Exhausting Battle

I feel incredibly rested after spending 3,5 hours reading at the auto dealership yesterday. It’s like I’ve been to a spa but better because nobody was touching me.

Here is the sad paradox of my life. If I spend 3 hours watching Dr Phil reruns, rereading a dumb mystery for the fifth time, or stupidly browsing the internet, I won’t feel guilty and uncomfortable and I won’t devise complex avoidance strategies.

But if I try to spend the same 3 hours reading something work-related or intellectual, I will. And this is crazy because I enjoy it a lot more than browsing, rereading crap and watching reruns. But the guilt is stronger than enjoyment.

So unless somebody forces me into a car dealership that I can’t escape from, I’ll avoid, self-sabotage and interrupt.

It’s the struggle of my life.

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14 thoughts on “Exhausting Battle”

  1. Well, it seems that now/here, I have to get sick to act sane. If I am sick and know it, work and also mental/physical health priorities become clear and sensible. I read cool stuff and get a lot done. But if I am not sick, I am easily convinced to have bad priorities.

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  2. “But the guilt is stronger than enjoyment”

    I think this is pretty normal, I’ll put off and find avoidance tactics to do all kinds of things I enjoy (work related or not).

    At some level people like feeling guilty, I’d say (relatively trivial) guilt is just behind righteous outrage as an enjoyable emotion, there might be a physiological process going on.

    Also, people might put off starting enjoyable things because they want to put off its conclusion (the sooner you start the sooner the fun is over).

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  3. I have the same feelings of guilt when I work on work, because I’m always shoving domestic work into my husband, who is very busy as well. I don’t really read anything fun or entertaining anymore, so I don’t have much to say about that. Going to the theatre is the entertaining thing I do, and that sometimes feels like a guilty pleasure. But really, everything revolves around my job, which clearly doesn’t deserve that status in my life. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what to do. I’m appealing the tenure decision but sometimes I wonder if that is the right course of action since I’ve given everything to my school and they have consistently not rewarded that work.

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    1. I feel guilty when I work on work because it is hurtful to my mother that I have a career. My two priorities — existing, and not hurting her — are in constant conflict.

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          1. That’s exactly how the abuse works. You are made to feel completely crazy and hence isolated. And you spend a lifetime feeling guilty for being such a messed up person.

            It’s very very helpful to be around people who understand and know exactly what it is like. I can’t even be around anybody who questions my feelings about this or gives simplistic advice that I should just get over it.

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        1. “It’s exactly the same for me. Exactly. For the exact same reason”

          Other people’s baggage always seems so weird and exotic… unlike my own which is absolutely unique and precious…..

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    2. P.S. Fie, glad to see you. Appeal the tenure decision, it doesn’t mean you have to stay forever, and you may be able to do things more on your own terms. Which is something you should start practicing now.

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      1. Z – Yes, I’m appealing. I don’t know if it will work, because the reasons I’ve been denied are completely bonkers — saying we don’t have the numbers to support a 5th tenured person, and then receiving a report that contradicts that claim on the same day. The administration seems to be deaf to appeal, but I’ll follow through until the end. We’ll see what happens.

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        1. The administration of your school has done so many egregious things. This is one in a long line of ridiculous behaviors on their part.

          You don’t deserve this.

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          1. Thanks, Clarissa. I wish it were easier to get another job. If it were, I’d just move on. But since it took me five years to get the one I have, I’m not sure I want to attempt the job market again. Sigh…

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            1. After your posts on how incredibly hard you work on grading, improving the students’ writing, and preparing lectures, fuck, they should be holding on to you like you are a gift from God. Idiots.

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  4. But the guilt is stronger than enjoyment.
    You obviously get something from the Dr. Phil-mystery-internet-inhaling, even if it’s something you enjoy less than your work.

    I hyperfocus on irrelevant shit. I’ll come across a fact I can’t confirm or something I can’t find and I can’t rest until I find it/confirm it to my satisfaction. Drugs just make it worse.

    I feel guilty when I work on work because it is hurtful to my mother that I have a career. My two priorities — existing, and not hurting her — are in constant conflict.

    chuckles
    My mother drops guilt bombs on me for working. These are more convincing and devastating than the ones she drops on me for not working. I’m not sure what to make of it.

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