I spend a fair chunk of my life being overwhelmed. Some of it is the good kind – overwhelmed by joy, for example – and some of it is bad.
Right now, it’s the bad.
Autumn is difficult for me. Last autumn, I separated from Chad, but that’s not the reason for the difficulty. Autumn is difficult for me because I have an urge to consolidate, wrap things up, clean and reorganize, get everything in order for the winter months. These things are respectable, but I have always had a great deal of trouble with linear planning of larger projects. When I get home, and my apartment is messy, I just see Mess. I don’t see individual tasks that, accomplished one by one, will make the Mess go away, so more often than not, I just crawl into bed and sleep.
I know there are various systems that encourage one to clean for fifteen minutes daily. These work for people who can see small bits of progress and reward themselves accordingly. I don’t consider myself impatient, but I do know that I have been unable to see how little projects contribute to overall success.
I used to make lists, endless lists, that I was infamous for within my social circles. Lists helped, to be sure. I still make lists, but instead of being encouraged by the tick-marks next to each thing, I only see more and more adding up, leaving me always behind.
Work has been one unfinished project after another, ever since I can remember. Despite what many people think, the nature of library work is creating order around chaos. It is not a strictly regimented thing, regardless of its catalogs and classifications. Whenever human beings are involved, things get messy, to paraphrase a linguistics teacher I once had. It is ultimately unsatisfying, then, to never be able to finish a day’s work. There are always things to leave for tomorrow, for next week, for next semester. Even if I worked 16-hour days, seven days a week, I could not finish it all.
So I take this mentality home with me, and instead of seeing my little apartment as something I can complete, it turns into another unending project. To vacuum, I first have to clean my floor, which means I have to take some boxes to the dump, which means I have to somehow heft the boxes up two flights of stairs and into my car, and find the public dump – because All Dumpsters In Marin County Have Padlocks, don’t you know – and get there before the gate closes.
Instead of ever getting this done, I just vacuum around the boxes and remain miserable. It’s silly, I know, and I’m trying to get past it. The last time I tried to lift one of the boxes, I only made it as far as the door before I had to put it down; it was just too heavy. So that means I need to break it down into smaller boxes, which means buying smaller boxes, which means a trip to the mailboxes place … etcetera. Let’s not even get into the laundry issue. Why can’t laundry ever be Finished? Just for one day. I suppose I could go naked to achieve this, but it’s getting a bit cold for that.
Social situations have overwhelmed me lately, as well. I just don’t know how to communicate with some people, it seems. I want to, but I get very easily angered by certain types of behavior. When someone tells me they’re taking me to dinner, I don’t feel flattered; I feel angry. I don’t tolerate being told what to do, even if it’s something nice. Similarly, when someone tells me that I will like something even though I have clearly expressed to them I won’t, I don’t feel like being diplomatic; I feel like telling that someone to fuck off. I have acquiesced too much in my past, and am now paying for it by this horrible backlash.
I was describing this to FunkyPlaid on the phone the other day, and he related a story about a friend of his. His friend decided that she was going to cull all the negative things and energy drains from her life – including friendships. And so she did so, in a straightforward manner, much to the dismay and even hurt of people in her life. My first reaction to this story was one of upset: I couldn’t imagine willfully hurting people, even people who had become negative influences on my life. Then I thought … wait a minute. Isn’t it better to do something like this than it is to just avoid confrontation and let things fade away, leaving one or more parties to just wonder what had ever happened, without resolution? Although I hope I don’t have a lot of culling to do in the way of people, a lot of behaviors and activities are going to go. Some people will necessarily go as a result. And while that is inevitable, it still makes me so very sad.
Another thing that’s depressing me these days is the undergraduate degree fiasco I’m handling. UAB has not yet given me a diploma, although I have completed all my credits and filled out my “intent to graduate” form and paid my graduation fee and submitted my individually-designed major application. In order to enroll in graduate school, I need that diploma, and I need it before October 15th. This week, when I spoke with my advisor at UAB, she informed me that things didn’t look good, because the one person who had to sign off on this whole thing was “a stickler for the rules”, in her words. “What rules have I broken?” I asked her. She said none, but that since this was such a Special Case, he might take issue with it.
The only reason this got to be a Special Case was that I was not informed before I moved to San Francisco that I hadn’t graduated due to a problem with credits not transferring from Edinboro to UAB.
First of all, they take away my linguistics major, since the department closed the year after I left UAB, so my major is now “the Structure and Culture of the English Language”. (Why they couldn’t have let me call it “linguistics” I will never know.) Secondly, they might not even let me graduate, even though I’ve completed everything and jumped through all the hoops.
I just don’t have it in me to start all over a third time. I just don’t. And I can’t continue with my education without an undergraduate diploma. It’s such a fucking mess. If you have any good thoughts to send my way, please do. I’m trying not to give up on … just … everything. It all seems to be more than I can handle right now.
Current mood: Current music: