Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oh. There My Pants Are . . .

I can’t remember what drove me to start this blog—I probably wanted to comment on someone else’s, but couldn’t because I didn’t have an account. In the past I actually dismissed blogging as a superfluous bit of attention-whoring. If you need to journal, I thought, then just do it. There’s no need to hold it up for everyone to see unless you’re just in need of attention. But then, after grad school when I had lost my most immediate connections to my peers, I decided to look them up online.

Since I can’t control my urge to comment on everything (which has to make it frustrating for people having a nearby conversation I’m not involved in) I started making wisecracks in the comments of the blogs I found. And then I decided to open up shop on my own platform for making wisecracks.

Initially my intent for the Cynical Dog was that it would be a place where I could express all of the crazy ideas and frustrations that clutter my thoughts and make it difficult for me to concentrate on my serious writing. For a while, it worked. For a while I managed to produce the occasional post that expressed my real thoughts, that used my creativity and skill with language, and that presented my perspective. But then things changed.

After I left grad school I knew the path life would take: I’d get married, I’d work to pay the bills while looking for adjunct teaching jobs, and I’d bide my time until Michele finished her undergrad and figured out where she was going to grad school. Knowing what was in store was little comfort when I finally faced the situation: the wedding went well, the marriage is a good one, but everything else turned out less satisfying. The job I had bored me. I couldn’t get any teaching work. Not knowing where I’d be in a year started eating at me. My attitude, and my blog posts, degenerated.

Instead of thoughtful (if lighthearted) posts about the Renaissance Festival or the Demon Nephew’s birthday I started posting brief, ill-conceived updates, quiz results, YouTube links, and—worst of all—whining. I was ashamed to even log on, so when I did I spent as little time and thought on posting as I possibly could. The longer I did this the worse it got.

Life moved on, though. Michele finished school and we moved. I started teaching again and made some serious adjustments. In a lot of ways I’m in better shape—mentally and emotionally—than I ever have been. But I still can’t seem to shake this general funk. The possibility of full-time teaching work both buoyed me and tortured me over the last nine months. Now that’s done. All the applying, the interviewing, the waiting—it gained me nothing except in experience with those three things.

It’s easy for me to be overwhelmed. Chaos disrupts my mind in profound ways, to the point where I can’t think straight. I know this. I’ve known it for a long time, but it’s a self-perpetuating problem. When my brain spins out of control because of the craziness of my life, I can’t put two thoughts together to get myself out of it. Except that sometimes I do. Another thing I learned a long time ago is that trying to feel better only starts with trying to fix one thing and concentrating on it until I can move on. I can pick one thing and decrease the chaos by a little bit.

Last year I started the vegetarian process and now I’m done with all meat. That was one thing I could fix and I did. Failing to land a full-time teaching job has complicated my efforts to stabilize us financially, but I can still work on that now. So much is in flux, I just need to find the parts I can handle right now. World domination will have to wait.

Another thing I’ve learned is that the more I dwell on the past (and I’m a dweller) the less effective I am. So I’ve learned to bracket what’s come before so I can operate. So that’s what I’m doing now. This blog is done. I’ll leave it up, and I’ll leave comments open, but I’m moving on.

I’m still Cynical (and cynical), and I’m still dog-like, but from here on out I’ll be blogging here.

Addendum: I tried a number of ways to make my blogging life more satisfying, like starting my other blog to compartmentalize my philosophical ramblings, but it didn't work. That blog is also likely to just stop. All posts that would have gone there will also be part of my new blog. Because it's me.

29 comments:

Jim said...

R.I.P.

... And moving on.

M.Filly said...

Sorry, Dog. I know where you're coming from, if that's any comfort.

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