Eat, drink, (garden, knit, quilt, think, fix, read) & be merry

Sunday Scribblings – Guidance

on December 7, 2010

Prompts for Sunday Scribblings can be found here.

It’s be a long, long time since I’ve done SS.  Truth be told, I had completely forgotten about it.  Then, browsing through blog categories, I stumbled back upon it.  Eureka! I though.  Just what I need.  I’ve got a lot on my mind and I love these community oriented prompts as a way of sorting through the muck.

**Long, navel-gazing, semi-depressing post ahead.**  Feel free to skip this post and go to the next one (a new knitting project!)

Guidance. Yes, yes, this has been on my mind lately.  Do you feel, as I do sometimes, that your life moves in orbit?  I can go through months of feeling competent, happy, connected, loved.  Or, if it’s on the darker side, months of feeling inadequate, perhaps even broken.  I wouldn’t call it depression.  I can still continue my days, still laugh at jokes, find pleasure in knitting or cooking a good meal.  I just feel less capable.  I’ve come to view those darker months as growing pains.  As I strive for new knowledge or skills I feel, temporarily, less satisfied with my current abilities.  I feel awkward, ungainly, unable to competently stand on my own.  Usually I muddle through it, reading books, journaling, thinking.  But this time it feels different.  This time I need help, guidance.

I’m on the darker side of the orbit right now.  I’ve reached the half-way point between returning to school and finishing (!!) a degree.  But this achievement has brought with it a laundry-list of doubts and worries.  What do I do when it’s all over?  Have my prospects measurably improved?  Or will I still be relegated to working mediocre, dead-end, marginally satisfying jobs?  P has, because of my good grades, been encouraging me to pursue an advanced degree.  I just want to get back to work and contribute to the household.  But then again, we’re doing just fine.  Should I just keep going?  What are the benefits of continuing on?  Is it worth it?  I feel like I’m about to set sail into uncharted territory, on to ground I do not understand.  Do I have the wherewithal to finish an advanced degree?  Am I smart enough?  Hardworking enough?  Do I love school enough?  What if we have kids?  Will I be wasting my education? Although none of those questions have straight forward answers, there are plenty of lingering questions that do.  How does grad school work?  Some of my friends are paid to go to grad school – is that normal?  How do my options improve if I do this?  Will I have to move?  How do I even find a program and apply? The fact that I don’t know the answers to these easy questions makes me wonder if I have the right to even consider this.

And then there’s the even uglier side of things.  I started counseling today.  Not for any one thing in particular, but simply because my past still clouds my present.  I want to close the door and move on.  I know the door will always be there, and I know I will occasionally peek in, but I want to be at peace with what’s behind that door.  I don’t want to keep a proverbial chair perched under the proverbial doorknob barely keeping the very real anger, resentment, and disappointment at bay.  As I debated how to present my needs in the counseling session, the best analogy I had was this:  I know the world doesn’t owe me anything, I know that comparatively I’ve had a pretty okay life, I know it sounds childish to wish for a better past.  I understand, and accept, all this on an intellectual level.  But I’m still angry, sad, and resentful (some days more than others).  While I’ve worked through some of the intellectual issues, I still struggle with the emotional ones.  I need someone to help me wrangle the emotions and  put those demons to rest.

Yes, these days I’m in need of a lot of guidance.  And I’m not very good as asking for help.  I’m feeling like I’m on the dark side of the orbit, clumsily working my way through growing pains, striving for a better future.  Fortunately, there are resources available to me, and part of this growing process is learning how to use them, learning how to reach out, ask for help, be vulnerable.  None of this comes easy, but then again, most good things never do.


7 responses to “Sunday Scribblings – Guidance

  1. Old Egg says:

    What a beautiful, honest and appealing post. Your past is behind you, gone, not forgotten but it doesn’t need to influence you any more. In a year or two’s time you will have got through this patch, vanquished the demons and feel brighter, bouncier and satisfied that all is well again.

    I look forward to your regular reports.

  2. bmiad says:

    Thinking of these times as growing pains is a beautiful way to think of it that leaves lots of room for hope and renewal. All the same, it can feel endless when you’re in the middle of it, can’t it? – like you’re underwater but can still kind of breathe. Everything is heavier, and muddier, and harder. And I’m sorry that you’re in such a place, but so glad that you’re so clearly using it for its purpose. You are plenty, plenty smart enough to go to grad school and work out the accompanying logistics. You have a wonderful loving and supportive partner to do it with. As far as kids – as someone with little kids, those years during which your education might feel wasted (and it well might!) go by awfully quickly, and then they’re in school, and moving ever away from you, and you have decades left before retirement. So that’s my vote of confidence, anyway. Fogive any preachiness from me here, please, but if you let anything stop you, I wouldn’t let it be that. Both your careers are equally important in such a decision – if you breastfeed, it’ll be more on you in the beginning as far as being around (though even that’s negotiable to some extent, you just might not want it to be), but who’s to say that Phil couldn’t take of years 2 and 3 and you 1, 4 and 5? Or whatever arrangement you can make work? There’s a whole movement out there about shared care/shared parenting, and frankly, I think it’s better for kids inasmuch as it’s possible to arrange. As far as counseling – I think of a good counselor rather unromantically as an emotion roto-rooter. Crass, perhaps, but there you have it. Sometimes we have places where we’re just really, really stuck, and need help undoing that. For me, I don’t know if the emotions and the intellect can really be separated like you describe; I think the patterns of thinking and self-talk we have cause certain emotions, then certain decisions that cause certain emotions, which in turn trigger memories…Changing that can really come from any of those starting points, or all of them. It’s so complicated. For me, having kids has had a weird effect of enhanced self-knowledge – nothing has ever taught me more about myself than motherhood. I’m not sure I ever valued “know thyself” all that much before, but it’s something I’ll never lose, long after the kids are grown, and will always now value immensely. I know that: I am a person who craves regular intimate contact with a small group of close friends, a lot of time alone to think and philosophize, needs a strong sense of purpose about her life, and who is sensitive to outside stimuli like noise and bright light and is totally burned out by large chaotic groups. –There– I never could have described myself so succinctly 6 years ago, but nothing like having none of those needs met for a while to tell you all about it! But that’s no reason to have kids, and obviously not the only way – just an aside. What is is that you need most when you aren’t having your needs met? What seems most primary and important? I think those answers might have something to do with what you choose to do for a living long-term too. Those answers may have as much to do with just who you were born to be as with your childhood – and truly, have you ever yet had the privilege of trying to separate the two? A counselor can be immensely helpful there.

    Megs – I’m sorry we’ve not been in better touch lately, in our parallel cities and lives that don’t intersect meaningfully often enough for long enough. Let’s fix that, and soon (which is to say, bring your calendar on Sat. and we’ll set a date). A big hug from me, and lots of love, and a big vote of confidence too. You are awesome.

  3. gs batty says:

    honstly putting on paper was probably helpful…I hope so.
    never had to seek counciling so have no great advice.
    good luck

  4. Megs says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. It always feels a little risky posting things like this, but it’s made easier by kind people with supportive comments. Thank you!

  5. Jingle says:

    I believe you are on the way to new opportunities…
    letting go is hard, but at times it is a must, you will see light and hope in your new way of thinking…

    beautiful entry,
    keep sharing!

  6. […] few weeks ago I felt like I was on the dark side of the moon.  Fortunately, the world keeps turning.  Life is brightening considerably.  The song quoted […]

  7. […] 12, 2011 Filed under: Gratitude,Moi,Rambling — Meg @ 10:07 AM I written before about the door.  That grey portal between my now and my dark and nebulous past.  The door that, for fifteen-odd […]

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