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Eaten by wolves

Yesterday I made Bun Bun a little sticker chart to help her stop responding to every sibling conflict with blood curdling screams. At the top is the sentence Are You Being Eaten by Wolves? and then some further instructions. We’ve talked about the fact that screaming is for emergencies, and that examples of emergencies include fire, bad injuries (blood is coming out, is the criterion there), or being eaten by wolves. But it’s not like I don’t sympathize.

In a little bit I’ll go into the classroom to perform my Professor Bunny act for the 10th year in a row. I think about how I felt the first time I faced that giant room full of students, just a few months out of my PhD program. Extremely. Anxious.

In class we discuss the tapering down of sympathetic nervous system  response to threats that aren’t actually threats, if you experience them repeatedly. Like, for a socially phobic person, stepping out there and looking at all those faces feels like it will result in death, but the probability is pretty low. So if you do it over and over, your brain will learn that it’s going to be okay. In ten years, I haven’t died yet. So while my heart still pounds, I can now pretend it’s excitement and not terror.

So yeah, I won’t be eaten by wolves, probably. But I will still be glad when this week is over.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Arg, me too. Fear. (Not teaching this time, but equivalent work things). This week will be over in the blink of an eye, right, bunny? The blink of an eye.

    August 31, 2016
  2. I very much like to imagine you in your Professor Bunny role. I would just love to attend your classes, perhaps as a fly on the wall, or a strange French ghost who attends lectures.
    I can relate to the pounding heart, despite the decade of practice. You are not being eaten by wolves. Break a leg today.

    August 31, 2016
  3. Reminiscent of the pain scale (“I am actively being mauled by a bear”).

    I had to go do Strict Safety Lecture Face this afternoon and it felt… weird? Seventh time I’ve delivered this exact Do Not Set Yourself On Fire 15-minute talk and yet I feel like I’m still terrible at it.

    August 31, 2016
    • Next time you should accidentally set yourself on fire, to make it more engaging. I know that my chem professor’s “hot glass looks just like cold glass” reminder did not stick till I burned myself.

      September 1, 2016
      • Don’t wave your arm in the … AAAAAAAH! Followed by them all shouting STOP DROP AND ROLL. It would be menoravle as fuck.

        September 1, 2016
  4. Memorable. Dammit.

    September 1, 2016
  5. Steph #

    Thought about you and all of this newness the fall term brings for both you and for our 5 year old babies. I hope your week went well and that week two is old hat. Sending love.

    September 8, 2016
  6. Reassuring to hear that it gets better, even when part of it stays the same. Part of the excitement of September’s fresh start is a bit lost when you yourself have to be the exciting fresh start for others. I fucking love the idea of that chart.

    September 9, 2016

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