Saturday, December 13, 2008

Revising Self Image

Slowly, the realization is dawning that my self-image of past years contains a number of elements that were tumor-related, not intrinsic parts of my personhood. For example, “Tina is clumsy” is likely more of a tumor effect than a foundation truth. I’ve never been the world’s most coordinated, graceful person. This is constantly emphasized because I live with some on that side of the line, and there’s a big difference between their natural abilities and mine, but I’m also not the total klutz those years suggested. Many of the vexing, unexplainable, intermittent physical problems of that time—sore shoulders, headaches, odd fatigue, inability to do some exercises that involved moving my head in certain ways because it was painful—were not my imagination, wimphood or some form of weird hypochondria. In fact, not to be too self-congratulatory, in retrospect, I’d have to award myself at least a passing grade for dealing with what came along with moderate grace.

This all means (again) that I should be less hard on myself, more trusting of signals my body sends and generally more accepting. In some ways, this produces a vertigo of perception about the past few years. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

Otherwise, the end of the fall semester is in sight: I successfully finished my final talk of the year yesterday. I was worried about it to the point that I had anxiety dreams the night before: missed getting off at the correct train stop, so I was late for the talk; couldn’t find any formal presentation clothes, so had to go in blue jeans; wrote a talk on the wrong topic…. you name it. Once there, though, it all went well. The group meetings were substantive and interesting and the talk worked well with an engaged audience. Whew.

For family Friday Movie Night, we watched several episodes of Forty Something, a Hugh Laurie production. (He starred and directed.) There were multiple places we were all laughing out loud, which was just the ticket last night. Shea loves British comedy, and Fry and Laurie particularly, so we’re watching our way through their work over time. If you like anything in the genre, this is worth watching. There are only six episodes, as it’s evidently an adaptation of a book; later, we’ll track that down as well. Am I the only one who thinks their names are completely backwards? I think the round-faced guy should be Hugh and the skinny one should be Stephen. Shea is mystified by this conviction of mine, but it persists over time.

There are only have five more papers to read and score, plus mopping up loose ends and calculating final grades for the final class. With any luck, I’ll get that done today and tomorrow will bring baking Christmas cookies with Shea. I’m really, really ready for that!

Turning to thinking about the holidays, Kearney and Brad are out of vacation time for traveling this year (due to time with us on vacation, time here for my surgery, and time here when my dad died), so we’ll try to go see them at least for a weekend. Michael and Shea will go cut down a tree today, continuing the tradition the girls established with Ernie so many years ago. We have stuck with the last tree farm Ernie selected, even though we know that he often switched from year to year, based on his scouting over the summer and his judgments each year about the “superior” trees each year. He reverted to this farm often enough that we feel it would have his approval. They will call Kearney when they select the tree so she can be involved, even from her distance. Shea is a big believer in the school of “more is more,” so while I’m ready for slightly smaller trees than we’ve had in the past, I expect that this year will again bring us a behemoth. At least now that she’s older, more the physical labor of dealing with the massive trees is hers, so she’s more involved in the cost-benefit analysis of “even bigger!”

More as soon as the semester is truly over. The finish line is in sight. It’s a good feeling.

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