Facing reality

It’s a pun. It’s also not a pun.



I am currently making progress with this essay that should have been finished about five days ago, progress that has required pushing through shame and nausea in order to make anything happen. Momentum has occurred, and the only reason I am pausing to write this post is for the sake of my mental health.

This semester has gone horribly.

Not because of my grades, because they have been some of the best I’ve ever had, which is very frustrating, as it’s also been my lowest-attendance semester ever. It’s been horrible because I failed to achieve the goal I set out for myself of keeping on top of things, which basically meant keeping up with weekly readings and viewings, as well as following through with the attitude towards assignments of “just hand something in”, as opposed to fretting over how I could (or couldn’t) make it perfect, and thus circumventing my ongoing and rapidly increasing trend of handing in assignments late (which is another reason this semester has gone horribly). If the grades are good – and by and large they are, excepting my grades for the paper I’m writing this current essay for – then all that’s really left to complain about is what I’ve taken away from this semester in terms of personal development and/or reflection, and I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know where the responsibility lies. I don’t know if it’s my anxiety crippling me or my failing to challenge my habituated laziness that has led to my abysmal attendance and deadline-meeting this semester, and while I am somebody who can just choose not to care – a skill I spent a fair amount of time perfecting, also for mental health reasons – I don’t want to not care. I want it to be important to me that I get things done when it is my intention to get them done, and I want that importance to hold me to task.

Overall it’s been a very confronting semester, and I just haven’t had the opportunity to sit back and reflect, to face that confrontation and really absorb it. I don’t like this direction I’m heading in; I know at least that much. The ability to persevere in shitty circumstances (like the one I’m currently in) is a good one, no doubt, but the ability to, like, avoid said shitty circumstances – as much as is within my power anyway – is also good. And that’s the one I’m lacking in, or it feels like I’m lacking in, and again it’s frustrating not knowing how much of it is in my control and how much isn’t. And there was the stress of moving house all throughout the semester, and the fact that my shiny new laptop didn’t (and still doesn’t) quite work properly, and my ambivalence about going to see a counselor to handle these various stressors all throughout the semester tied up in notions of self-worth and personal growth – none of that helped, and to some extent none of it could be helped. But I still know I could have done better this semester, easily. Maybe not a lot better, but some degree of better, and it may have been enough to avoid my current predicament of having a late final essay to finish tonight, and then three essays all due tomorrow (and one overdue, because writing this essay has meant not writing the one that was actually due today), and a general bitter taste in my mouth with the sense of how I’ve let myself down.

And it’s also keeping me from doing the things I actually want to do, like finishing Ni No Kuni, an awesome JRPG with animation from Studio Ghibli and music by Joe Hisaishi; getting a bike and starting to get back into exercising regularly; finding time to draw and learn guitar and experiment with YouTube and maybe dancing; reading copious amounts of YA novels to satisfy my morbid fascination with problematic teen romances – and writing my own fucking goddamn novel. That was another missed goal this semester: finding time to revise while studying. To be fair, it went a lot better than it did last semester. There was improvement on that front, so I guess I have to take that for what it is – improvement. Not as much as I wanted, but improvement nonetheless.

And focusing on improving as a writer. I talked about that a little while ago and never really went any further than that. Yesterday I was having lunch with my best friend and the issue of faces came up – she was asking about this woman in one of my tutorials and I was trying to describe what she looked like – and it brought home to me the fact that I feel really uncomfortable describing people’s faces. When it comes to faces, I feel like I have to be really literal; I can’t just give a general impression, because that wouldn’t be perfectly, totally, completely accurate. No, with me it has to be clinically exact, and I don’t know why. I guess my perfectionism isn’t only limited to assignments.

I’m great with landscapes, with moods, with internal monologue and simile. I’m good with body language, speech patterns, tics and revelations. Hell, give me random objects and I’ll infuse them with more meaning than they deserve, just because I can. But give me faces (or clothes, actually) and I’m reduced to a blubbering Frankenstein, tormented by my inability to perfectly articulate the exact literalness of every specific detail, because for some reason that’s what I think matters.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s just fucking annoying.

I’d better finish this essay.


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