Sunday, April 30, 2006


Conflama = conflict + drama. Clever term, huh? I didn't make it up.

And there has been a lot of it around me lately. Lots of changes going on in the department, so there's lots of gossip and people whispering about things. Who is doing what? Who got assigned what class? What professor is this person's advisor? What will this person think when they hear such and such? Speculation. Opinions. Frustration.

I know people get more competitive when resources are scarce. Maybe that's part of it lately. I understand wanting to know what's going on with everything, because I'm right there asking those same questions about other people. Wanting to know the inside scoop. Information gives you power....but it also comes with a lot of responsibility.

So now I'm not really happy to have placed myself "in the know" about different things. It's kind of a burden knowing what person is mad at who about what. You have to form an opinion about it. You get wrapped up in things that don't concern you. Let me change the pronoun...I get wrapped up! Then when I find out new info, I feel like you have to decide what to do and who to tell. And if I do tell someone about it, what if I was wrong? Then I'm responsible for passing along faulty info that may end up hurting someone.

Information definitely comes with a price, especially when that info isn't neutral info but usually has a negative slant. It makes me nervous about what other's are saying about me.

So I'm making a commitment to myself to keep things to myself. I'll listen to other people vent if necessary, but I'm going to try to make it stop there.

Where is the line between gossip and venting? Between healthy processing and talking bad about someone?

I feel like I haven't had to deal with this much conflama in a long time...and I don't really like it. But now it's a cycle I don't know how to get out of.

It's easy to bond with someone over common dislike of another person, but it's not really a good basis for a friendship. So, here's to making changes for the better -- in friendships and in life!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where I'm at

If you haven't noticed, my blogs are kind of back and forth. Either I'm talking about how my life sucks or I'm talking about how promising the future is. I can't seem to settle into one place.

But maybe I just need to stop trying to be something else (wishing my life were something different) and just be present in the moment I have right now. Even if it kills me to think my blog is just a place to vent about school and stress...well, that's what my life is filled with right now. At least at first glance. Hmm...maybe I also need to make a concerted effort to recognize the other things going on in my life. (See...the back and forth is here again!)

Well, this past weekend was a lot of fun. I didn't do one ounce of schoolwork. Friday night Jesse and I watched Sideways. It was a cute movie and now I want to learn more about wine! Saturday I had a meeting and then laid out on a blanket outside with some friends to enjoy the weather. People in central PA really appreciate good weather since most of the year it is terrible.

Saturday night we went to Meg and Eric's for dinner. Both of their sets of parents were in town. It is so fun meeting people's parents! I love it. You get to hear their stories and see what kind of dynamic they have with their kids...and it was just fun to be around some wiser, older people.

Sunday we actually went to church for the first time in a long time...and it was good. I wouldn't mind going back. Then we had a big easter dinner at Dan and Kirsten's house, complete with hidden easter baskets filled with candy! Jesse was excited about that part. Even though it was the first Easter I didn't spend at home with my family, it was a really nice time.

I've been thinking a lot about spiritual issues lately too. And I think that I'm going to start picturing god as a woman and try to connect that way. It's hard, because my brain automatically goes back to the male version...but I think it will be a helpful exercise for me.

So that's where I'm at. I am feeling a lot more peaceful about school. And I'm trying to be a bit more balanced and recognize the other things that I do outside of schoolwork. I have a tendency (as do most grad students, I think), to say "I didn't do ANYTHING today!" even when we actually did a TON of stuff, it just didn't include schoolwork. So I am trying to affirm the things I do daily that are meaningful and important...or just plain necessary (i.e. grocery shopping, cleaning). It reminds me of the RENT song, Seasons of love. "How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?" I don't want to measure my life in papers I've written or hours I worked on research or in grades or in any of that stuff anymore. I'm trying to let it go and measure my life in...something else. Love? Yeah, cheesy as that sounds, maybe that's it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The pain of discipline

I know that part of being disciplined about things is doing it when you don't want to. But sometime I wish I had more choices. Theoretically, being disciplined is supposed to give you better results and more choices (maybe?) in the long run, right? Like I have freedom to do whatever I want, but some things I can't do without being disciplined first.

Running the marathon for instance. I had to give up things in the short run (sleep, being lazy) in order to train so that I could finish the marathon 6 months later.

I may not be making sense....but what I'm trying to say is that sometimes its hard to make yourself do things you don't feel like doing. It takes a lot to muster this kind of energy and self-motivation.

Tonight I have to write a paper I have been putting off. It's due first thing tomorrow morning. Anyway, in some ways I am so used to forcing myself to just do things like this. But in other ways, it doesn't matter how much you're "used" to it, "it" doesn't seem to get any easier.

I'm just complaining, I guess, and hoping it's all worth it somehow.