Andare, Partire, Tornare


It might be best if nobody reads this. Best for the reader, at any rate.

I have always been a slave to that green-eyed monster. You know the one I mean – one of the Seven Deadlies, that cancerous gnawing thing that lives in your gut and whispers softly, “Why should she get to have/do/enjoy that? Why not me?”

I know, indeed, that a lot of the things I see other people doing are the result of their hard work and dedication and sheer jaw-clenching determination to have that. I always fail in the final analysis, because my will, when tested, resembles marshmallow rather than bedrock. I talk a good game, but whether it comes down to not wanting to be rude, not knowing how to proceed, or just plain being lazy, I end up falling on the ground with a cramp fifty feet from the finish line.

Yes, this is I – the girl who allows laziness to stand between her and her masters degree. And so I envy Cher, whose masters program requires no thesis. Or Persia, whose masters program included classes where the whole point was to produce a bibliography, a chapter, until the thesis was written. Envy is so much easier than actually working. I say, “Why did I have the bright idea to go into a program where the thesis is entirely up to me to produce?” Why couldn’t I have been smarter and found a path that took less work? So, naturally, I haven’t made room in my schedule to go back to Penn State to get more library books out. I have a disc marked “Thesis” that has a document on it. A document of one sentence, precisely.

I have made the bad mistake of becoming friends with people who achieve. People who enter doctoral programs, who scrimp and save so they can have excellent vacations, who enter fields that seem so much more noble, fulfilling, meaningful than mine. Meanwhile, I owe money to everybody, spend my evenings on the computer or drowsing on the sofa with a cat in my lap and a book at my side. Sometimes, I blame an early marriage for tying me down to a person, making it impossible for me to pick up and travel at a whim. Inside, I know that I probably wouldn’t have achieved nearly as much as I have without his support, but sometimes I resent him for being so necessary to me, to my life. A true catch-22, that is. Can’t live without him, but sometimes I wish I could, so I could spend my life catering to my own whims – whims that I probably would never have the mental and physical energy to actually achieve. God forbid I be anything but purely selfish, except I know that to be truly selfish means to be locked in a small room with nothing but yourself for company. And that wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

I know I get caught up in too much introspection – more than is good for me. If you could peek into my mind, you’d see one image that stands as icon for my own brain – a dog chasing its own tail. I try to hide it by assuming a wall of mild pomposity, a tendency to lecture about the few things I do know, and a selfishness disguising itself as empathy. I want people to admire me, while simultaneously wondering why anybody would bother, when it’s clear that I have nothing that anybody would ever want.

Don’t think that I’m not mildly amused by the fact that this confessional is, in itself, a monstrous act of ego.

9:26 a.m. - 2003-04-22


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