Okay...today is a day when I wonder how well people around me, those to whom I feel close, really know me. Am I too open or not open enough? Does it appear that my life is one of misery when that's actually not the case? Well, aside from work which just sucks most of the time. Oddly, I remember a time when I was much happier with this job and delighted with the comfort and security it honestly does offer. That fact makes me feel like I've become far too prone to finding the negative in a situation and not viewing the positive in it. It's true that I feel conflicted about what goes on at this research university and my part in it. It's also true that I don't really work that hard and I have benefits that I thank my lucky stars for after having spent years working the system and doing without basic health care. If you were to ask me what I wanted out of my professional life now, though, I do want to get to explore more ways to rediscover my sparkle (more on that below, I promise). It may be raw egotism but I do believe I have gifts and abilities that I just can't employ here or in any type of Office Job. I want work that I can smile about doing.
So, to the sparkly stuff. Picked up this book at Pudd'nhead Books the other day that I both love and hate. I think it is a beautiful creation and something that might be good for Em to have at some point. I know I wish I'd found it as a child and been able to keep and return to it as an adult. However, it also reduced me to a sobbing mess as I thought about how crushed and inhibited what sparkle I had as a child was. This is the book in question. When I was the 7 year old I picture in my mind, the girl with crooked teeth whose family told her to change her laugh, the teenager who was (I know now) really skinny whose mother pushed her to keep losing weight and to conform, conform, conform... back then, I knew exactly who I wanted to be. I wanted to be the intelligent, accomplished, hippie who made her own rules. And, I see myself now and I wonder if anyone sees glimmers of that woman peeking through the carefully created/developed in response to dire straights person I am most of the time. Deep down, I wish I had a guide to shedding this fearful outer shell and living the life I dream of. I tell myself(and I hope that it's true) that I am working toward that little by little. I just don't know if it's obvious that it's a continuing process from the outside or if I just appear the fool who believes she can be something she can't.
So, I'm struggling with that. I'm also struggling with feeling like too much of my life is filled up with "shoulds" instead of the things I want to do. Some of that comes from feeling tired of this job but some of it comes from continuing to feel responsible for parenting those who should have parented me instead. I'm torn between guilt at avoiding that obligation lately and relief that I'm able to and a feeling of elation at the times when obligations other than that seem to disappear, a thing that may be making me into a shitty friend. If I bail on something I planned with anyone reading this, I'm sorry--I'm just trying to find a balance somehow, some way.