What angst looks like

Today I made a huuuge fool of myself. I wanted to start digging and get in the ground, cover myself real good with dirt, and never, EVER come out again. And what’s worse is that if it hadn’t been for this gigantic embarrassment, my day would’ve been fine, maybe even a little better. But now my day is ruined and I’ll go in the record as the dumbest attempt at a student ever.

I think I’m gonna have to divide what actually happened in two parts. The first is the good part of my day, something I had been looking forward to, and the second is the self-inflicted torture that ruined my day, and possible a lot more days to come.

So the first part goes like this: I’ve been offered a job at my uni’s historical institute (a.k.a. Mount Olympus), I’ll be working as an assistant to two of their journals. This was made possible thanks to a dear dear teacher for whom I’ve worked as an assistant before and who (as what happened later only confirms) thinks just too much of me. He suggested me for the position to the other editors when it became vacant, and it was thanks to him that they chose me over a several other candidates, without so much as an interview. Today was the first time I was meeting 2 of them (there are four editors, two of them were absent: my professor and another one whom I didn’t know). I was excited because I was going to find out everything about what it is they want me to do and the whole nine yards basically. So I left my job at 3:30 and not a second earlier, drove like crazy to try to be there at 4 like they had asked me to, and made it at 4:10 more or less. I met two of the editors and they laid out their plans, and everything was dandy.  And this is where it gets ugly and complicated.

There was another business I had to attend at the institute, I had a thesis seminar my tutor signed me up for. At the time (it started back in December)she let me know I had to attend it once a month on a day where I had failed yet again to meet the deadline for a chapter, and she looked pissed with good reason. This seminar includes undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate students who are in the process of writing our respective dissertations, and this made me feel absolutely unsuited for the whole thing. How could my thesis, a simple, probably boring, not even from a history major, undergraduate dissertation, be compared to an eloquent thesis for a doctorate in History??? But up to today I’d managed to keep my head above water, reading the texts and managing to open my mouth without letting the butterflies escape. Yep, up to today.

This week however, I didn’t manage to fully read one of the two texts that we were going to discuss; I was a lazy ass and quite frankly forgot about reading them until yesterday. I read one and about three thirds of the other one  last night on my laptop and didn’t write down my notes. I arrived late to the thing (it also started at 4), and was almost immediately asked to provide my feedback for the text I didn’t finish. It was the first chapter of a graduate dissertation and a damn good text, but I didn’t really have much to say besides that. I should’ve been honest and say I hadn’t had time to work on it, however for a split second I thought I could wing it. Guess what…I couldn’t. I started babbling without saying anything remotely articulated, and then… I just couldn’t shut up!! I looked like president Peña Nieto on a streak. I went on and on talking without saying something for about two minutes that felt like 2 hours, with 7 people staring at me waiting for a mildly reasonable idea to come out of my mouth, until a kind soul put me out of my misery by saying “why don’t you just think about it, and we’ll go back to you?”. I wanted to open the window and just escape, but that’s not even it!

It was bad enough making a complete fool of myself in front of all of them, but it just gets worse. This guy who gave me an out was the other professor who’s responsible for the seminar besides my tutor, but as I was about to find out, that’s not the only way I’m connected to him. When the seminar was over and I thought I could begin to recover from my humiliation….this same professor approaches me and tells me he wants to see me in his cubicle… as he is the other absent editor I’m supposed to work for!! I just felt like dropping dead right there.

So I went to his cubicle where he explained details he considered important for me to know about my new job, but all I could really do was wonder if he was thinking something on the line of: “THIS??? REALLY??? THIS is the girl I’ve been told about?? This mediocre, dumb, insecure loser is who I’m supposed to trust my journal to?”

God, just remembering this makes me want to die all over again. And I feel like cutting again. Bad. Something’s different though, I feel like calling Mr. Shrinky. He and N always tell me to call them when I get like this. Most times it doesn’t even cross my mind. Sometimes it does but I dismiss it like the stupidest thing I could do. But today… I wanna talk to him. I probably won’t, I’m not strong enough to call, and don’t have the privacy to do so either, so maybe, for the second time today, I’ll see if I can wing it.


22 thoughts on “What angst looks like

  1. I’m guessing you are you’re own worst critic. I’m sorry that happened but everyone has bad moments and maybe that’s all he may have been thinking. When you start the job, go in an show them what you can do for them! xo

  2. dont be so hard on yourself. the way you saw it was much more pressured than others. we all forget, we all make mistakes, and we all look silly from time to time…..and at first we surely wish we could die, but then we get perspective from outside and realize we can and will get back up. and when we do, its fine again.

  3. Ok do it’s official those things really do happen in real life and not just the movies, but here’s the cool thing, deep breath . Oh yeah your actually really freakin smart and super good at what you do and experienced in the position they want you for. Deep breath, so you compose yourself go to your next meeting being the Rock Star you, me, your bf know your truly are and laugh it off, kinda wow what fluke kinda stuff. Ok, that’s all I got.
    😀 sorry you had to go through that I’d freak out myself.

  4. I’m sure that the professor – if he realized you hadn’t read the text – still doesn’t think it’s awful. I mean come on. No one reads all the required texts all the time. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
    I like that you thought about talking to your t. Even if you didn’t call him, I think it’s good that you considered it! xx

  5. Had you not just come from an interview you probably would have faked your way through it without feeling insecure about it. You had a lot to get through in a short period of time, and had been talking already for how long? Next time you will rock the comment and no one will be thinking of this time.
    Plus, considering the other professor talked to you about your responsibilities and didn’t question you about your ability, I think you’re fine. File this away in the never-to-be-thought-of-again category and go on with finishing your thesis and starting your new job. It’s all you can do. You can’t go back and change it, so go forward and learn from it.

  6. Chatte,
    You’ve gotten so many wise replies, there’s not a lot left to say (but when has that ever stopped me…. :)) When we don’t get our needs met as children, we spend a lot of time trying to perfect ourselves so that we’ll finally be good enough to get our needs met. But its a sucker’s bet, because we already are worthy, the deficit is in our caregivers. But that is WAY too scary a thought to face as a child, so its safer to believe it’s us, so we can think we have some kind of control over what is an uncontrollable and terrible situation. So we internalize too things: we suck and we have to be perfect. We grow up and when we do something that is a perfectly reasonable, human thing to do (as Juliet said, no one ever does all the reading!), it looms as so much more threatening because of those internal beliefs. All the good things we do roll right off or we discount that we did them (hence your comment that your comment that your dear teacher thinks too highly of you. Actually she doesn’t, its just that her view of you is undistorted by your own perceptions of yourself based on your childhood experiences). But if we mess up. whooo hooo, that we take right in because it fits our story of “I suck.” And yes, I am describing this so perfectly, because it could have been me in that story. 🙂 When we don’t carry a sense of our own worth, mistakes can feel SO threatening, when really all they are is mistakes. Everyone makes ’em. Messing up one answer (and on a day you were rushed and stressed) does not completely define you. It just feels like it did. xx AG

    • Wow, thank you for your insight AG! I’m really gonna re-think this through. It’s still a tough moment to remember but I think I’ll get through it. When I read your thoughts I felt something clicking inside, it just felt right. Growing up I was always working my hardest to be the perfect daughter, didn’t get me anywhere though, it was never good enough, not even close enough… Thank you so much for your support! xoxo

  7. I had a feeling like sinking into the ground the entire first half of this week. In the end it made me creative. There is nothing wrong with embarassment. It happens to all of us. Sometimes it helps to curse, but I read your next post. Seems I’m very late telloing you this. Smile, you are on candid camera.

  8. Pingback: Take it as it comes | not all about cats

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