Wednesday, November 03, 2010

"Never Try, Never Fail"

A few years ago, the kids were really into the cartoon movie "Robots." At one point one of the robots says "My motto has always been 'Never Try, Never Fail." We, adults, laughed uproariously. Now as I gather my materials for submission to Ph.D. programs those words don't seem so funny. What started out as a energetic, excitement has trickled into a nerve wracked crawl. I often wonder if I'm slowing down in hopes that "Oops! Didn't get it done in time." will just sort of happen, and I can do the never try, never fail method of life.

When I look at everything all laid out, I just feel like I'm not such a great candidate for a program. The insecurity slowly eats away at me as I struggle through the day. When a reading seems to hard, I immediate peg this moment as meaning: You're not good enough to do a Ph.D. program as opposed to the fact that reading with Rowena screaming two inches from my ear might be a tad distracting. OMG! A typo on Facebook. Yeah I suck and can't write. And these thoughts are followed by "Why bother?" Why sink all this money into something you're just going to suck at. I actually lay awake a night and worry that I'm going to mispronounce a word as a teaching assistant.  This is life when you just don't feel good enough.

These are the times when I read stuff like this and feel this intense envy. I want that house, and that life. I want to put away these applications and move to a farm in Maine where I will do crafty things and my kids will always clean and lovely. I day dream about a life where I am not constantly feeling this lack. A life where I feel good enough. Of course I know that if I had the lives I read about, I'd feel just as insecure. Hell I'm about as crafty as nothing so that alone would be a big fail. And let's face it, my housecleaning and decorating skills are zilch. I'm not really cut out for the farm life either. I am lucky that I am able to feed the kids and myself. And god forbid I don't live real damn close to a Starbucks.

Really, I'm just longing for a place where I feel good enough. The two-sidedness I spoke of last evening has nothing to do with thinking that any other kind of life is easy. It has to do with me feeling like I'm doing everything like shit. I feel like my academic reading and writing are not so great, and then I struggle with feeling like a horrible mother and home schooling mother at that...I just feel like I don't do anything good enough. This is a hard feeling to live with, and I can't help but wish I could focus on just one thing. But then I wonder if that desire comes from just being afraid to fail.

As I send in these applications I struggle with realizing how much I really want this. I tried to distance myself because to admit that I wanted this with a deep, deep desire made me even more scared of failing. I can't imagine what it will feel like if all these schools reject my application. It's a dark place that I am afraid to explore too deeply.

4 comments:

John B-R said...

Next week you're getting a pep talk. You've accomplished so much and continue to. The pep talk may last 30 seconds, but be ready for it.

Hmm, maybe I just gave it, I won't bother, but we'll see ...

Leelee said...

Dear Ginger..
First of all, for shame you feel like this! Ok, I suppose it's time to divulge a secret to you..

Throughout all the classes I took with you, I would always tell my parents how I longed to be as smart as you. How I longed to be able to speak adequately and academically as you and Sean used to. To be able to read great works like you did, and really get it. I was the one who didn't feel good enough.I looked up to you.

I know what it's like to feel "not good enough" I've never felt good enough. I deserved nothing. It's a feeling I struggle with every day. My husband gets pissed at me because it bothers him that ANYONE would think badly of me, INCLUDING myself.. he says I'm too hard on myself. My thought is how can I be the best to my potential, if I'm not hard on myself and reach those levels I know I can. But that's my issue. We're talking about you today..

I want you to take a look at all you've accomplished. You have 4 gorgeous children, a wonderful supportive husband, you actually get to teach (where some people would give their right arm to do so), and you actually have your Master's (again with the right arm), and now you are GOING to start your PhD. With all the obstacles you've overcome, all the little things that others would have given up their dream, you pushed through and have succeeded!
What makes you think you're NOT going to succeed with this? Anyone who knows you, Ginger, knows that not only will you accomplish, but excel... don't you DARE waste one second thinking otherwise. And if ANYONE gives you trouble, you have friends like us who are there for you to beat the Academy up, smack your ego into shape, and support you in whatever you choose to do. But don't let your mind get in your way when it comes to accomplishing the things you KNOW you can do. :) there.. my 3 and 1/2 cents...

Ginger As in Green Tea... said...

Love you guys. H as been giving me shit too:) I think it's that terror of what if and I am trying very hard to let go of it. To remind myself that I am capable.

And LeeLee: so smart and I don't want to hear otherwise!!! I know because I got to take classes with you and listen to your ideas.

Leelee said...

*hugs* to you Ginger...
you're going to GREAT!! You're going to blow everyone in that program away! And when you write your first book, I want a signed copy!! :)