Monday, November 07, 2005

Mea Culpa

When I sat down to blog this morning, for the first time I wasn't brimming over with stuff I couldn't wait to write down. I couldn't come up with something to say.

So I read my favorite blogs, hoping for a little inspiration as well as the pleasure I get from dipping my toe into other women's lives.

I enjoyed some nice reads, but as far as an idea of my own?

Nope. Nada.

I know why this is. I shall confess.

In confessing, I will also be revealing something to Andy, something about which I am so profoundly ashamed I cannot even speak it to him. But he reads this blog, and I guess I need to get this out there so that I can think and write about something--anything--else. It's time for me to suck it up and be brave.

I have a freelance project I'm supposed to be working on. I'm writing an online speech course for Pearson Education, the textbook people. It's supposed to be completed by November 17th. I spent one whole weekend a few weeks ago completing Unit 1, of 5, and was so racked out by the time it was done, both mentally and physically, that I haven't been able to look at the stuff since.

I told my instructional designer and the project manager I'd have Units 2 & 3 done this weekend.

I didn't work on it on Saturday. I got my hair done and then worked a shift at the dinner theatre. Home at 11:30 p.m.

Andy took the kids to his mom's on Sunday so I could have the whole day to work. I slept until 10:45 a.m. (thanks honey) and then puttered around until they left at 1:30 p.m. I got in the shower. I circled warily around the computer in widening circles, like the wake after a stone.

I did laundry. I avoided the computer. I did the dishes. I wouldn't look at the computer. I put away the enormous stack of books on the armchair in the boys' room. I stayed out of the room wherein dwells the computer.

Feeling panicky, I called Andy at his mom's, ready to confess that I was freaking out and to ask for his help?/encouragement?/something. But then when he picked up the phone I chickened out and just pretended like I called to tell him his grandmother had called from Florida, and to check on how they were all doing. I totally lost my nerve.

I hung up the phone, and continued straightening up the house, and finally approached the computer. Only to open up a couple of Word files to make it look like I'd been working, so that when Andy got home he wouldn't get angry with me for slacking off all day.

I feel like suck.

Sometimes I think I have performance related anxiety disorder. I spent yesterday feeling exactly like I did the night I almost lost my mind in the associate faculty office at school, twitching around and avoiding working on my thesis. I physically couldn't do it. I felt nauseated. I contemplated faking sick. I hold my breath whenever I think about it. It makes me dizzy.

This is awful. I am so ashamed. If I do this, I'll be paid $2000. $2000! I NEED that money for Ethan's school. I have been on the verge of tears and vomit ever since yesterday and I wish I could get past this naughty-teenager behavior I always resort to where my biggest fear is getting in trouble. From my husband. Jesus, what is wrong with me?!

Now I'm avoiding checking my email, because I know the Pearson people will be all, where's the stuff?

I HATE sleep deprivation, and time away from my kids so much. It's like torture to force myself to do this kind of late-night, lonely work.

And then, I can't admit it to my husband, with whom I should be able to share anything. He freaking forces himself to go EVERY DAMN DAY to a job where he is shamefully and insultingly undervalued, for ridiculously little pay, and to do work that would bore anyone to tears, because he takes care of his responsibilities.


I am a horrible person right now.

I'm so sorry honey.

I think I need some help. Is there someone who specializes in this kind of psychology? Like a sports psychologist, but for failing-to-live-up-to-their-potential, thesis-avoiding, freelance-writing-because-they-want-to-be-stay-at-home-mom, English majors?

I am a smart person. I can write well. The client likes what they've seen so far. WHY CAN'T I DO THIS?!

I'm scared.


Anonymous Erica said...

Oh, GG. Please don't beat yourself up over this.

Don't forget that writing a curriculum is really, really difficult work, even when you have years of experience under your belt. And to switch to a different format (online vs. classroom) is an added challenge. I know you're frustrated with yourself, but don't forget that the work you're doing is terribly exhausting. It makes sense that you're dreading it when you also have your regular classes and your beautiful family who need your time and attention, and that dread can immobilize a person.

I'm sorry that the whole thing is overwhelming and scary for you. Perhaps baby steps combined with a chocolate-based reward system? A change of venue? Maybe Andy could keep you company while you work, just for moral support and foot rubs? Good luck, my friend. Keep us posted, no pun intended.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Man, I know just how you feel. The pressure feels like impending doom, and there you are, a deer in the headlights.
I spent years paralyzed by fears that in retrospect were completely irrational, but felt very real.
The key for me is to do the first right thing. Just do one thing, however small. once you start, I can guarantee that the next step will be a little easier.
Someone very smart once asked me if I wanted fear to run the rest of my life- if I was prepared to surrender all my choices, all my decisions to this fear I have of failure. She said I wasn't even giving myself a chance to succeed, because to do that I had to risk the failure, even though I was scared and ashamed.
I'm still scared, every day, but I do stuff, one step at a time, because the real definition of courage is to be scared and do it anyway.
You can do this,GG.You are not a freak, lots of people feel the way you do. Just sit down. Take a deep breath. Turn on the computer. One step at a time, ok?
We'll wait here for you.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

You can do this, you really can. I like the chocolate-based reward system!

If you need someone to help proofread, or go over the drafts, please feel free to email me.

Sometimes it helps to have someone on the outside to make yourself accountable.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Ozma said...

The reason you can't do it is because it is writing and there is a soft space between the writing and the consequences that everyone--almost everyone--sinks in to like melted marshmallows or an Olympic size pool full of cold cream.

Reading what you wrote reminds me of those raw feelings of shame--it is interesting you haven't started to fight them and deeply resent them and say "damnit! Not! I suck but instead THIS sucks. I forgot what Mrs. Kennedy from Fussy said to say to them...but it was a good one.

I remember thinking that it might be good if I hired the mafia to chop off my fingers when I reached a situation where I didn't do what I was supposed to but I knew I'd just rationalize and say 'I didn't need that finger anyway.'

6:58 PM  
Blogger yucaree said...

i think everyone's already said what i was going to say, but i'll say it anyway: it's okay. you're not slacking -- i don't know anything about writing curriculum, but writing in general is just hard. sometimes you can't force yourself to do it, much less produce something of quality.

and i think just doing one thing at a time is the right step. i often tell myself that i've done a good job, even if it's one little thing. i tell myself that i'm proud of my work, i demand that JR tell me it's good, and that, hey, if i can do something this good, i'm sure i can do something better. i do this because i've always had performance anxiety; i felt like i had to do everything perfectly to meet other people's expectations. but i'm learning to do things for me and my family and be happy.

i know i'm not making much sense right now but you have nothing to feel ashamed of. i know andy will understand; sure he may be upset that you didn't come clean to let him know you're having a hard time with this job, but he's not going to be mad just 'cause he had to take the kids for a day. just like you understand that he has a crappy job but does it to take care of his family, he knows that you do a hell of a lot of work for him and the kids and that sometimes we all need a little extra help.

you can do this! but whenever you need a little encouragement, we're all here for you!

2:47 PM  
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7:09 PM  

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