I have a great memory when it comes to bad things. And by “great”, I mean terrible. Let me clarify…
For a while now I’ve been kind of blue. The main reason was the disappointment for not being able to finish my thesis as planned this spring. That one got me good. The second, almost as important reason was the stress I was under to finish something thesis-related, even though I almost had no time to do it in between all the other stuff going on in my life. The third reason is the accumulation of many smaller things that individually affect my mood on a daily basis. They can range from the disappointment I feel in myself when I haven’t done the dishes, to instant low self-confidence for some reason or other. Fortunately, are usually forgotten the next morning. However, I don’t deal too well with these things if too many of them hit at once or too often, or if they are combined with other factors such as stress or disappointment. (You can see where this is going, yes?)
The result of all of this was that I have been feeling overall bad, with certain bright spots in between, as opposed to my usual feeling overall good but with certain darker spots every now and then.
At least I think that is how I usually feel. The thing is, you see, I have a very selective memory when it comes to these things. If I look back on my childhood, I think of it as exclusively happy. My teen years? Happy. The semester I lived in Japan? Happy! My time in the US last fall? You guessed it – happy again. Clearly, I must be missing something. No one is happy all the time. And if I think real hard about it, I do remember certain not-so-happy memories. I was as stubborn as a goat’s left hoof when I was little, and as a result I got into big arguments with my parents. As a teenager I had all the normal puberty issues and growing-up angst. When I was in Japan I was at least on one occasion so homesick that I seriously considered spending 30,000 kroner (about $ 5,000) on an immediate flight back home. And the first thing I did in the US was to cry my eyes out in public because I felt so very, very lonely.
But those aren’t the things I remember. It is as though my memory deliberately preserves the good times and erases the bad.
I think it’s a survival technique. If I had remembered just how homesick I was in Japan when I started planning my trip to the US, chances are I wouldn’t have left Norway at all. My terrible memory for all things dreary gives me the strength to go on (and because of that it is great).
When I woke up yesterday morning I was rested (for the first time in a while). I was smiling. I was ready to tackle the challenges the day would bring. What had changed since Monday? A few things:
First of all, I had decided to stop giving a damn about the stupid Chapter Five (you may remember it from yesterday’s post as “Or How I Lost The Will To Live”), and just write whatever came to mind. Turns out all my procrastinating and wailing and cursing of this chapter haven’t entirely ruined the work I have done in between. There is something there. It is a meager start, and it is still the crappiest draft made in history (and I am slightly worried that my supervisor will have a heart attack when she sees what her once so promising student is capable of producing), but it is that, at least: a start. And because I stopped caring, I managed to get some serious work done. What a relief!
The second thing that changed from Monday to Tuesday is that the Burrow blog, which was launched with astonishing success, no longer felt like a burden. This is one of those little things that typically don’t give me much stress, but because of the timing I was in no shape to handle the extra excitement it provided. Once launched, however, it is not out of my hands (urk, I have NO idea what I shall write for my first post there, scheduled to appear on Monday…), but somehow it is out of my mind (*snort* Okay, pun not intended, but hey… It works…).
Finally there were some other non-major things that resolved themselves, and all together this makes for a MUCH happier Cruella than the one banging her head into the wall all weekend. At least I think that is what I did. Strangely enough, it feels as though I was happy then as well. In fact, I think I have always been happy. I’m just never blue! Happy! (See how great my memory is?)
Currently listening to: Good Days and Bad Days by Kaizer Chiefs
Currently reading: The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Two (This was my treat for sending away the draft. Friends have recommended these books to me for years, and I saw the movie a while back, but I never got around to actually picking up the books. When I finally did bring the first one back from work one day, I loved it every bit as much as everyone said I would.)