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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.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ana #

    I’m so sorry. I hope by finding the “what” you were able to manage it? I sense some degree of grief over the life you thought you were going to live. Combined with anxiety about how to make the new life work. I can almost feel it through your words.

    July 9, 2015
  2. Did it grow into lettuce? Because your lettuce was pretty awesome.

    July 9, 2015
  3. Sorry you’re feeling shitty. If it’s any consolation, you’re still hilarious. “Check out how I have clothes on!”
    I feel all shifted after having SB, and now after leaving my job. Recently I’ve been looking at make-up (something I abandoned a decade ago). Maybe fashion blogs are next?

    July 9, 2015
    • Ana #

      Don’t do it. I fell down the SAME rabbit hole after having my boys and started experimenting with make up and reading fashion blogs (ugh). I’m sure I looked ridiculous for a while there, busting out my “layering” and “statement necklaces” and “nude” pumps and I spent a small fortune at Sephora and various retailers for things that are now gathering dust. Many fashion bloggers have shopping addictions and self-esteem issues if you look close enough.

      July 9, 2015
      • Or they’re just thinly disguised advertising venues. It’s okay–I am done with the fashion blogs.

        July 9, 2015
  4. Oh, Glumbunny, a rejection after A YEAR of review? All the academic sympathy I can fit into One Interwebz being sent your way. I don’t blame you one bit for taking a few days off.

    July 9, 2015
  5. You. Are. A. Beautiful woman. You really are. On the inside and the outside. I feel sad to know that you lost touch with that for a time, as the tug of identity shifting makes itself known.
    I am very curious to read round 2, part 2, because I eat up all that is psychologically recognizable for breakfast, don’t you know. And your self-reflection invariably strikes me as very deep and genuine. And of course, I love you and I walk with you on this path of life, and so I WANT TO KNOW.

    July 10, 2015
  6. SRB #

    Uggggggggh! I know the feelings of Maybe This Will Make Me Pretty and I Will Feel Better! Even though I think I care far less than the average woman, the cultural messaging we receive is pretty much part of the molecular structure or air.

    HOWEVER, having seen your actual flesh, let me tell you that you ARE one of the most effortlessly beautiful people in this world. Other human beings occupying your body really fucks you up, as you know. I can’t say with certainty that you’ll find *It* again, but you’ll find *Something* once you shed your bag of watermelons.

    Now, I’m onto part 2…

    July 16, 2015

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