This week has been a big mix of highs and lows for me (sorry, the low part is long and whiny).
Highs: Heard Chelsea Clinton speak on Sunday - and she was brilliant and funny. She moderated a panel and politics and Trump came up - and it was interesting to watch her during the discussions because she kept her face absolutely neutral and her discussions kept a focus on issues (and she did not mince words about issues that concerned her) but stayed away from discussing people. She was so much like her mom - measured, whip smart, and quite dryly funny.
Last night I went to a panel discussion about a documentary called “Hope and Fury” that will air on Saturday (on MSNBC, I think). The documentary is about MLK and makes really compelling connections to current movements (particularly Black Live Matter). It was really well done (well, the parts they showed us were) and hugely affecting. I recommend watching it. On the panel was JOY ANN REID!!!! That was super exciting. She was amazing - no surprise.
Lows: I gave a talk yesterday that I had been anxious about and looking forward to for some time. I get really anxious about talks - and took some ativan because my anxiety can really get in my way. I also met with the IT person the day before to make sure my laptop would work with the AV system. He had to get a special cable for me, so I was glad we met in advance. Part of the talk involves a lunch beforehand with a senior faculty member - and I had looked forward to that as I had met her, but never really talked to her. We ended up getting to the talk right at the time it was supposed to start - and the IT person wasn’t there. The admin person had to go hunt down a cable because apparently the IT person had a family emergency and no one thought to make sure someone else was there to help. That took like 10 mins, so we had a rough start. I was so anxious, I totally bombed the first quarter of the talk - but luckily found my footing and it ended okay. But I felt like crap afterwards because I’m good at giving talks, and this one was hugely important career-wise.
Afterwards my mentor basically told me that I could “choose” to feel badly about it or I could think positively. I hate that kind of talk - it is how I was raised - basically that feeling bad is a choice and that positivity is better than anything else. For a kid who was depressed from a very early age, this was really invalidating. I learned to smile and always be positive - no matter what. In college, one of my profs commented that there was a huge gulf between how I presented myself and what things were like inside me, and wished for me that at some point I would let more people see what was going on inside. It took a long time for me to learn to let people see what goes on inside.
I wanted to go home after my talk so I could feel my feelings without worrying about how they affected anyone else, but my mentor wanted us to meet with another postdoc later that afternoon, so I hung around. That postdoc emailed up 2 hours later to say they wouldn’t be coming in (srsly?), so I went home. I got home, and my roommate got home just seconds after I walked in the door. Ugh. I can work from home today - and I am desperately hoping she goes to work, but since she’s not up yet, I’m imagining her work has a snow day. It’ll be fine - I just have a lot of work to do, and a lot of feelings to work through — and all of that is easier when there is no one around. She’ll be gone this weekend, so that is something to look forward to.
The other low is that since I am walking so much in NYC - I’m in excruciating pain a lot of the time. I was born with a birth defect that causes me to use the wrong muscles and tendons to walk - and walking a lot overtaxes them because I am using them in ways they aren’t intended to be used. I end up with tendonitis frequently as a result. I also have had arthritis in my feet and ankles since like high school. Lately, it has been feeling like I am walking on glass - just so painful. And when I walk, I am guarding to protect myself from the pain, which overtaxes other tendons and muscles, and causes more pain. I know I need to go see an orthopedist - but I just keep putting it off. I don’t have to go anywhere today, so I am hoping that will help. I think I also have to skip the march this weekend, which makes me really sad - but I know all the time you just stand around and wait during these marches will not help things at all.
Anyway, sorry for the long rant - how are you all?