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