Category Archives: Banes

Taking the high road

Department of e-mails not sent:

Dear committee member,

The question would be what gives you the right to speak in this tone to anyone.

If the dean, an AAUP member, confuses tenure track/tenured with FTE NTT, which I highly doubt he does, it would be our job to point out the error.

To keep these things clear is precisely the charge of this committee.

Yours,

Z
Professor and chair (as far as you are concerned)

Axé.

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Cannibalizing

Working at a university that is cannibalizing itself, in department that is, and a state that is, is disheartening and it is hard not to feel downhearted, not to feel joy. I used to be energized by work and inspired by what happened on campus — it was why I liked school — but here I only feel sad and ashamed.

Earlier on my poststructuralist education was disconcerting to me, being who I was. The messages I received were: you must not trust yourself, but decenter yourself; you should not trust your thoughts; and your words cannot mean what you believe them to mean. I was arguing against these ideas in my beautifully written, yet malformed dissertation and it was very visceral.

These topics are still hard to write near. To write, you must trust yourself and your words to some degree, and you must place your voice in your work. It is not enough just not to yell at yourself. You also have to trust yourself. You have to believe you are real. You also have to believe you do not deserve destruction. You have to believe you have value of at least some kind.

I would like to believe I had some sort of value. Once I did not question my own value. Questioning of the value of people was not part of the world then.

Axé.

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Impostor syndrome

…and refusal to hatch. The reason Reeducation was so destructive was that it said I was an impostor. I was just reading about “first generation” students and impostor syndrome and realized I have it.

A friend from long ago says she channels my voice to write, and did it to face childbirth as well. For her I am calm courage and incisive framing. She of course knew me before Reeducation, knew me when I may not have been confident about everything but was for academic things and bureaucratic ones.

But I have impostor syndrome and refusal to hatch. A friend said: “The university is cannibalizing itself after the manner of the state and the country, but the phenomenon is particularly visceral here.” I said:  “And I spend too much time on service that depletes me and does not necessarily stem the tide, not enough time on things that nourish me, and too much time on angst. I put off the great works that are in me. The atmosphere enocourages this, but these are also my own problems.”

Learning not to yell at myself is one project. To do that, I have to learn to recognize when I am yelling at myself. But the larger project is learning to believe I am real. At a deep level I don’t think I am, and it is part of why I like going to places where I am not known. Then I am unreal for good reason — I am not yet known — but nobody has told me I am not real or cannot become real. Then, in this fantasy world, this life-from-scratch world, I can become real. It always works, if I am free to walk away from anyone who says I am not real.

How can I claim reality in a world where one is told one is not real? How not to internalize that? This is why I always admired those who suffer discrimination, yet see themselves as real even when being told they are not. Someone pointed out that it does not take a great deal of destructiveness to destroy.

In any case: I am struggling with this paper and I think I have discipline and time management and concentration problems but the anxiety I feel comes from impostor syndrome and refusal to hatch. So now, in addition to not yelling at myself, I have to remind myself I am real. I actually think this will help.

Axé

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“Opportunity cost?”

So I have a truly major speaker coming, a project I did not think would be a good use of my time but that others wanted done, and they have now quit their roles in making the event truly happen well. On the other hand, I am being told I am doing a wonderful job leading the relevant organization and unit.

I am conflicted about this because it cuts into research time. Irritated. But where time is really wasted is in negotiating with the people who want to waste my time, and in non-pleasurable, but also non-work time I spend when I feel used and humiliated by those who are trying to waste my time for me.

Then I think: I am foolish to have accepted this general project. This causes me to feel unworthy to do my own work. But I should have accepted it, I can do it and my own work. What I should do is stop giving power to people who are wasting my time and energy.

Also, for others, the classic model works: research first, teaching next, and no service. But I am an activist, and know it is wrong. I am ashamed of it and want to go away, to where this characteristic is not a sign of inferiority. But mostly I feel ashamed when people tell me my time is not as valuable as theirs.

Axé.

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Plus jamais

Something I really dislike that men do at work is go into hysterical fits about how the institution is dying and only I can help save it, beg me to help them with a major institution-saving project, convince me to commit to it 50%, and then forget about their 50% … and THEN act irritated that my 50% has been done, making them look bad since they have not come through on theirs. I must be terribly, inappropriately powerful to have been able to do anything, and I am very cruel because I have, in their view, shown them up.

I am not willing to put up with this any more.

Axé.

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Emotions around this project and related ones

…that make me want to avoid it. Shame, which causes lethargy and withdrawal, which causes avoidance. Meanwhile, more interestingly:

…trauma, anger, repression, self-recrimination, rebellion, claustrophobia, impatience, restlessness, desire to explore, desire to live, desire not to be entombed

…I really need to unpack all of this.

Axé.

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Insight du jour — once again

I am so tired of having to psychoanalyze myself and also of finding that I keep coming to the same conclusions yet do not progress, or progress so slowly.

In any case my insight, new for today is that a great part of my struggle here has to do with not having come here by my own choice. I had to shut down my better judgment, de-prioritize myself to do it, and this makes it difficult to gain access to self. How to change that, how to put self first regardless, how to own the situation, how to be in this atmosphere which inspires withdrawal for its own reasons, is the question. But part of it is not having the centeredness you can have in anything when you feel it is yours.

I learned that abusers stay in your head. If you have to keep struggling or worrying, it is that this relationship has distorted your mind. There was a long period here, for instance, where uppermost in my mind were my parents, every hour–their suffering, how could I remedy it; my inadequacy and uncaringness in their eyes, what could I do to become worthy of them, and how could I demonstrate love in a way they could believe?

I decided there isn’t reason to doubt my background of family abuse. If fear of extreme violence and desire to get to a safe place are always dancing at the back of my mind (unless I do get to a place that feels safe, which is most of the world but not places with the characteristics of Maringouin and Vichy State), is there any doubt?

The family always intruded upon work in terribly inappropriate ways, and had terrible problems that needed resolution, but would then expect me to be fine, not worry, and “go on with my life” as though nothing had happened. This continues in some form now. It is: they create a violent or otherwise heartrending incident, get service on it, but then  expect me to recover as quickly as they have. This is why the “just go on with your life” dictum is so hurtful, and feels so much like abandonment.

The trauma was realizing that my father, the apparently less-bad abuser, was abusive too. I don’t think there really is doubt about this and I do note that my brother now seems to consider that it is a gift when he does not “say mean things” (or perhaps, has them just below the surface). But what I feel bad about, the worst about in life, is that I rejected, destroyed my academic career. I rejected it when I realized how troubled he was. It was a traumatic realization and I needed to work with it.

Where and what am I, and what do I have the right to say? These things become clearer in non-abusive spaces, where what is reflected back to me is the light. But in the murk, I do not dare exist or be for myself, only to serve, unless as backup I have a lot of money in the bank (that is why having money is so important metaphorically).

But all the things I did, including the self-destructive things, were attempts to have self and voice. I would love to feel the way I know others do, their feet on the ground, no executioner at their back. I would love to feel my voice coming right up from my stomach, all the way out my mouth, this is me. I would love to feel my mind clear and present, instead of shut down waiting for the next blow.

The problem is not allowing for self, not acting for self, not permitting conviction. I was interested in environment, economics, law, because there I thought I could act with conviction. People never think, initially, I should do these things but when I begin to speak the willing are able see my level of passion and how well informed I am.

The other reason I thought I should go into these things was that I thought I could do them even in bad circumstances (I could put them over quality of life). I realize here that I am making a fairly good argument here for leaving my job, giving up on doing what I came to do, but most fundamentally I am making an argument for voice and self.

And this has been a meditation, and it is good to meditate, and when one considers that I woke up this morning wondering what hotline to call. I am just not sure what I would like to do.It is an unfamiliar feeling but I long for care. These things that sound attractive:

1/ Die. But not before my father does, or before I go traveling slowly around the world and stay somewhere if I find work, but if not join some ascetic ashram.

2/ Go to law school at LSU (THAT is something I really should have done, long ago, although I would not have gotten to live in Oregon then) — although it is too late in my life to develop the career I could have developed had I started 22 years ago, when I wanted to.

3/ Get, or have a job in current field, but at an R1.

4/ Get some really interesting think tank, or movement job.

5/ I have fantasies about going to a sanitarium, some sort of in-patient anti-depressive resort, where you could do analysis and yoga and research. I think of hospitals but people go on resort vacations, beach vacations, yoga retreats, sabbaticals, and writing retreats.

Keywords: care – voice – self – faith in self – self-love – not caretaking – recognizing abusiveness – standing up to abuse – voice – self – faith in self – self-love – love of work – respect for own work.

Mantra: much of my father most insistent advice was wrong (only the things he said when he dropped his mask were right)

Axé.

 

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