Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Right now

I'm supposed to be reading Foucau1t.

I'm supposed to be writing a two- to three-page paper about how I "theorize difference" for my class this afternoon.

I'm not.

Sitting on the bed with a cat under my left arm, and a dog against my right hip. Wasting time.

Listening to the children at the neighboring elementary school play at recess. Noshing on pretzels.

I don't know what to do with myself. My work. Marriage, family, house, life. I don't know how to make it all work, do something meaningful. Maybe I'm just afraid to try again.

My therapist asks me if this is the legacy I want for the boys. My sadness, my anger. My...lostness.

Is everything I do now their legacy? Is this all because of them?

No, this is because of me.

But my shrink seems to bring this up, repeatedly. Is this their legacy? Is this what you want their legacy to be?

She is probably trying to push me. Sometimes I need that. But that question just makes me sadder.

It's not that I can't go on without them. Or that I don't want to.

I don't know.

For this class, I've had to do some writing about some of the research I've done, use the project as a basis for exploring ways of talking about research, representing it. I did a formal, "authoritative" description based on interviews and blog posts of the same DBM. The next week, we had to base a creative representation on the authoritative description. I wrote a poem. It came out fast. Hard to tell if it was me or the DBM I worked with. My prof liked it a lot, meaning she thought it was a moving piece -- tactile, physical.

I got a B+ on the proposal I did for that awful class, the one that took me so long to finish. A B+, which I'm happy with from this prof, and a lot of useful feedback. Constructive praise and criticism. And a B for the class, which is just fine for me. I found myself reading the proposal, over and over again. Wanting to show it to people: my advisor, other profs... but not because I was so proud...It was more like, "Now what?", "What can I do with this?", "Is there something I can do with this?", "Tell me what I should do next", "Tell me this is good."

I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want to do.

My class? the one I teach? Sucks ass. One student is failing the course entirely (per the Chair) because he plagiarized more than 40% of his last paper. At *least* two students don't know my name. There are 5 weeks left in the semester.

I know rotten classes like this are inevitable, but this is not motivating me to pursue academia as a career.


Beruriah said...

I wonder, what do you say when your therapist asks you that? To me, that question would cut. It would sound like a variation on everything happens for a reason. Yes, babies die for a reason, the reason being that the study of biology, anatomy, genetics, and practices of medicine, all these human sciences are fallible.

It's all well and lovely when people make something greater out of their losses. It doesn't explain or negate the losses. I felt that urge in the first days. Maybe I will again later. But I feel, that at least for me, that had someone said that, I would have felt like shouting, "you know what? you go make a fucking legacy! Why do I have to have all this fucking extra pressure on me in addition to the pain? Why do other people just get to go happily to the park with their kids while *I* have to do something greater just because my kid's not here?"

I'd want to tell her to take her 19th-century "improver" ideas and shove it.

But that's just me.

Mrs. Spit said...

I chose to make a legacy. I found comfort in it, the experience sucks either way, and the only difference in the situation that I can make is what I take out of it.

I would imagine it would be hard to be asked how you are going to move forward again.

Michele said...

I love what Beruriah said, and I also agree with Mrs Spit. To me, I have to be on top of it because I cant bear the pity of "Oh look at her.... She's so (fill in the blank) because her babies died." I guess, to me, it would be as though they wished my children hadnt existed and I'd be more broken than I am now.

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