Monday, February 26, 2007

The bright side?

You know who’s always happy?

My dog.

I asked her to trade lives with me this morning, my stomach sick with the dread of going to work and facing an unhappy Boss, scary meeting plans and revisions for the Evil Committee. She was jumping around the room, thrilled that it was morning and that Friend was finally out of the office and on the couch. I’d been up for a little while already and Chienne had greeted me with similar joy. A new day for her means an opportunity to take a walk! Then nap! Then play with her squeaky toys and beg for food! It’s just all good.

“Well,” I qualified my request when a canine response failed to emerge, “I’d like to trade lives after you get your shot today. I don’t like shots.”

I’ve been thinking today about my overall attitude. Dr. Counselor often calls me “a double-minded woman, unstable in all she does.” And there’s truth to that. I’m often conflicted and confused. I’m not sure what I want, where I’m going, the right answer in any given circumstance.

I tend toward overreacting – always have. I take any given statement or event personally and I do hold grudges. You can mention the EC to me two years from now and I will offer a dramatic glare. I do, however, know that life generally works out for the best.

I have found a friend – I’m not so lonely anymore. I’m finding my footing at work, present turmoil notwithstanding. I’m writing a book that I find entertaining and interesting (well, sometimes). There’s a man who has some interest in me – though it’s in the very early stages and any number of things could go wrong, I’m enjoying the idea that there’s someone out there who thinks of me fondly. I believe in the good.

I just don’t believe it happens all the time. For those who can blindly see the positive in any situation? I argue it’s simply not always there. There is pain and disease and injustice that has no reward, no lesson worth learning, no reasoning that makes it somehow OK. If you’re lucky enough not to deal with such issues, please refrain from lecturing me in how to find the silver lining. Self-absorbed, little twit. In the midst of her 21 year old lecture about how she has lived and loved and made both good and bad decisions, I found myself rolling my eyes in a not-so-polite manner. Because, honestly? I don’t buy it.

Chienne ran toward the vet this morning, paws struggling for purchase as she drug me into the office. Greeting everyone with overwhelming joy and curiosity, we were placed in an exam room where she whined piteously until someone came to see us. She left the room to have blood drawn and a shot injected, tail wagging and eager to explore what was behind the other door. My canine companion returned in the same condition. Thrilled to see me, eager to introduce me to her new tech friend, pleased that I still had her favorite treats in a Ziploc bag. Completely happy.

I brought her home after a car ride where she let her ears flap wildly in the wind as her head thrust through the open window on the passenger side. She wandered in from the garage, noted that Friend was still on the couch and her tail picked up speed as she tensed her muscles to sprint down the hall. Ever so happy, she greeted her favorite friend and became very sad when we both packed up to take our respective cars to work. She bounced back enough to chase the treats I threw for her as a consolation prize for being without company today.

I went to work, still sick, and dragged myself toward the building that houses my office. I talked to Boss, keeping him up to date on my progress. He had some suggestions that I implemented, then printed forms to take to Dr. Icing who is going over them this evening. I’m taking steps to fix problems. I’m worried. I don’t know that this is going to go my way. I can’t find the energy or will to wag my tail wildly in bursts of happiness that make everyone around me think I’m rather goofy but harmless.

I hate to be the person who sneers at optimism. Who rolls her eyes at youthful certainty that you can find the good in anything if you try hard enough. I don’t need to feel like a failure for preparing for the most likely event. My experience has indicated that it’s the best choice for me in the present moments.

I was on a relative high last week. Approving the last set of proofs for my last graduate publication, submitting an abstract to write a chapter for a book, making a presentation to a group of upper level faculty and students on campus in my particular subject area. I was doing well! When Grad Advisor forwarded an email and offered to recommend me to a close friend for a faculty position in one of my chosen locations? I was thrilled! Putting together timelines on my current projects so I could decide when I’d decide to leave, updating my CV, considering my research interests for the future. I was properly medicated and therapied and ready to face whatever came!

Except...not so much. When slapped back by a couple of “requires major revisions” and some aggressive questioning, I crumbled. I doubted my project, knowledge, background, ability. Hell, I don’t even know that I want to continue doing research anymore! I’m a fair weather scientist. Shameful, isn’t it?

Life tends to cycle for me. Strength and weakness follow each other through time. Faith and doubt. The craving of company and the desire for solitude. Productivity and excessive sleep. I’m still trying to find the constant thread through that. I know there is one – a constant Katieness. But to say that I’m not still discovering it, chasing it, and to offer some chastising statement that indicates she is somehow inferior for being sad or tired to someone having a rough time? That’s anti-Katie, my friends. So I made a mental note that this particular person was either a bit dim or a real twit, reminded myself to avoid her if at all possible, and will move on.

At least I’m learning what I don’t like.


joy said...

Finding out what you don't like is as important as finding what you do. We have to eliminate things that don't fit. Sometimes those things (that don't fit) seem so good- until we try them on for size.

Be patient, you will be fine. :)

Anonymous said...

sorry about the evil commitee...
hang in there.

The Contessa said...

You are discovering some neat things both the good and the bad. I love self discovery.

I love the dog motif, very cute and very true.

Keep plugging Katie - you are doing super well!

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