The worry list

I have a bunch of ideas for blog posts that I want to write. But there’s this strange phenomenon happening to my right now: when I have the time, I don’t want to write. Then when I don’t have time (and/or I’m feeling stressed), I have an overpowering urge to write on this blog.

Now is one the the latter times: I am stressed. I should be grading essays. Or planning tomorrow’s lesson. Or doing some other task that adults should do in order to stay afloat, mitigate disasters, and make ends meet. But I am forcing myself to take a break in this moment to write.

It’s crunch time at work, meaning I’m grading one thing (students turned it in two weeks ago and my grades are due Friday) while prepping students for the next assessment (next week), with the pedal to the metal on the end of the semester. I joked to a colleague the other day that the only good part of this time of year is the view: I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I may not be able to enjoy it, but I can see it and sense what a relief it might be to arrive in that light.

In the meantime, I’m skating by on prayers and wishes, strings and threads. The “hang in there, baby” poster should be tattooed to the inside of my eyelids for as often as I close them to choke back tears. I don’t know what other ridiculous images to give you to explain that it’s tough going right now.

I made a list today. I titled it “Things that I’m Worried About Right Now.” It has 23 things on it. That I have 23 things on the list worries me too, so let’s make it 24 things…

Some of those worries are old ghosts that haunt me when I’m having a moment of mental weakness. “Not being good enough” is right next to “Letting people down” on the list for an obvious reason: these two are like peanut butter and jelly because they always go together… They always have.

And I hear you saying, dear reader, “But Karissa, you try so hard. Of course you’re good enough. You are in no way letting people down. You care so much.” Because this is what people say to you when you admit you’re thinking things like this. (I know from prior experience.)

So thanks for saying that. It means a lot to me to hear you say those things. And I want to believe you, but I’m not positive that I can. Sure, I try hard, but what is that worth?

These days when I wake up, I feel like I’m giving up on a dream. Every single morning. Not because I’m no longer asleep and the dream is left in bedsheets and REM sleep, but because I don’t feel like I’m ever going to reach the point in life where I have a dream that’s actually attainable.

I am realizing that, to this point, any dreams that I’ve had were like hand-me-down clothes. They’re dreams I’ve seen other people attain, so I’ve tried them on for myself. This happens when I admire a person or they’re a mentor to me, and I see something I want, so I fold it into my own plan. But that is exactly the problem now that powerful forces in the world stand in the way of any achievement or even merely the pursuit of a dream.

What “powerful forces”? All of them, that I can think of: Time, Health, Money, Education, Experience, Death. I can draw lines from these to my “Things that I’m Worried About Right Now” and then I analyze why I can’t ever get what I want.

What worked for whomever I admired won’t work for me now that time has pushed on. Born too late, I think. Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong situation. Not special enough, not  smart enough, not enough.

A list of what is wrong and lacking makes a terrible recipe for success, however, and when I find myself at the bottom of the hole I’ve dug, I realize that I have no dreams I can realize.

That’s where I am right now. I haven’t given up yet, but I feel ready to in so many ways, on so many fronts. Many of the items on my list of “Things that I’m Worried About Right Now” are things I wish I could quit.

This isn’t “having a bad day” quit talk. This is straight out major life change quit talk. I don’t know what will happen, but I have no one but Andy to talk to about it here and not a ton of people from back home have been in touch. I don’t know how to ask for the support that I need right now, but maybe you know how to give it, if you’re reading this.


One thought on “The worry list

  1. I took some time away from all of the blogs that I read because I needed it. The end of the semester kicked my butt, as it always does. I’m not in a different country, but I can relate to not having anyone (except Branden) to talk to about the tough stuff. That’s really rough, and though I don’t have any advice, I empathize.

    Wanting to quit is part and parcel of stretching your limits, so I hope that you don’t quit. In the same breath, don’t stick to something JUST because you started it.

    Teaching is miserably, miserably hard at times. And it is, as a matter of fact, soul crushing. I can really relate to how often you hear “You care so much!” because I hear this constantly, especially when I’m struggling. Yes, we care. We will keep caring because that’s our only setting.

    I miss you.


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