.journal 2009.11.30


.org.9: Seeking Stability

Now listening to: Michael Jones, Morning in Medonte
Now reading: A.M. Homes, The Mistress’s Daughter
Now playing: Wii Fit Plus (Wii)

Normally it isn’t quite so obvious to me just how my life has changed when I come here every year to do this .journal entry. For the past few years, though, this .org anniversary entry has been the only entry I’ve done here. When I started the .org, I’d sometimes write here multiple times a week. After I started blogging, though, I didn’t write here so often because so much of what I wanted to write about seemed better suited for a blog. (Looking back on my first few .journal entries, it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t have that much to write about back then.)

This past year, though, even my blogging has become, to put it as nicely as possible, sporadic. Again, there was a technological issue here, as I started twittering, and that, in turn, moved more of my thoughts towards that forum. I still need to get a feed of my Twitter account on the .org, I know. However, there’s been a lot of other stuff I’ve been dealing with as well, and that, in turn, has made it a lot harder for me to come to these various online fora as much as I’d like to write about things.

Looking at the past twelve months alone, I got socked with the back-to-back deaths of Spookytooth and Mikeneko, and had to deal with my first holiday season without Dad. Once I’d recovered from that, I decided to try to have a social life again, and for a very long time that worked out quite well for me; I was doing all sorts of new stuff that I really liked, and I don’t think I’d had that much fun since the height of my social life when I was an undergraduate at UT. Starting in the summer, though, I started hitting some roadblocks, and then I ran into some huge brick walls that have me contemplating going back to my previous hermetic lifestyle.

The medical issues of these past two months have been the real problem for me, though. Mom going to the emergency room under any circumstances would be traumatic enough, but to have her leave the house in the same way Dad did the day he died, and then to have to live in this house on my own for a week while dealing with that image playing over and over again in my mind, really was too much for me. The stress of that probably sent my rosacea into overdrive, which in turn caused me to develop that ulcer on my left cornea, which has resulted in my own medical issues to deal with. Receiving the news earlier this month that Aunt Jo had passed away, particularly under the circumstances, was just too much for the entire family.

Even now, all of these things continue to linger. Mom is still suffering from a severe lack of energy, and I don’t feel entirely sure that surgery will help her get back to her old emergy levels. Although I’m not having the vision problems I was having back in October, I don’t think my vision will ever fully recover, forcing me to get glasses. The real kicker, though, has been having to deal with Aunt Jo’s inability to even put my maternal grandparents’ house on the market like she was supposed to, plunging this family back into legal hell like we were in the months after Dad’s death when we had to get his business’ finances settled and figure out what we were going to do for income now that he was no longer with us.

Part of this, I realize, is just the process of getting older. Family members are going to die, medical issues are going to pop up, and the more I open myself up to others through being social, the more of myself I’m going to put on the line, and the more of other people’s issues will start to become my own. To be honest, I haven’t been coping with all of this stress as well as I’d like, and a lot of things are suffering for it. The lack of online writing on my part, although it’s probably the most visible symbol for most of you, is actually one of the less important things for me.

At the same time, though, not writing here as much as I used to does pose a significant problem for me. After I finished school, I realized that I needed to turn the .org into an extension of my professional life. I changed the appearance of the Website to look more professional, and I made a point of changing my writing style here to appear more mature. I stopped cursing, and I tried to not let so much of my personal angst fill up my writing, since that almost always leads to writing stuff I regret later. Honestly that’s been a very hard battle for me to fight these past couple of months, since so much has happened and my coping mechanisms have been overwhelmed.

If I don’t write here, though, then I don’t have a broader body of material from which to draw when I’m looking for writing work. More importantly, when I just suddenly drop off the radar like that, it gives the appearance that I’m not as dedicated to my writing as I should be. Yes, I’ve had all this extra stuff to deal with this past year, but if I’m going to be as serious about my writing as I need to/should be, then there comes a point when I have to put those issues aside, and just sit down and write. It feels like I’ve really messed that up for the past year, and I need to work on that.

At the same time, though, I’ve got all of this other stuff to work on. There is a definite urgency to the situation with my grandparents’ house, since taking care of that would mean not having to worry about the money for Mom’s surgery. Even if that gets resolved, though, Mom going under the knife is still very scary for me, and it will mean more time here at the house by myself. If I can take care of the problems in my personal life, then that would at least increase the possibility of having people over to the house, or going out, while Mom’s in the hospital. Add work commitments to all of this — I’ll have about sixty-five student portfolios to grade in just a couple of weeks — and sometimes it feels like a miracle that I have enough time to eat and sleep.

The irony here is that I don’t recall ever doing an anniversary journal entry where I felt more strongly about where I want to go in the long-term. Although I stay open to changing desires and fancies, I feel more strongly than ever that I want to go back to school at some point, get my MFA, and move on to teaching at a four-year college or university. The goal is clear, and so is the path; I can’t go back to school unless I apply to universities, and I can’t apply to universities unless I get writing again and assemble a portfolio of work that I feel is both representative of my abilities as a writer and of a quality that I feel showcases my ability to perform well in an MFA environment. The problem is that I have all this other stuff piled up, and things like my mother’s health are more immediate than writing.

I need to make time, though. I need to take care of the things that I can take care of, and I need to do a better job of managing the things I don’t have control over, like Mom’s health. Some days I’ve been better at this than others, but all in all I need to do much better at that than I have been. This means prioritizing, and to be honest, the .org really isn’t that high of a priority right now given the other things I’ve got on my plate. As much as I don’t place that much emphasis on the changing of calendar years and resolutions and all of that, I think that maybe I need to take December to just dig myself out from all of these messes and get back to where I was at this point last year. I can’t say that I was all that happy at this point last year, but I was definitely more able to take care of my problems.

There will be a time to reinvigorate the .org with more content, more frequent blogging, and more updates on the other sections of the Website. That time, however, is not now. I hope that time comes soon, though, not just because I miss making the most out of the .org, but because if I have the ability to take better care of the .org, then that will mean I’ve got my life back under control. Getting my life back under control is where my focus needs to be right now.

Everyone take care and be well. I’ll see you around.

— Sean

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