Revising the old self image, round 2, part 1.
After Bun Bun was born, I experienced some large shifts in my self image and identity. Not so much with Bunlet, so I figured I was all…shifted. But then I realized the Bad Feelings I’ve been slogging through lately have less to do with individual things going on and more to do with coming to terms with myself as a mother of three. THREE.
It started when I couldn’t find garments to cover my nakedness. I have a Professor Uniform that provides me with reasonable degree of confidence in my self presentation. I’m not all CHECK OUT MY STYLE! but I am all Check out how I have clothes on! However, the Professor Uniform has been banished and I have been wearing the same pair of pants (elastic waist! I am 80 years old!) and boxy shirts (boxy! great look!) every day. Not being able to dress like ME was making me feel shitty. I was powering through this first world problem, but then I had to face the prospect of a transatlantic flight for a conference. For some reason, crossing the ocean in an airplane makes me think I need an entirely new wardrobe. You know, so I can toss a few things in a suitcase and come out on the other side looking effortlessly put together? This sounds frivolous, and you’re like There is/are [insert your favorite global crisis here] going on in the world, you know, and yes, I DO know, but it was having a weirdly large impact on me. I found myself thinking I hate my body, which I totally don’t, and also looking at FASHION BLOGS, which I normally spit on. Not just looking, but 90% convinced that if I bought just the right expensive handbag everything would be better.
Then, my search for the magic handbag was interrupted by an email letting me know that the paper I’d submitted to a top journal in my field, which it took them a YEAR to review (average is more like three months) had been rejected. I never get a flat reject anymore, but…top journal. I took a few days off, because going to work was utterly pointless since all I was doing was crying.
Yes, the rejection would have felt less awful if it hadn’t taken a year, but it’s all part of the game, so I couldn’t figure out why I was so utterly crushed. I kept thinking about the prospect of showing up at my conference looking like a bag of various sizes of watermelon, and feeling an intense sense of failure about my sad little paper, and the failure and misery grew and grew…until it finally grew into something psychologically recognizable.
Find out what next time.