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03 April 2013 @ 10:44 am
Mood Swings  
It's hard to tell, on an individual basis, how bad one's mood swings are. You end up asking yourself things like, Is it more normal than I realize to vacillate from highs to lows with X many days in-between? Or hours? Does it matter how high or low the swings are, in some sort of objective manner, or is the frequency what's most important?

I wonder if a doctor could answer these questions.

I've been thinking about this because yesterday I had a fairly-common mood-swing occurrence: one in which I'm feeling great, and then one thing happens and pretty much destroys my mood for hours afterwards. I posted about it on tumblr:

I cleaned the dining room and did all the dishes, which is a pretty big feat considering how everything piled up.

All my mom said was, “Why didn’t you clean the stove top?”

Which is exactly why I never fucking clean anything.

#it's hard to tell yourself you've accomplished something #when no one else seems to fucking notice

I think those tags are probably the most important observation. As someone who follows the Unfuck Your Habitat tumblr, I've been trying to internalize the ideas "It's okay to not get everything that needs to be cleaned ever either immediately or all at once," and "It's important to recognize, even if all you've done is make the bed or clean off an end table, that you've done something and you should be proud of it."

Which is difficult when faced with people who completely disagree.

But those notions I have had to have come from somewhere - presumably my mother - and her notions had to come from somewhere - presumably her own alcohol-and-neuroses-fueled mother - and so on. Which I try to keep in mind. Some days this is harder than others,  like yesterday.

I have a lot of trouble internalizing compliments, be they regarding my own physical person or something I've accomplished. I always feel as though I'm being lied to, like the person saying these things is trying to lull me into a false sense of security in order to take something from me. Which, in most cases, I recognize is completely irrational and untrue. And yet. I'm getting better with accomplishments - I think that's something committing to this English degree has given me, this solid sense-of-purpose that I'm doing something I'm good at, and that it's goodness exists outside of my own mind.

Today, I got the electronic copy back of my last Rhetoric essay. I tell anyone who will slow down long enough how much I love that class, and even if the subject matter for my Very Important 50% Of My Grade Research Paper continues to elude me, I continue to enjoy the readings and the discussion, regardless of the people in the class whose opinions I find offensive.

(Which is probably a ranty post all on it's own full of lots and lots of cursing. This classmate has made me worry about future teaching because I don't think I could laugh off / play along with some of the underlying assumptions he makes with as much grace as Sam does.)

This was written at the top of the page:

Keeping in mind our conversation from a few weeks ago, I should say that your responses are the work of someone who would make a fantastic graduate student and professional academic. :) Your writing is crystal clear, you present new and interesting perspectives, and you take the time to thoroughly analyze and connect all available material. Great work.

Which has made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

(As an aside, compliments from teachers or professors you really respect or admire always mean more to me. Like, if Dr. Dunckel told me I wrote well I would appreciate it, but Dr. Landry or Dr. Looker saying it seems so much more flattering.)

I've felt pretty often this semester that the papers I've been turning in have been sub-par, with one or two exceptions, which my grades have not been reflecting in the least. I'm not sure if this is indicative of me not recognizing my own "talent," for lack of a better word, or if I'm recognizing that I could be doing even better than I am. And then the slacker voice in my head says, "Why try? You're getting A's right now."

It raises a valid point.

Speaking of Dunckel, he still hasn't returned any of my papers, and we're about to turn in our fourth. SIGH. Several people in the class have said they have at least one back, many more, which ... WTF?
Elle: Duo Maxwellelleavantemm on April 3rd, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
The cleaning critique from your mom isn't unique. All the time I'll d things at home and as soon as I'm done, my mom will ask why I didn't also do x or y. I've gotten really defensive about these things (because she does these sort of unnecessary critiques of food that gets made, too) and snap "why can't you juts say it looks nice or tastes good or something" instead of always having to nit pick.

If you feel accomplished doing x or y task, then feel accomplished and don't let that other person's need to overlook what you did for what you didn't. It sounds easier than it probably is (especially with family), but really.

Hearing the good things written on your papers is really exciting. I'm jealous that even the work you feel is sub-par gets good grades, because the work I do that I feel is sub-par is genuinely sub-par (and my middle of the road grades support it).

I think seeing enough of those comments and getting enough of that kind of support from your professors will, in the long run, provide you with the kind of confidence you need to persue grad school or whatever else you want to do.