we got back last night from our 4th consecutive weekend out-of-town. it was a kick-ass weekend — great, great times with good friends from college; there was a beautiful wedding involved, as well as lots of eating and loitering, which made it feel just like old times. i wouldn’t have changed anything about it.

but then we got home, and a few hours later i find myself in class (my last first day of class ever, at least in an official graduate student capacity, though i’m hesitant to say things like that because i feel like i could get sucked in again), and our glorious 6 weeks of lounging and traveling come to a screeching halt. now i am a student again, much as i have been for almost all of the last 27 years. and people keep calling me lizzo fantasticmrfox, and i have to smile and say “no, i’m still lizzo badizzo,” and they stare at me blankly and confusedly, because me saying that i’m not taking my husband’s last name is, in their minds and in this culture, almost tantamount to saying that i don’t love him. (for the record, i do. very much.) and i have to find a brief way to explain myself without offending them and/or their mothers and every other woman in their lives who has, upon matriomony, changed her last name. i have yet to come up with an appropriate schtick, so my explanations all sound a bit too casual or slightly confrontational. they walk away, and i am left with a gnawing sense in the pit of my stomach of being misunderstood, a feeling that i am a bit too familiar with and one that i try to avoid at all costs.

on top of this, i read in rapid-fire succession about two asian american actresses who are on the cusp of Making It, as well as a high school classmate whose memoir is going to be published by a major publishing house next spring, and i feel like i’ve been sucker-punched. i am overwhelmed with envy because people whose stats are rather close to mine are out doing things that i would like to be doing, things that are far more interesting than what i am currently doing, which is checking my email and my twitter as i wait for the minutes in this final class to tick away. and then i will spend a year commuting 2 hours a day to a job that i feel ambiguous about at best. and then i will be free, armed with 6 years of education and three degrees that leave me generally unqualified for the more interesting things i’d like to be doing.

which leads me to the burning question, the question that i’m generally trying to move people toward: what can i do about it? what can i do to change my situation? or, if my situation cannot be changed, how can i make it bearable, how can i prepare for it to change, and how can i prepare for life after it has changed? which leads me to the conclusion that i need to write. regardless of how much other stuff needs to get done, regardless of how tired i am at the end of the day, i need to freaking write. because if this is what i actually want to be doing, then dammit, i need to be doing it, because i’m not getting any better at it by avoiding it and glowering over the success of other people.

so here i am. a large part of me wants to apologize for the angst, but i’m biting my tongue, because learning to be honest in public and not to be terribly concerned with what other people think about it are the directions i need to be pushing in at the moment.

so, friend, i am making a promise to you today: expect more writing, and expect more honesty. here we go.

7 thoughts on “disoriented.

  1. liz, fantastic post.i know that feeling of envy! although i do have to say that outside of the fear of the odds of success, or the role that sheer laziness plays, i tend to defer dreams (or at least half-assedly pursue them) because i can hide behind the idea that, if i fail, the world has not assessed my 100% performance. that was only 50%. or perhaps 60. not my entirety, no! in a weird way, i can keep the dream alive if i don't pursue it. i can entertain the vague luxury that, if only i gave it my all, i would've become some sort of artist or famous person.also, i support your keeping your last name.

  2. oh! also, if i *do* become successful while half-assing it, that means i was made to do that thing. or so i think. it's a weird bit of risk management.

  3. agreed on that feeling on envy. on the plus side, you will have three degrees! still rockin' the useless BA here.not to sound mean or anything, but does everyone even deserve an explanation about not changing your last name?

  4. thanks for the love, friends. you kept me from deleting this post when i woke up this morning. :)ray: that makes perfect sense, both the protective mechanism of half-assing something (there's a social psych term for this, i'll find it) and keeping the dream alive by not making it a reality. about the last name: there's a post coming for this. the cultural divide is fascinating.

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