Saturday, December 13, 2008

A little hefty bit

Let me be frank: this semester has been dang hard. It's been hard scholastic-wise, social-wise, personal-state-of-self-wise, hair-wise, glasses-wise, pretty much every conceivable -wise possible.

Well, actually, that isn't true. I've had no difficulties with, say, species identity. I'm pretty sure I'm Homo sapiens. Also, my fingers have given me little trouble over the past few months. And hey, my continual acquisition of books has gone swimmingly.

But other things have been hard. When I say that the semester has been difficult scholastic-wise, I don't want to imply that I haven't enjoyed it; it's been one of the most enjoyable semesters I've had here. In fact, I feel that during this semester I finally got into the meat of what I hope to do as a professional librarian: reference work with children, preferably ages birth (yes, we do provide library services to babies) through 8th grade or so. I learned about programming for children, during which time I got to both construct a box of resources for a themed story time and later use someone else's box to perform a story time in class. It was, frankly, extremely awesome. Particularly the whole reading-picture-books-and-singing-songs in graduate school thing. I learned about children's literature, including how to write reviews and analyze the library's current collection to better meet the needs of the community. I spent hours and hours and even more hours getting familiar with reference source after reference source. It was intense, but oh-so-informative.

I guess that's the point: this semester's schoolwork was pretty heavy, but I feel like I learned more, or at least more valuable, pertinent-to-me information than I'd learned in any previous semester.

So, school was actually pretty good. Stressful, HECK YES, but good.

Let me just breeze through a few of these others before I get to the real meat of this: my hair is currently way too long and frazzled at the end. I needs a trim. This equals hardship for my poor self. My poor straggly-haired self.

Glasses: lost a screw. One of the lens frames is now held together with a fashionable piece of copper wire. I dare you to try to spot it without knowing about it beforehand. (And now you know about it! So you lose! Automatically! Dang, I'm sly.)

Personal-state-of-self. Dude. I consumed a ton of cookies tonight. I ordered Chinese food and pizza and I'm down to one pair of jeans that fits properly. Which makes me feel that I stink as a human being.

Which kind of leads me to the point of this whole post, the subject that I'm kind of reluctant to discuss, mostly because it reveals my really real deep inner flaws in a way that makes me intensely uncomfortable.

You see, this last semester, I also withdrew a lot from human contact.

It's not as bad at the moment, so I know have to write about this in a looking-back sort of way, rather than an I'm-in-this-right-now sort of way, so I don't know if I can fully recapture all the things that've been going on in my internal parts these past few months. Frankly, I could probably recapture it best at about 3:00 in the morning, with the occasional murmur of a single car passing outside my window making me feel, somehow, not less alone, but more so.

But, my roommates are home, and in and out of the room, being friendly (which is great) so let's see if I can grasp on to this slippery feeling that settled on me like a film of soap this past semester...

I have a feeling that my withdrawal from human contact has stemmed, to a large degree, from my growing dissatisfaction with myself. It's manifested itself in different ways: I can recall, for instance, sitting in church and feeling so unable to deal with people and the crowds and the press and the noise and the pressure that I had to escape outside in a near panic. I think I couldn't stand being around other people because, in part, I couldn't stand myself, or rather, I couldn't stand how I was sure other people viewed me.

So, I got out. And I kept getting out. And I kept not connecting with people, and I kept shutting the door to my room when I got home and I kept not really talking to people in class and.

And I just drew myself in and encrusted myself with as much armor-thick I-don't-care-ness as I could muster.

So, I had only myself to deal with. And, reluctantly, rarely, other people. When they absolutely refused not to be admitted. Which some did refuse, thank goodness.

And yeah, my relationship with God suffered too, mostly because I didn't take time for anyone besides my own brain. And, as crazy and entertaining as my brain can be, it can't provide insight into tremendously difficult life problems or answers to questions about the nature of the universe and our place in it (although it can come up with hecka-awesome dreams).

And. Good grief. NONE OF THIS explains really what I've been feeling or thinking or anything. And it's already too long by about 458%.

I guess, suffice it to say, I've had the door to my room closed far too often and for far too long. And I'm starting to reemerge back into the world, but it's hard. And I feel vulnerable and shaky, particularly because I'm still not entirely happy with myself, and because I'm afraid that other people can see the flaws in me that I can see in myself and that they scorn me for it.

But, you know, I'll still get up tomorrow morning. I'll still put on my skirt and those ugly brown shoes that are nonetheless comfortable and I'll wrap that blue scarf around my neck and button my slightly-too-tight coat over my bulgy self and I'll sit in church and listen to people talk and maybe even make a comment or two. If I'm feeling particularly daring. And it's even possible I'll feel the spirit. I hope so, because that's why I keep doing it.

And maybe, this week, and this next semester, maybe I can work on some of the things that have lately made me so unhappy about myself.

Maybe I can start to leave the door to my room open. Just a little bit more.


kia said...

My darling-est of Beths!!!! My heart aches for you and the busyness that drove your door shut. I just really wish you knew how amazing I think you are and how I've missed you. I'm sorry I've been so absorbed in my own horrifying world of applications that I didn't break your door down. Let's be friends again k?

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I love you dearly Bethy. And I feel your pain a bit. Just a few minutes ago I was thinking of some things about me that I was just sure everyone else must find downright insufferable, when the truth is I'm probably just super aware of them because I live with them every minute of every day.

We all have our pros and cons. Here's to the pros. :)


Adrienne said...

I've learned in the past couple years that many of the things I find so terrible about myself fall into one or both of these two categories: (1) they are totally unnoticeable to most or all of the people you associate with daily; (2) they are what others find so endearing about your loveliest self (and at the same time, they may not see at as such a terrible thing :) That's where the "both" comes in. I find you "practically perfect in every way" and cannot wait until you are here!!! Hooray for Christmas, yes?

Lindsay said...

Good for you for cracking open your door. I know that's not easy. I'm always surprised, though, just how friendly and happy to see me the world is when I let it in. I'm hoping you're as equally pleasantly surprised.

Cathy said...

I understand. Been there, done that. I've had periods in my life where it feels like I'm encased in a glass bubble and that no one can reach me. Somehow, it hurts to wear glasses those days--it seems to remove me a layer more from the world. Just the simple act of forcing myself to put on contact lenses somehow makes the world come a little closer again with more vivid colors, more life.
Sounds like you're trying to do your equivalent of wearing contacts--pushing back the barrier and reentering life. Keep on trying. It's not easy to make yourself live more vividly again but it does lead to greater joy.
I had a strange moment-can't remember if it was last night or the night before. I've been pretty hard on myself for the past several years really. You're familiar with some of the reasons and perhaps they don't really matter. Each of us can find reasons to denigrate ourselves. Nevertheless, here is what happened: I was praying. Suddenly, words were given me, and I was giving thanks for being me, for the talents and abilities and struggles and hardships I have been given. That's all, and yet it was everything because it didn't come from me and I knew that that was how the Lord wanted me to see myself--as essentially flawed but still worthy of redemption, still deserving, through him, of exaltation.
I am also grateful for the insight I was blessed with as I studied the Christmas story with the young women on Sunday. Mary--she may have been good, but she was mortal. Heavenly Father trusted his most beloved and cherished son to a flawed mortal. There must have been times that she messed up while raising the son of God. He knew she would. And Christ was perfect in spite of that.
It must be one of Satan's deceptions that my mistakes and even my sins are so earth-shattering. God DID send me here to fail sometimes--it's part of the learning and part of his plan. If the rescue is already implemented, then I just need to get on with accepting it.

On a lighter note, my word verification is puker. Humph. I am not. Not even when pregnant (which I'm not).