A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Do My Pajamas Say About Me?

Most days, when I don't have class, I wear my pajamas all day. Or I change into sweats. Does this make me like one of those middle-aged married women who doesn't care any more about her appearance? I don't even have kids yet--just books. Lots and lots and lots of books.

Maybe I should start making more of an effort again, but let's be honest. You can't curl up with a good book in the same way when you're wearing jeans, and since I have to read so much, I might as well enjoy it, right?

Or, maybe grad school is just increasing my dormant tendencies to be reclusive. I used to go out every chance I could--in high school and the first few years of college. Once I got a comfy couch, a couple of cool roommates, and a boyfriend who would stay over, I didn't see the point of going out nearly as much. And now that the husband comes built-in and Amazon delivers to my door--what is there to go out for, other than occasionally stocking up on cheese and vodka?

So, it's back to my original question: have I reached middle age before I've even turned twenty-five?? Let's consider the signs:

1) I wear pajamas and sweats 3 days a week minimum.

2) I don't wear make-up on those days, either. In fact, I've started going out in public more often without it, too.

3) I've gotten too lazy to go out and buy a new bathing suit because I don't really want to show off my thighs (though my somewhat biased husband says he likes my legs...) and there's no way I'm going to wear one of those bathing suits with the little skirts.

4) Ask me to do something, and at least half the time, the answer is I'd rather sleep.

Hmmm... I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Of course, this list makes me sound like a total bum, when really, I'm working my ass off so that someday all of you must address me as Dr. Schultz. And I must admit, I think I still clean up pretty well. When I actually feel like going out, that is. So maybe I should just think of my wardrobe comprised of sweats as the official uniform of grad school. It's kinda cool--I even get to wear those special fuzzy slipper socks all the time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

On the Subject of Sanity and Blogging

Given that I have so much work to do as a grad student, I'm not sure that starting a blog is a wise idea. I'm looking to reduce my stress, not add to my responsibilities. Yet I've realized that I need a release--otherwise I come home with a million things to say and run at the mouth until my poor husband's head explodes.

An outlet is a very good thing.

So here I am, blogging despite what is perhaps my better judgment. This was a decision that I felt had some major weight: after spending the last year reading and writing my brains out at AU, and the two years before that in emotional turmoil due to the unnatural surgical removal of myself from almost my entire life (re: moving away from Michigan), do I really want an added responsibility to spill my guts on a regular basis? I feel raw enough already.

I used to be the kind of person who wrote five (or more) hand-written pages in a journal almost every day.

But when my husband and I moved from Michigan to Washington D.C., I went from being a prolific journal-writer to hating the sight of a spiral bound notebook. I missed everyone and everything at home so much that I wanted to stop feeling, which seemed to require that I stop thinking, at least about my own life.

Fast-foward: I've made some progress since the days when I would sit in our first apartment, which was the size of a postage stamp, and cry away afternoons without really knowing why. These days, I feel loads of stress and anxiety over school, but at least I've learned to keep myself busy. Of course, my stay-busy, stay-focused mentality has some serious down-sides: I am so focused on my own to-do list that I don't have nearly as much compassion for other people, nearly as much of a sense of responsibility to others (other than my husband Jeremy and my family), nearly as much of a desire to go out and do things with people, be friends with other human beings. I like to lock myself in my cozy apartment, tend my plants, and make jewelry for hours. I read novels, watch movies and television, rearrange my furniture, and learn more about art from my many books--Chagall or Degas or the Native American doll collection at the Museum of the American Indian in downtown D.C.

I became too good at keeping myself amused... but then came grad school. Now I don't have nearly enough time for all things that I need to do for my classes. Forget becoming absorbed in my hobbies; I don't even feel like I'm keeping up with my own career goals. Consequently, I don't really feel like I care about the things outside my little world any more. I'm numb.

But every once in a while, I have these moments...just moments...where I feel like I open up to the world around me. I look up at the sky while I'm sitting on my balcony, and it's just so blue that I want to share it with someone. Candle-light and the little twinkle-lights on my porch make my heart glow.

I begin to feel like Virginia Woolf and suddenly I could write pages in my journal again, even if it's just about the breeze on my face and the way it makes my heart flutter and think of the times I spent by the lake at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor.

But does any body really want to read the accumulation of my Virginia Woolf moments?

Another important consideration about starting a blog: will I get myself into trouble again? The last time I blogged, I was the cause of some serious drama, and since I HATE (social) drama (nevermind that I seem to find myself in the middle of it not infrequently, at least in regards to my life with people in Michigan) I put a serious moratorium on all blogging.

But, that was freshman year of college. I was young, torn between more than one boy--all of which were NOT interested in me, and trying to make huge course-of-your-life decisions. Also, I was caught up in other people's lives--about which I should NOT have opened my mouth to the readers of my blog.

Am I likely to make the same kinds of mistakes when blogging now? Much less likely. Of course, I also run the risk of being far less interesting for other people to read, since being married to a sane and loving husband is a lot less Dawson's Creek than being a college freshman living in a dorm. But, when I polled Facebook about whether or not to start a blog, the only person who responded to my question gave me some advice along the lines of--write if you want to, if you need to. In other words, write for yourself (at least, I think that's what she meant... thanks Arielle).

But, I'm vain. That poll was about vanity.

But she's right, and so here I am. I'll write for myself--but I'll hope that someone will stroke my ego and make me feel like my efforts are appreciated on some level (re: please post a response!!). That way, even if I sacrifice my sanity to blog, at least I'll feel like it was worth it, to serve as cheap amusement for someone surfing the internet.
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