Monthly Archives: February 2018

The thing at the back of my mind that I wish were a palm

The other thing is that I just have so much pain and grief associated with this academic field that it is hard to function. People always said I must soldier on because it was what I had chosen — I had to bear my cross. Now they say they see it has not worked out and I should leave but I still want a career and this is the one I have. I don’t understand why, if they in fact thought it was all right to leave, they pressured me so to stay when I was in fact in a position to leave. I want to just drop the pain and grief. I think the way to do that is to do as I see fit, not necessarily as “should” be done. This is the advice I tend to give others.

In psychotherapy I learned to fret. This was called “feeling your feelings” and I don’t think it was a useful thing to learn. Now I have a bad situation that will be ongoing and I need to get work done too. I will use an old technique I used to use — always let myself know I have time to feel pain, but also remember I do not have to disable myself with it all the time.

Axé.

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Longing

It isn’t actually self-doubt or self-hatred, or laziness or lack of commitment or not knowing what one wants, or depression. It is longing. I long to:

– live somewhere I feel happy
– have an intellectually stimulating life
– be safe from torturers, not work with torture
– and therefore, be calm enough to really write.

Feeling starved and isolated, and being repeatedly hurt and not having strong enough protection against this, are my problems. How can I become the god with the resources to remedy them? I do not want to run.

Why have I not done better so far? Because of being constantly beaten up and abandoned in the old days. I should just say this and not argue with people who want to question or explore it, or help me decide whether or not it is actually fair to say this.

Why? Because if I say it I feel whole, and my mind clears, and I can get a realistic perspective on the things I want to do on a given day.

UPDATE: Really, it was just that I wanted to do my own scholarship and have my own money and resources. But everybody jumped on me: really I wanted to be this nice lady and lower division teacher. Really I wanted to live in the suburbs. Really I did not want a life, I wanted to suffer and then take vacations from suffering. But the truth is that I always wanted autonomy, independence, and intellectual life; I wanted to do my own scholarship and have my own resources.

Axé.

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Mais

I read about all these professors and how happy they are, how independent and financially secure and creative, and I think:

    • I should be happy and productive, and it is only my lack of strength that prevents it
    • They are happy in places even sadder than here; I should be too
    • I am lazy and not working hard enough
    • What is it in my history that caused me to remain so impaired?
    • What would I like to do with my life?
    • What would I have done with my life had I not been so beaten down from the beginning?
    • How can I right this ship?

and so on, and feel practically too weak to get up. Then it occurred to me to say instead “We are working a demanding job in difficult circumstances. We got here through life’s vicissitudes, and we have certain pleasures and certain power,” and I felt much better.

Before Reeducation I did not scrutinize my life for imperfection and I lived a much more perfect life therefore.

Axé.

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This week

— Work on article every morning 7 days/1h no matter what; ideally come up with a readable and sharable draft
— Put syllabi and exams in order
— Letters of recommendation
— Three bureaucratic tasks: study abroad and two speakers
— Meet with painters
— Things from old lists

There is so much to do.

Axé.

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Et voilà

I started writing again. In the old way — something every day, in the morning when I can, and spend a lot of related time reading, thinking, organizing notes and papers. The keys for me are not to try to rush and not to get scared self-censor. Part of my block on that Vallejo book had to do with no longer being willing write what I was told, and at the same time not daring to write what I wanted. Later I have had other projects I did have interest and confidence in but my problem in this job is the energy drain due to the toxicity. The way I started writing again while in town (I usually go out of town to write) was to stay in for two days reading and thinking, totally ignoring work and everything else. In this way I summoned myself. Now I have to go into the department and not allow it to push me into the usual mild, yet disabling-for-writing dissociative fugue.

On an unrelated note, here is a book on tenure and minorities that I would really like to get.

Axé.

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The fortuneteller

I had my fortune told. My aura is lemon yellow. What will happen if I stay here? we asked the cards. I will experience growth. What will happen if I leave now, to a place  more pleasant or favorable? I will become a workaholic. Perhaps the pressure to make it work will be too much, or the work needed to make it work will be too much of a distraction.

This was very interesting.

Axé.

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Zen and the art of archery

My friend Omar has a millwork and art workshop where he spends a large part of every day. He says “When I am here, I am happy, and people love my work and thank me for it,” and I envy his non-conflict about his work. In academia we don’t have all the autonomy he has, or do not know how to take it; it is also true that we are expected to be conflicted about work and that this does no good since there are enough real problems without creating additional ones.

This weekend I stayed in. Saturday I read a whole book for research and personal purposes and it took me twelve hours and was refreshing. Today I organized papers and notes for research purposes and began to feel happier and happier, even though I ostensibly did not make a great leap forward and I did not do anything Fun, and even though I was doing this because I did not feel like preparing classes or writing letters of recommendation, which I really needed to do. Nonetheless I began to feel just like Omar: “When I am here, I am happy.”

I had this interesting conversation with Jonathan. He says, “If it is hard work just to live inside your own head, then there is not much left for anything else.” Interestingly, it was Reeducation that made this so hard for me. Before, I was like Herrigel’s archer, not thinking of myself or the target, only the arrow and the bow. Reeducation did not understand the lack of emphasis on self and feeling, and considered it a problem but it was in part cultural difference (Reeducation was very Western and Christian, and I was unfamiliar with its discourse and did not recognize it but tried, now too hard and not in a Zenlike way, to assimilate).

Do I like what I do? Yes, if I allow myself to be there and do it.

Axé.

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The market university

In the Verhaeghe book, in the chapter on identity, is a great deal of material on the market university including a list of euphemisms like those I discuss in my article — although his choice of examples is, conveniently enough, a completely different set than mine is. (The list is on page 161.) There is a discussion on how the conversion of the student into customer fits the neoliberal paradigm and signals a completely different vision of education than what some of us may still have. Part of what I am saying in this article is that many of us do not even realize what the world we are working in now is. The market university repurposes our vocabulary and adds new terms which we laugh at and shrug off when we should examine them. There are additional examples of neoliberalism’s use of language (cf. the word “invest”) in this interesting newspaper article. There is also this popular piece on the falsely rational language of (neoliberal) technocrats, and there is a film we should see on the privatization of public education or “corporate school reform.”

I am going to put half an hour into that article early tomorrow morning.

Some more notes for this I have are:

KEYWORDS
– financialization
– monetization
– corporate
– entrepreneurial
– business model

A decent education is now an elite dream, and if we do not mouth the neoliberal line we are just dinosaurs. Uber is “sharing.” Religious freedom is the freedom to oppress other religions. Fox News was founded to offer “fair” reporting.

Axé.

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Psychoanalysis

My mother had food issues. Being ill, and being served food in bed on a tray, was one thing she liked. Another was being in a restaurant and eating something unusual, warming and good. These events caused her great pleasure and she would exclaim: “Someone is taking care of me!”She felt that she had been very poor, and that she was still low income. I was one of the causes of the current precarity, and I could not possibly imagine what it had been like to be as poor as she was. My goal in life was to become poor enough that my mother will recognize me as real and respect me. I engage in self-deprivation and self-destruction to impoverish and weaken myself. Not completely, of course, because I want to be in good health to begin my life once I get my mother’s go-ahead.

Negotiating for existence with our parents, wresting care from them, taking care of them so they would be well enough to care for us, was important and became yet more important as time went on. Now I think it was just that they abandoned us too soon in favor of alcohol and protecting neuroses (how long have I been holding onto my own neuroses?). But I did not realize this; I thought we needed to work harder, improve, rise in quality, to merit inclusion in the family and the open kind of communication other people had.

I insist on privacy because my mother would interrupt work constantly, when I was young and then later in more serious ways. Time-space limits stricter than “I’ll break for lunch at noon, do other things until five, and then come back to this” cause me great anxiety because of my mother’s piercing cries, always just when I was about to solve the algebra problem: “Help! Come, now! I am hurt, badly!”

It is a bit elementary but this means I must absolutely remember: 1/ I do not have to let anyone interrupt as my mother did; 2/ I can be confident in my rejection of Reeducation–I need not seek further confirmation of my views; 3/ I should note that having to wrest or earn care and love from people who claim to be offering these things freely is not right; and 4/ It is not actually true that my mother did not see me as a person, at least part of the time; I should accept that gaze and distance myself from the deprivation compulsion. All of this would mean peace.

Axé.

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It isn’t time management, and it isn’t depression, either

1.

This article is from Clarissa‘s blog, and what it says is true. It is also to be noted that most of my intellectual energy in the past 25 years has been used to convince myself that I suffer from depression and then try to cure it with recommended methods.

I found, once again, the critique of psychotherapy that I wrote in the fifth year, having gained some perspective on the first two, terribly destructive years. Those were the years in which I would say I was basically bludgeoned to death. After that I had to come back to life, and deal with the difficulties — including near-complete career destruction — that had been created by my effective demise. At the same time, the situation that had caused me to seek analysis in the first place was exacerbated and not alleviated; this was ironic since I had sought analysis precisely because I had solved so much on my own that I thought one last, professional push would help me break free.

It shocks me, though, that I have not really progressed beyond that critique. This is to say, I am still trying to absorb it, understand its implications, put it into practice, actually reject what was done.

2.

The reason I dislike academia is that it is in my experience a space of destruction and fear. School was not, and the research-extensive universities I have studied and worked in were not, but the other institutions, provincial and teaching oriented, have always terrified me because they are driven by the irrational projections of those in charge. Managing fear takes a great deal of my energy.

Every explanation I have, though, for not feeling I am a “real” intellectual is irrational; I should stop allowing the introjection of peoples’ irrational projections, I should stop being tentative. Everything I’ve ever allowed myself to do fully has gone well.

3.

Why do I do the things I do? It has often been to gain my parents’ respect, earn their love, or mitigate their pain. What other reasons are there to do things? What would I like to do? My answer to that question has always been that I wanted to feel a certain way, and that what I actually did was less important. I wanted to feel free enough and relaxed enough, confident enough, self-sufficient enough to make uncoerced choices.

Axé.

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