but apparently that's what i need. not eating protein with breakfast? "how about a fucking hard-boiled egg?!" elena says. ok. i admit it. sometimes i need someone to tell me "shut up, sit down, and respond to your work emails. RIGHT NOW."
last week i got in trouble for not responding to student and admin emails in a timely manner. because i've been avoiding things. i focused on my research, my phd students: the stuff i like doing. which meant i had over 400 unread emails in my inbox. UNREAD AND UNDEALT with (and this doesn't include the ones i read, starred, and meant to get back to later). so i spent three days last week doing that.
this whole story is related to me realizing more things about who i am and how i deal with things. a few weeks ago, i spent several hours writing out the positive and negative traits my parents have and how i express these same traits. and when i recently saw my mother, i talked to her about some of these things. it was the first time i had seen her in person since i had told her about bulimia a few months ago (i had hidden my struggle from her for 8 years).
when we talked face to face, she was asking me why i felt the need to avoid strong feelings and binge and purge instead. part of it is that i learned the avoidance from my parents. so i tell her, "well, you know how dad never shows anger toward us because he doesn't want to upset us? well i think that i learned some of these emotion-avoidance techniques from seeing them modeled."
my mom does this too, but i didn't mention it to her. i focused on dad. then, after a few minutes, my mom quietly said, "i think i do that too." and i crumpled inside. it was emotionally beautiful. i softly and slowly replied, "yeah, a little bit. but that's because that's how you've learned to manage your feelings. i just need to learn a new way now." and it was probably the most real and most amazing conversation we've had in a while.
i've been trying to "name" my most overwhelming traits that voice themselves in my head, so i can talk back to them and tell them how ridiculous they are:
miss smartypants can do it herself: i have a fucking phd. i know what i'm talking about. don't try to give me advice or fix me. i know what i'm doing and why i do it. don't even try to help me in any way.
miss disrespect: my time is more important than your time is. i need to get on this fucking train right now, and i need you to get the fuck out of my way. i'm quite sure you don't need to do as much as i do today. i'm busy being super amazing and i don't have time for your needs.
and, of course, annie avoidance: this feels too hard to deal with now; i'll do it later. if i avoid it now, it might just go away. if it doesn't go away, at least i don't have to feel it now. isn't it better to protect myself from feeling these intense things?
god those are embarrassing to read. the reasons i keep these voices around in my head are pathetic. sad. terrible to think about. and i hate listening to them. so i'm putting them out there. because that helps me be more accountable.
this week i commit to more routinely recognize and respond to others' needs more fully. i will give of myself at work as i do to my friends. promise: i will spend one full hour each morning or afternoon completely engaging with and responding to emails. consequence: if i don't meet this goal each weekday, i have to skip sunday afternoon yoga and set aside an additional two hours to catch up on the backlog. (richard--when you see me sunday afternoons, ask me if i've been emailing!)
and i also commit to still taking the time for myself that i need. evidenced: fullness training with elena on the mat this morning before leaving the house; facetiming with sister at the office earlier today and having a creepy face contest (umm i totes won that shit). and, to sister: #iloveyoumorethanyouloveme
a, thanks for the cover-ups before i could deal. k, thanks for the promise brainstorming. and o, thanks heaps for the fake lifecoach bossypants-ing.