Currently Accepting Advice

I kept my thoughts to myself. I received a note from my professor that said, “well, now you’re a senior…,” but she doesn’t know I have to trudge through the muck of summer school. In my opinion, classification of academic ranking takes initiative at the beginning of the fall quarter. In the fall, I will be a senior. This means that all summer long, I will be a junior. But she doesn’t need to know that. She just finished her dissertation and received her doctorate, and is currently in the process of moving to Turkey to teach English; she has other things on her mind. In any event, the process of rectifying life carries characteristics of speed, in that life seems to be flying by, and drag, in that here I am, still prodding along that venerable and valiant junior.

I found out I do not fully possess pseudo-psycho-intellectual ability. I have a tendency to take what I read at face value. People who dig and dig and dig for hyper-deep meaning in poetry phrases, they are nuts. Squeezing meaning out of a few lines of poetry is actually quite mind-absorbing, but I find I am much more interested in character interconnectivity and plot development. I think I’m seeing the types who converse in depth on the meaning of single lines of poetry are the types who can afford their own vineyards and keep vast amounts of expensive wine and cheese for their surprise dinner guests. Of course this is a gruesome stereotype that probably does not mimic truth, but I don’t know, some of the cafes I see…I just…I guess I’ve been immersed in a depraved state of poverty for too long. Does cheese even keep?

I am overwhelmed by the extent of things I have to do this summer. It all begins with money, or the problem of the lack of it. The point in time when I realize these things is strange, because the amount I have to do is so staggering, that the only thing I can do at the moment when I realize, is plop down on my floor mat and stare at the ceiling. I mean, there’s so much to do, where do I begin?

Then there is next year. The last year. I had a few friends graduate, and what a feeling that must be. I will have to lose weight and get plastic surgery to graduate, I look deplorable. What is most interesting, however, is awaiting either: an acceptance to grad school, or, will I have to get a job. The suspense is killing me and I think a xanax refill is on the horizon. My therapist continually restates the zen mantra: live in the moment, breath. This “serenity now” mindset never seems to work for me for some reason. To add in the thought of marriage on top of all this is impacting. I think I could turn wobbly like jello, fall and jiggly-vibrate on the floor when I realize how unorganized, how much the lack of stability runs amuck in my life.

I think I fell apart at the seams for a minute there, and I encountered a fascinating thing when I did. The difference between strength and weakness is powerful. Being weak means losing, feeling terrible, being laughed at even, yelled at, and more. Being weak means being incapable of dealing with life as it comes. In addition, being self-deprecatory in a world that is already out to destroy a person compounds the debilitating effect of a weak mind.

Strength on the other hand. Being strong means adapting, overcoming fear, facing facts and not being lazy. Strength requires courage and innovation. Strength is self-confidence and staggering persona without taking on the characteristics of arrogance. Strength is wisdom and wisdom is beauty. Strength is reliability and passion, the ability to rise to the occasion and accept the challenges. Is their a gray area between strength and weakness?

I was lucky to have a little break by which I will have to address many factors and prepare for more, because I have a theme in my life that I simply cannot escape: I went through a terribly frightening time, and when I see how much I’ve lost to those execrably black years, I see the reason why I can’t let the amorphous cloud of failure loom to form over my life.

But any type of advice is welcome and appreciated.

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6 Responses to Currently Accepting Advice

  1. jnanarama says:

    I don’t take such a heroic stance on “strength.” I am routinely labeled as this “strong woman” or “strong person” – when what they mean is that I keep having to trudge through shit and I haven’t taken up drugging myself, it hasn’t killed me, and I haven’t killed me. Wow. If that is strength, I’ll take weakness. Weakness is when you still have to trudge through shit, but you fall down and cry, incapacitate yourself, so someone else has to save you and you get to stop.

    So what is it called when you would fall down and cry, needing someone to save you, needing it to stop, but no one will or you don’t even have a someone to notice, and THAT is why you don’t give up? I don’t think that is strength, I think it’s just hell. Just freaking hell. It’s a whole other thing outside of character building because it doesn’t involve choice.

    That’s my philosophical input… on the advice end, I don’t know why people continue to want my advice, except maybe because I’ve done everything wrong and I’ve made all the mistakes to learn from in one person. But I may email you about my recent experience in counseling.

  2. jnanarama says:

    I’m sorry – that probably wasn’t helpful. It’s hard to offer advice, for me, because I like to intellectualize problems, and people shouldn’t be treated that way.

    The mind does what it can to help protect in any way it can in times of stress… And I don’t feel that I have a right to strip down your own protection and expose any inconsistencies. It can just be too hard to take.

    • LK says:

      jnanarama,

      You ARE a strong woman.

      Your first reply read like a post I did earlier about pain being weakness leaving. The idea that one is hurting and no one notices, and thus charges on, is in the process of being strong. I agree about the “hell” part because, even though persisting through such hells is strength, why does it continually have to be hell. Life seems that without the proper alignment and factors coming into play at a young age, then the rest of life can be downright miserable. Growing up is serious business.

      The apology should come from me, I didn’t respond soon enough and you felt compelled to apologize…but you didn’t have to, your words and input are appreciated…this post is a strange post that reflects some serious things I went through, but somehow you sensed that.

      I thank you.

  3. woowooteacup says:

    “Being weak means losing, feeling terrible, being laughed at even, yelled at, and more.”

    Whoa! Hold on there. A couple of these are things happening to someone by means of an outside force. Being laughed at and yelled at doesn’t mean you are weak. It means whoever is doing the yelling or laughing is deplorable. And if someone is yelling and laughing at you, you have every right to feel terrible. Losing? What is that? Everyone loses something in life. The strength comes in dealing with that loss gracefully, even if the grace doesn’t come immediately. Just keep going, as imperfect as you think your reactions are. That’s the way to strength and growth.

    As for feeling overwhelmed and trying to get things done, I make lists. I’m in an artist workshop right now and our last class was on time management. If a task is really overwhelming – too large to feel like you can get it done – break it down in very small pieces and do those. If I think I’m not making a lot of progress on my daily list, I’ll write down something I’ve just finished and give myself the satisfaction of crossing it off immediately. (How’s that for strength and courage?)

  4. LK says:

    Mary,

    Part of the process of enabling strength was through such a post as this, as I have written the feelings that came to mind and allowed for a closer and more realistic perspective to form, especially through the eyes of others. You and jnanarama made matters clearer for me. This quarter around, I wasn’t exactly isolating, I had some friends to talk to, but I went through some heavy duty pressures that pushed me to the limit…I am really glad that it’s over, and I am taking some tools with me for the next round. Putting all of it down in my cryptic way was actually a smart move, because now I’ve got a view into the friendships I cherish here online, and I think the reason for cherishing them is very clear.

    On the other, less emotionally charged note, guess who has a note-to-self here about making a list…and I like the idea of crossing things off, those are signs of progress.

    Artist workshop?

    You are a well-spring of energy, Mary, I am always looking to the next round of surprises from you. : )

  5. jnanarama says:

    I have additional thoughts on this, but I think I’ll just blog them over yonder, as they do tend to get long.

    I don’t feel strong. Maybe the word is courageous. Longsuffering? That sounds a little too Biblical. Hmm. How about, “excessively human.” ?

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