After a string of sunny days and mild temperatures, the weather here in Sacramento has turned dark and gloomy again. Rain is immanent and another dose of snow in the Sierras will be applied over the next week or so. Ironically enough, today marks the beginning of spring break. For me, the break is only in the day-to-day duties that are routine for a grad student/teaching associate. I am not required to be on campus for the classes I teach or the ones in which I am enrolled, but that is where the “break” ends. In an effort to avoid the semester-end crunch that has been part of my graduate experience thus far, I plan to take a few days of my week "off" and disappear with my reading so that when I emerge, the heavy lifting will have been largely dealt with. It will not entirely relieve the anxiety that comes naturally with the close of the semester – they are heavily end-loaded – but it will give me the time that I historically lose to what is perhaps my greatest nemesis – procrastination.
And the truth is that I need to get away anyway. As much as I cherish my friendships and the deep relationships I have with those friends (and my family, too), I feel that in some respects, I am losing touch with myself. And I am afraid that feeling of discontent is externally manifested in some odd and impossible to explain intuitions. Although these feelings are based only in some interrelated perceptions, it is the perception of interrelatedness that has me wondering in some cursory and often fleeting way if I really know whom I present to others. That’s an overly complicated way of saying that there is a disconnection between that which I perceive myself as being and how others perceive that same person. And though much has changed in regards to my self-perception, my self-esteem and how I view my place in the world, this disconnection I am feeling now has been a recurring theme throughout my life.
Experience tells me that it cannot be explained, it will pass and that it can be endured. It is nothing to worry about and, furthermore, it is likely nothing anyone else can necessarily perceive. It is just a feeling. I used to want answers – answers that existed outside myself and, in the extreme, existed within others. But no one would or could answer questions that are not really questions in the first place. No, this is part of a process that I am inclined to believe will continue until the day I die – who am I? Who could possibly answer that question better than I?
I have found that key areas of my life – areas that are not particularly connected in any other way – strangely dovetail with each other. And maybe that’s not so strange – the common denominator, after all, is me. My advanced studies in communication have touched every area of my life – past, present and future – and in large part my current quest for knowledge doesn’t just inform me, it forms me. It helps me to understand the why questions and, of course, with every answer comes ten new questions. So it is fitting to take a little excursion to be alone with my studies and myself; this is no time to let a lack of confidence derail the arduous work I have put in over the past few years. The person that emerges will be essentially the same, but I will have a better understanding of who that is. Will that change anything outside myself? Probably not, but it should change my perception of what that is.