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On Being Everyone's Girl and How I Steal Time for Myself

I know I'm not alone... I know some of you will read this blog title and clearly understand what it means. I venture to say that it's possible you are just like me or know someone just like me... We are the caregivers of the world.... the flat-tire friend (meaning the one you wouldn't hesitate calling when your car broke down in the middle of the night and you needed help). We're the ones who sign up not only to volunteer on a project, but lead it as well. We are the people pleasers and the ones who derive intrinsic pleasure in saving others, even with sacrifice of self.

OK... so we make great best friends, but we're also a tad tired, cranky, and afraid to say no or cry out to others when we need (God forbid we need) support, ourselves.

I am at a very important point in my dissertation. About 70 pages into it, I've achieved several milestones, approval, covered the history and literature review now at expert level. I'm ready to get approval to start the experiment so I can crunch numbers and draw some insight as conclusions. At this point, I am about to submit a sizable presentation to my mentor and committee members. The American Psychological Association has changed format standards for scientific papers (now, the 6th edition) and I'm editing all that before sending.... I swear, if I don't have a period or comma in the right place, the whole damn thing gets sent back to me for rewrites and more time and more money in a semester.

Today is my earmarked day for dissertation, with boss on the road and kids at school, this is good time. I'm alone. I need silence. I have my cell phone on vibrate, but I still check it, God forbid someone has a flat tire. And guess what, GRRRRR! Everyone is having flat tires today, so to speak. And you know what? I can't even keep this promise to myself to lay low and do my thing. No, instead, I'm doing it AGAIN... not doing what needs this total concentration. And I'm so distraught about, I'm blogging about it instead of doing it, but I need to vent.

A good way to solve problems is to remember a time in your life of a similar problem and how you overcame it. So I'm remembering. In 2004 and 2005 I knocked out 3 novels.. or about 800 manuscript pages in that period. I go to the recesses of my mind to remember how I gave the dedication to those projects. And I remember now.. and I hate to think that that's what I need to do now...

Back then, I didn't get the silence or the space or support I really needed for writing, not enough... so what I did was work through the nights... 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM... sometimes all night until 6 AM and then up and go to work. That was the only way when it came down to it that I could complete those books and get them to the publishing houses. I'm going to have to steal sleep if I can't control the interruptions better.

To date, I have gotten as far as I can go writing this stuff leisurely over this past year, it is now a critical point that I need to be anal about this submission (every damn "t" crossed). In a scientific paper, you don't want any avoidable error. So.. I need prayer to find the strength and courage to walk away from others, realizing the world will go on without me for a time... and I need to get this done. I am so close... my God... so close to this important part done.

And now, I feel better having blogging. The rest of the day is my work.

If you're reading this, DO NOT CALL ME! I'm having my own flat tire day!!!


Jilly said...

You know what? It's okay to turn ALL of your phones off, have one of the kids make dinner or order take-out and lock yourself away for a bit. If they really love you and understand, then they'd do it. When I was getting my MPA, I was stupid and while working full-time, I took three classes at once, and they were the hardest ones too. I did this because I was convinced that I knew better than everyone else. I wanted to be done that degree in less than a year because I was burnt out and screw anyone who thought they knew better. It was the WORST 12 weeks of my life, and that's saying something. If I'd gone slower, I would have done better and been less stressed. The bandaid method doesn't always apply. Anyway, towards the end, to get it all done on time, and with good academic standards, I had to turn everything off, lock myself away and just lean on others. These people weren't always used to me leaning, but they needed the practice. For me it was hard because my guy was knee deep in his MBA at the time, but he did it. When he started his PhD, I understood that he'd need a lot of "lock away" time and gave him what he needed. You kids are old enough to give back a little, afterall, you wiped poopey butts and vomit all night for several years, the least they could do is put out a few fires for you now. Your friend and family love you and need you, but it's okay for you to need them to, even if you need them to leave you the hell alone.

Do yourself a favor and turn the phone off, you don't need to check every vibrate, text, or voicemail. You need to get your work done. Sometimes we convince ourselves that the call we're getting is THE CALL in order to put off doing what needs to be done. Hell, I'll invent anyexcuse to get out of spending 45-90 minutes a day working out, but in the end, I hoist my ass into work out clothing and do it because I have to. After each session, I think "Why do I put this off, it's not my favorite thing, but I actually don't mind doing it, and some parts of it I actually like."

On that note, I need to hoist myself off my bum and get Mandolin and go into the kitchen and make cimmanmon cookie christmas ornaments/a really big mess, all in the name of being super mom this year.

Good luck getting it done, and although it's not much, I forgive you for ignoring my post to get work work done. Don't feel bad, we can all wait a few days.

p.s. if you want a christmas card, e-mail me your address (



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