Friday, March 6, 2009

Random thoughts before I go to see the Wizard......

Sometimes being me is a pain in the ass. I have a lot to do right now - a lot lot. And I am getting a lot of it done.

But par usual, I am focusing way too much energy on the things that are of relatively lower importance. I know that I am going to get a basic four point. My remedial algebra class, ironically, would screw me, but it doesn't count as a non-transfer, non-degree supporting class. But I am obsessing over my last paper - even though I will get a high enough score to get full points. I am obsessing over another paper for my humanities class, even though it really isn't that important either. And I'm obsessing over my next English paper, even though I really don't need to.

I am moving forward on my side project that will, ultimately, be far more important to my educational and career goals, but I am not focusing nearly as much as I should be on it. In part, I suspect it is because of this fear of success bullshit that has been plaguing me for years. I have this stupid damned habit of sabotage through attrition.

I was a very decent actor, lyricist and pretty boy, when I was living in St. Louis. I was regularly interviewed on public radio. I had a chance to get in with an agent, who would have started me in adverts and moved me up from there. But when it came time for my major interview - I showed up fifteen minutes late, mildly drunk and coked up. While being in that state worked reasonably well for performances and public radio, it didn't so much for the execs from a major marketing agency. They were suitably impressed with my body and my ability to spout off, but my inability to sit down and the speed with which I spoke was not so impressive.

I am a very good songwriter. I actually made some money at one point, writing Christian worship music. Then it came out that I'm not actually a Christian and the publishing house actually talked about suing me - many of the churches that were using my music quit using it at all. I was also working on getting in with a marketing firm (pays really damned well), but managed to screw that around, because I was too focused on where I was already making some money, little as it was.

I really need better flexibility so I can kick my own ass!!!

4 comments:

Juniper Shoemaker said...

This response to your recent post is meant as encouragement-- of the tough rather than tender love variety, though. You may take offense. I have no desire to offend you, so I apologize if I wind up being clumsy enough to do so.

My remedial algebra class, ironically, would screw me, but it doesn't count as a non-transfer, non-degree supporting class.

Okay. Great. Eventually, though, you're going to have to master enough arithmetic to deftly employ quantitative methods for social science research. You don't have to grasp the mathematical theory behind, say, chi-square or ANOVA to successfully conduct statistical analyses. However, the closer you get to precalculus/calculus, the more comfortable you'll be using programs like SPSS. And 95% of that shit's just algebra.

But I am obsessing over my last paper - even though I will get a high enough score to get full points. I am obsessing over another paper for my humanities class, even though it really isn't that important either. And I'm obsessing over my next English paper, even though I really don't need to.

Speaking as a gifted writer who was once an undergrad herself: prioritization of assignments is one thing. But overconfidence in something you know you do exceptionally well can limit you intellectually. Counterintuitive, but true.

I was a very decent actor, lyricist and pretty boy, when I was living in St. Louis. I was regularly interviewed on public radio. I had a chance to get in with an agent, who would have started me in adverts and moved me up from there. But when it came time for my major interview - I showed up fifteen minutes late, mildly drunk and coked up. While being in that state worked reasonably well for performances and public radio, it didn't so much for the execs from a major marketing agency. They were suitably impressed with my body and my ability to spout off, but my inability to sit down and the speed with which I spoke was not so impressive.

You wouldn't have wanted to do this shit for a living anyway. (Several of my classmates from college moved on to indie films, major Hollywood films, TV series, and Broadway productions. I hung out with/hung around some of them.) That's presumptuous, I know. Oh, well. FWIW. You'd've felt intellectually underengaged. You probably already suspected that at the time, on some level.

In part, I suspect it is because of this fear of success bullshit that has been plaguing me for years. I have this stupid damned habit of sabotage through attrition.

I totally identify with this experience. Far as I can tell, though: as you learn more and more about yourself, and as you engage more and more with work that maximally fulfills you, the more it rectifies itself. In retrospect, I realize that I often sabotaged myself when there was no other way to get me to pay attention to what lifestyle I really needed to be well and what I really wanted to do. You should trust yourself not to fuck up a career which most authentically suits you. You need your own frequently-cast vote of confidence.

I really need better flexibility so I can kick my own ass!!!

This is so not the optimal place to give you a quote that I probably should have given you on JLK's blog. Therefore, it may not be understood as I intended. Again, for what it's worth, though, I will try it: "And any man who has to say 'I am the king' is no king at all." I'll leave it at that for now.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Okay. Great. Eventually, though, you're going to have to master enough arithmetic to deftly employ quantitative methods for social science research.

Trust me, I am aware. The thing is, that this class is giving me the tools I need to get a much better grade in an algebra class that counts. Once I can get past that, I'm golden - it's not math in general that's a problem for me - I do theorems just fine, used it a lot engineering remodel projects. It's just basic algebra that has pretty much just been Greek to me.

But overconfidence in something you know you do exceptionally well can limit you intellectually.

The problem is that the paper really will be a cakewalk. I have the material down and the focus solid - basically, I'm three weeks ahead of the game for this paper.

The problem is that I need to be focusing more on the fifty some odd page paper that I want to present at the APA conference - in part, because I want the input of the instructor for the class the paper I'm obsessing over. She knows I am working on this and want her input - as such she told me to ignore my last paper, take it easy on the next one and the first eight to ten pages of the big one will qualify for the last paper of the semester.

Basically, I really need to fuck the bullshit and focus my priorities. OTOH, my therapist suggested that I just keep going and write the next fucking paper so it's out of the way, then focus on the rest.

You wouldn't have wanted to do this shit for a living anyway.

Trust me, I'm aware. But I really really wanted to at the time. It would have been pretty much the culmination of what I was at at the time. Long term, it wouldn't have been so fun - but it also would have given me a leg up as a pro-musician, which I still want in a certain regard. Not that I have time or would allow it to interfere with school, but I love my music - creating it, recording it, performing it - especially performing.

And I do understand the last - you hit on one of my major faults. But at the same time, I am trying to make that reality - earn my incredible fucking ego.

Which would be much easier to manage, were I not so keen on sabotaging my success.

DaisyDeadhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaisyDeadhead said...

I actually made some money at one point, writing Christian worship music. Then it came out that I'm not actually a Christian and the publishing house actually talked about suing me - many of the churches that were using my music quit using it at all.

This is like finding out that the Moody Blues were NOT doing acid when they wrote the Timothy Leary song. :P (I remember just being SO disappointed!)

Sorry they quit using your music! I am pretty fascinated that they couldn't "tell" though. We'll never know if people like Mozart "believed" in all the religious music they wrote. (there is some evidence that Bach actually did)