Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stress and Procrastination

Sometime last week a friend poked her head into my little cubicle: “How’s it going?”

I looked at my desk with its various piles of urgent, semi-urgent, neglected, and soon-t0-be-forgotten papers. Over on the out-of-commission scanner sat two pieces of paper, out of reach but fairly radioactive in their import.

How was I? Those two sheets summed it up: “I’ve got a tenure application here and a summons to call for a follow-up mammogram. That’s what’s going on.”

So, yes, I’ve been a little stressed. But the drama is of my own making, of my own desiring. The mammogram last June wasn’t worrying: it was just a bad photograph and they want a new one. I should get tenure in May. I’m not genuinely worried about either potential bad outcome. In my heart I expect that sometime in the next few months, I’ll have good news for now on both fronts.

And yet.

I’ve indulged myself in the ritual of getting stressed. Of becoming neurotic. Of getting tension headaches at the least mention of promotion or someone else’s book or the job market.

I think, to be honest, that I needed the attention. Not really from anyone (except, perhaps my husband, who’s been remarkably patient through this whole thing) as from myself: I needed to be the star, the neediest one, the one who was a little fragile, a little rocky.


I’m done. It’s a dull role and I prefer others to it. The application is in and with matters out of my hands, much of my stress has lifted. I made the appointment. Back to work.


genevieve said...

Only thing is, Anne, if that you don't give yourself the credit for burning up some nervous energy, no one else will notice. We are not robots, are we.
I have a big application to write too, for a family thing - it's halfway through these things that I get annoyed the most. You're nearly there and ewwh.

I think I get headaches when I haven't taken my body's reaction to stress into account, actually. And all I can do is try to be more relaxed next time in advance. But you can only try.

Kagemusha said...

My Lord... hope things get better soon... I enjoy reading your posts, but this one alarmed me...

Anonymous said...

I like reading Fernham so much, I'm sorry to hear about your hard time. I hope the black spell continues to lift.


Unknown said...

Please don't worry about me--I'm really fine. Actually, just writing this was very cheering. But your good wishes are so lovely. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck, sounds like you've got the right perspective.