Monday, July 24, 2006

Why I didn’t blog for about a gazillion years

When I went out for beers with M and his special friend S and her friend L, L asked me why I quit blogging this spring. My answer was something like, “I was feeling kind of weird and screwed up in ways I didn’t particularly want to share with strangers on the internet.”

(Note: I’m drafting this in Microsoft Word, which gives me the squiggly green line unless I capitalize Internet. Guys, the internet is not our Lord. We do not have to capitalize It. Anyway.) (No wait. Weirdly, MS Word also recognizes “gazillion” as a word, but not “blogging.” Maybe I just need to update?)

OK—where was I?

Oh yeah, weird and screwed up, don’t want to share with the internet…until now.

Basically, what happened is, I got my fall/winter grades back, and they were really good, and that made me feel like crap.

No, that doesn’t really follow. Yeah, it seems like I’m bitching about my good fortune. But here’s how it works, as best as my therapist and I can figure out. Way back in the mists of childhood, I made an overachiever-style devil’s bargain with my screwed up family, something along the lines of “I’ll be perfect and you’ll let me exist,” or maybe “I’ll be perfect and you’ll stop screaming.”

During college, I weaseled my way free of this bargain by underachieving, yet somehow managing to exist anyway. Aha! There’s a loophole! Well, not so much, because then the equation became something like: In order to have a self separate from the screwed up demands of my screwed up family, I must underachieve. Once you *have* to underachieve, it’s not fun anymore, and in my case became its own species of neurotic avoidance.

Getting my good grades back kind of activated the whole weird reaction machine: if I do well, maybe what it means is my existence is contingent on doing well. The whole thing was very PTSD-like—all of those horrible, anxious, terrified, socially isolated, brain-in-a-jar feelings from childhood and high school came flooding back. I felt like I didn’t own my own capabilities, like they were something that had been foisted on me, or something that was only useful as a sacrifice to someone else. I felt like crap.

This whole dynamic is of course only intensified by law school’s screwed up tendency to act like grades are who you are, grades measure and limit you, grades are real.

So anyway, it took me about five weeks to figure this shit out and start feeling better. Five weeks during which I had a very hard time working, thus necessitating a very ugly end of the quarter. But I did learn this: If you haven’t done more than four or five days of the reading for Con Law, Chemerinsky’s mini-treatise is a very good idea.


At 1:26 PM, July 25, 2006, Anonymous Lola said...

Yay, you're back. And I'm so proud to be mentioned as 'L.' Makes me feel like I'm in some French experimental novel.

We should all meet up for beers again.


At 5:55 PM, August 30, 2006, Blogger velvet_rut said...

I'm glad that you're back.


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