Monday, September 17, 2007

Fear and Trepidation



Eric has reworked his schedule so that he can pick up the girls from daycare now, which makes me less of a harried wench when I get home, and means I don't have to try to work at, say, midnight or 4:30 in the morning.  It does mean he has to give up his every-other-Friday off perq, though, which I feel guilty about.  Luckily, my guilt is outweighed by my relief to have enough time to work.  Which is only outweighed by my guilt at not being with my girls more.

Well, if you haven't noticed, I've just been filled to the brim with self-doubt and anxiety lately.  Eric asks how my day was, and I respond, "Filled with fear and trepidation."  I was up late last night wondering if I would always regret working so much while my children were young, our lives speeding by like a blur.  I'm afraid at any moment I'll be exposed as a sham.  I wonder why I brought all this on myself.

Addie wet her bed three times last week, and both girls have nasty colds.  Eric's brithday was a very low-key affair (read, I didn't have the energy to do anymore than throw some Betty Crocker in the oven and sign a card).  I'm having trouble concentrating because I'm thinking about whether or not I can do this pretty much all the time.  In short, I'm feeling like a lame-o on all fronts.

But there's a part of me that realizes this is part of the process, this learning-curve-growth-spurt-confidence-dump.  I wanted the challenge, asked for it, and knew it wouldn't be easy.  And so here we go.

I didn't expect to be so scared, though, and I can't quite figure out why I am.  So I'm praying on it, and am going to work some meditation into things, and keep running, and keep trying.  I figure my writing will even out, and I'll stop being so worried about what everyone thinks, and it will get done, and I'll find the joy in it.  I just haven't hit my stride yet.

On the drive home, I passed these bicyclists, guys on their road bikes with the spandex shorts and the team jerseys, their helmets and glasses sleek, their calves pumping up and down, up and down, and I had this extraordinary moment of envy for their moment.  They were riding those bikes with just the gear they needed, on a path they knew, and their bodies suggested a knowingness of movement, a surety of stride.  I wanted to have the confidence of tools that would not fail, a sure road to take, the knowledge of how to move.

But, here I am with my training wheels and streamers for now, tooting my horn here and there.  I suppose if I keep being scared I'm going to fall off, I won't get where I need to go.  That concrete just seems so hard.


  1. I hear you, Sweetheart, though I juggle some different fears in my plastic basket on my tricycle (will I always be this alone? will I always be worried about my checkbook? will I ever get this darn book out of my life?). You're just juggling different items (or some) than last time, but you do know how to juggle. As you know, the fear doesn't help much but it can kind of spur a lot of energy during the first year of tenure-track. All the same, I think the daily, one-thing-at-a-time, in-little-bits approach ends up being much more satisfying and productive in the long run. Looking back on year 1 (last year), I think I'd've been better off if I quit fretting and just worked on staying connected to my work in bits, but also taking more healthy breaks.

    All this probably doesn't help, but just want you to know that I love you and you are doing very well and you can only affirm that such will continue. You're a rock star.

  2. P.S., Don't forget about the always critical incentive-and-reward system. LOTS of little rewards, including days to pick up the girls from daycare here and there. And chocolate.