Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Failing to find my Strength

Today I went to one of the yoga classes at the University athletics center with a friend/colleague. I’ve been having trouble with my carpal tunnel and I know it was very helpful with that back when I did the study. I’ve also been feeling very out of sorts and unbalanced in a way I can’t quite verbalize. I was hoping this class would help both.

This class was billed as a “Yoga Stretch” class, however after things got underway it was not the relaxed stretching class we both expected. It was a power yoga class focusing more on a strength training and muscle building approach and not a peaceful, relaxed session. I left in more pain than I went in with, both physically and mentally. This was not what I expected at all.

During the warm up part where we were doing some focused breathing and eyes-closed visualization we were asked to picture something in our minds. We were supposed to find our strength, something positive about ourselves, and focus on that one thing. I couldn’t find anything. I searched in vain and nothing positive was coming to mind. There is nothing physically about my body that I’m happy about at the moment. I woke up this morning to the realization that I have allowed myself to get to an uncomfortable weight and shape, something I had promised I wouldn’t do again after I broke up with Mr. Intellectual. Academically and intellectually I’m feeling like a horrible failure and completely unfit to be here. All I am finding at the moment is a deep, abiding shame and self-loathing.

Instead of finding peace and balance for an hour I left feeling very sore and was trying desperately to hold it together. Crying during guided meditation is not a good thing, especially in front of a friend and a room full of 50 strangers. I never expected to feel so empty from something I loved so much previously.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Motivation & Failure

Shortly after I gave Quiet Confidence the link to this website he spent a lot of time reading through the past couple years of my life chronicled here. He said that it was difficult to read at times because he hates reading stories where the good guy doesn’t triumph. He had a completely different perspective on my blog than I do since he read it in huge sections where as I parceled it out in measured segments according to my days. Where as I saw the blog as more of an up and down rollercoaster of my depression, he saw it as the up and downs of my dating life and the continuous disappointments I suffered. Neither perspective is wrong, it just depends on what lens you filter the material through.

This past year has been an entirely different kind of struggle for me. I’ve been struggling with my degree and what it means to me, if I even want to be here, and feelings of failure. Yesterday I was looking at my school ring, absent-mindedly playing with it while I was thinking of other things. As I read the inscription on the inside band it struck me that my Bachelors Degree feels like the only degree where I really tried. I put my heart and soul into those 4 years. I really tried during that degree. I have yet to put that much effort, thought and time into my Ph.D. More importantly I haven’t invested my heart into this degree like I did with my undergrad. I was so emotionally invested in that degree and wanting to be on campus, regardless of how difficult it was at that time.

It may just be that I have academic burn out. That would come as no great shock since I’ve been in University for the past 8 years. Most people I know get burn out by their third or fourth year in school. It can be quite the meat grinder in academia. I can’t find the necessary desire and motivation to complete assignments and move on to the next phase of my degree. Part of me already feels like I’ve fucked up this degree from day one, that much of the past two and half years have been a huge failure. I can’t seem to move on from those feelings of failure and disappointment in my performance, which has only exacerbated the situation. This is not how I wanted my Ph.D to play out.