Sunday, September 05, 2010


Where have I been for the last 36 days?

In a gray funk.  Not a black one but not a clear blue sky one either.

Doing everything I can to escape myself & my responsibilities.  I owe amends to self & to dawg, & to everyone with whom I've had scant contact with.  I simply haven't wanted to speak.  Last Saturday I mostly sat looking at some random office plants very blankly while my therapist tried to find a way into my non-working brain.  For this I paid seventy dollars.

It's been a bitterly hot summer.  I began teaching two months ago after not working in nine years and not teaching in twelve.  I spend 210 minutes, back to back, trying to explain commas.  I'm exhausted by the time I get home.

Friends have been asking if I like teaching.  Yes, of course.  I like bringing disparate parties together to focus on what is impossible (commas, for instance, are impossible) and to laugh together.  It's a performance, another word my therapist likes to bandy about.  Why a performance?  Well, Dr. A-Cigar-Is-Never-A-Cigar, I have to be high energy to get them to maybe pay attention to commas.  Why not be yourself?  That would be staring at...what?  There is nothing in my sleek, squeeky-new classroom to stare at.  My self is not a self I like very much lately.  They don't pay me the pitiful bucks to come in & be blank.

Yes, but do you like it, B & D press further. 

What is "it"?  My students are interesting.  About half are international students, adding English and the cachet of studying marketing or business in New York City to their resumes.  They come from Norway, Paraguay, Nigeria, Kosovo, Korea, China.  They have studied hard to be able to take college classes in English & their study of language has paid off in sharpening their brains.  The other half are more motley, many of them condemned by Creole street talk & bad New York City schools to constitutional blobbiness.  It's not so much they that can't think outside the box as that they can't think.  Their brains are in danger of atrophy & this makes me terribly sad, adding to my desire to atrophy by self-will.

The despair of 45 papers is beyond words.

It's even beyond ice cream.

I feel sick with dumb Facebook games, ice cream and a winter gray when it's 95-degrees outside.

There are brighter notes but they are spectator sports for me.  Friends have included me in their lives but it is not what I would call being alive myself.  Perhaps fall & a different, more diffused class schedule will help.  Maybe a new flavor of Ben & Jerry's.  Maybe having finally traced fragments of my life on the foggy window of this blog.


Nan said...

You know, sometimes we just need to hole up and regroup. Getting back into teaching, especially 3 classes in a row, is a HUGE adjustment, especially with the student mix you describe. You need downtime.

You've done a great job describing your situation. Summer depression is the worst. It's like no one understands because no one is supposed to be depressed in the sunshine.

Speaking of B&J's, I had bought Milk & Cookies, because my DH likes all that cookie-dough stuff and I don't. It stayed in the freezer for a while, but I did end up diving into it, after a week of family, memorial service, and on-the-job "performance." You're not alone.

Thanks for the new blog post! I know it wasn't easy!

Anonymous said...


You have been missed. You are loved. I appreciate you.

Your writing paints beautiful pictures of your soul.

Thank you for sharing the precious gift of your Self.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frances. I love your book PFT. I just re-read it and I wanted to ask you if you worked the steps. I can imagine that you did not want to include alot of step work in the book, perhaps you left it out, but I was wondering if you did the steps.

I am currently in CEAHOW and I am struggling with the flour/sugar withdrawal stuff. I found your book to be inspirational and I am wondering how you are.

I hope you keep writing.

mary ann said...

I totally get you, Frances. Totally. Especially about teaching, which is like doing five bck to back after midnight shows in the lounge at a bad Vegas hotel. Brutal. High energy to the extreme...

Vickie said...

The entertainer thing is important.

I think most of us have done it.

I think of it with professional entertainers (actors) all the time. Is the real them totally lost under there? Or is the real them more real because of it? Don't know.

A lot of US have done it in therapy. That is where I most often 'hear' about it in blog land. When bloggers finally took off their entertainer hat and got down to real talk. And listened to themselves. Stopped hiding.

My therapist still laughs a bit. But it is not me hiding. It is her laughing at ironic. Because there is a lot of truth there.

Aren't you (very fast) approaching THE one year mark?

Unknown said...

I left you a particularly insightful and loving comment which my connection wouldn't send before it told me to go screw myself, and today, unfortunately, it's one of those days where my brain and hands aren't connected.

I'll just say, you're not alone, you're beautiful and it will be okay because you're too brilliant to stay gray.

Christie Priem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. Jane said...

I have missed you, Frances, but understand that you have been dealing with many things, and you have to prioritize. Anyway, I love your posts.

On another note, I also have to say that summer is not always my best season, and between the heat, humidity, and expectations of others, I sometimes get a tad bit depressed. The days are very long, and I don't always want to be out and about until 9 p.m., but yet feel out of the mainstream if I'm not. I would like to see Daylight Savings Time in the Winter (when we really need it), instead of having daylight in June and July until nearly 10 p.m.

Also, for those of us who are trying to lose weight, just dealing with the incessant demands of weight loss is exhausting (perhaps more so in the summer).

I am looking forward to the cool, crisp, colorful days of fall--for many reasons. Take care...