Mental Megaserial*

*Megaserial:  Indian word for soap opera. The kind that never ends.

How does it feel to breathe?

The past two weeks, three weeks, three months, six months have been excruciating on the work front.  Not that the following weeks bode any better, but my saving graces are that (a) The next two months will be intensive science writing, which I love until it kills me and (b) I have resolved not to take on any editing work from students any more.  I know that as a language editor, I must not judge the content, but the science lover in me cringes at the kind of communication that pass as being scientific and I am torn between my love of words and love for science.  I had struggled with editing a thesis for a month – it took a long time to even decipher the matter in order to edit the language, which I don’t mind, it’s part of my job alright, but the utter insincerity of the work and dubiousness of the science were the last straws.

**

I met my fav blogger last weekend, she was sweet enough to drop into my city on the way back home from an overseas conference, with the only purpose of meeting me.  We have been blog-friends for a while now, and although we knew each other’s phone numbers, we communicated only by the written word.  Still, when we met, it was as if we’ve been friends since birth.  When I accompanied her to the airport to send her off, my family wondered if they need include me in their dinner plans, because considering how enamoured I had been all day with my “new” friend, they were sure I would call from her city that I decided to accompany her home and would return in a year or so.

Of the many things that resonated between us, was our common hatred of domesticity.  It is comforting that there are real life  women who detest house work like I do, but what impressed me about her was her utter refusal to feel guilty about it, unlike someone you know, who is her own best guide on that trip.  Gumption. That’s her.

**

Talking of domesticity, I read an article recently, titled “Women aren’t nags, we are just fed up” and it was like seeing light.  My family is not bad, they are supportive etc., and yet I have been, of late, having the biggest feeling of resentment towards them.  Whenever I have a melt down with them about the sheer volume of work I am doing, and I have had a lot of those recently – my family is always baffled  – “why are you so mad?  All you have to do is ask us to do something and we would”. And they really would.  If I was bored with cooking, I could always Swiggy the meal – my credit card has been having a lot of those entries lately – and I needn’t do anything I don’t want to, and yet, why was I angry all the time?

“That’s the point,” I said, now in tears, “I don’t want to have to ask.”

That sentence was my answer. Even if I was absolved of a chore, I was never absolved of the responsibility and 16 years of the “emotional labor” as it is called, has taken its toll.

I need to figure out how to offload some of the burden of emotional investment in daily life functioning.  I know the first way is to stop being hard on myself and my guilt complex.  Easy to write.

**

The kid’s first set of pre-board exams gets done today.  Yesterday, she was in tears with exhaustion of preparing for the exams, and couldn’t concentrate on her last exam. I can relate to her feeling.  Much as I loved school, education and exam, I have had a burn out episode too.  My last board exam in 12th was biology, and the last question was to draw the structure of the inner ear and describe its functions, for 3 marks.  I knew the answer to it, and had ample time to write it, but I just could not.  Like Balaam’s donkey, my mind refused to write that answer, being completely burnt out with the months of studying, and no matter how much I tried convincing myself that it would take me a maximum of 3 minutes to answer that question, I just couldn’t.  I turned in the paper without answering that question.  The irony was that I got 197/200 on that paper, the three marks lost on the question that I had simply refused to answer, for no good reason.

I sat with her all day, to help her through her studies, and we laughed like lunatics through most of it.  She has left for her last exam, vowing “I will go, I will see and I will blabber”.

**

Merry Christmas to those that celebrate.

 

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9 thoughts on “Mental Megaserial*

  1. Carol

    Oh, that housework guilt thing. I do just fine dismissing the guilt when I’m home alone, but the minute someone else is here if I haven’t “neatened and done dust removal” guilt invades my soul. I’m working on it, and hope someday to achieve the level of dismissiveness your newly met blogger friend has. Wishing you happy holidays!

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  2. leendadll

    I can relate to all of that… esp the burn out. I love the “don’t want to have to ask” quote!!!!! SO PERFECT!! Depression is like that too… you know there’s tons of help available but asking for it feels impossible and that “if people really knew/loved me then they’d help without having to be asked.”… when they don’t, it feels like help is not deserved.

    I’m sorry you’re so overwhelmed with obligations. I literally haven’t cleaned house… no dusting, vacuuming, mopping, dishes. etc… in so long that I don’t remember the last time I did (seriously MONTHS ago; years ago for the dusting). I’m a fan of Quentin Crisp’s quote, “after the first 4 years, the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”

    I’m happy you got to meet your blogger friend!! Back in the days of Vox, they’d regularly hold “meetup” events… we had something like 72 bloggers, from all over the US, at the SanFran meetup. Since I live near Los Angeles/Hollywood, I’ve been fortunate to meet several as they passed through on vacations. It’s always fun… even if we turn out to having nothing in common IRL.

    Your work always sounds like something I’d love, even with the aggravation. How did you break into it?

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    1. Gobblefunkist Post author

      I got into my line of work thanks to the colossal American economic shut down of 1997-1998, the period when I was being played off jobs in the US, every other month thanks to recession. My visa was running out, and I had to come back home, but the last company that I worked for was sorry to let me go, but were impressed with my writing skills. Since writing was a geography-free activity, they gave me projects offshore once the economy improved – it was cheaper for them that way, since they didn’t have to pay me full salary, only a consultant fee, and given the $-Rupee exchange, it suited me fine as well. That writing put me into more writing, and I got better at it (I think), and things happened after that, pretty automatically.
      I am so glad for the American recession of the 1990’s !

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      1. leendadll

        Gawd, that recession was hard on me – cause it had me stuck in the worst job of my life… but all ended well as ended up off work for a year at full pay (stress disability then layoff).

        I posted about an odd “job” (more volunteer) offer from a photo archive project in Italy. I might take them up on it for the experience and to see if it leads to more.

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  3. Shachi Kale

    I’m glad you were able to meet your fav blogger. She’s my fav too 😊. I have never seen anyone embrace her life without guilt more than her. I on the other hand am 90% guilt, 5% ambivalence and 5% resentment. Hoping to embrace a guilt less life some day! Hope you can too!

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