Friday, September 28, 2012

By myself

Ages ago I started to post a graphic sequence about dyscalculia. I didn't finish it, in part, because it isn't finished - it's just more of the same, every day - another reason was because it was bringing to the fore how frustrating it is just knowing its there, cocking me up on a daily basis, and it reminded me how I'm letting it hold me back.

I'd love to do an MA, then a PhD - and the associated things, research, lecturing, papers, conferences, books, but the merest thought of schedules, timetables, funding applications, statistics, getting out of the door on time, and more importantly, getting back to pick the kids up in time, all keeps me within a mile radius of kindy and school, and myself, in a very small place. Usually, I'm home. 

It's not like my time is wasted, however; I write whenever I have the house to myself, edit in any spare minute the kids are home, and read in the evenings, and I've got enough work ticking over to keep me busy editing for the foreseeable. Being busy isn't the issue. And it's not like I haven't done anything like it before; I did a bachelors when my daughter was a toddler. I already know how hard it is to get to places for a given time. 

I miss out on many writing related opportunities because I miss-read submission dates or submission details or I get so stressed anticipating some numerical fuckwittery that I self-destruct. 

Another reason I didn't finish the comic is the same reason I go for weeks without blogging, tweeting, facebooking - time doesn't have those pieces to move about for me. When I miss the window of opportunity one day, I struggle to work out how to fit it in the next where everything already has its place predetermined.

My husband, math whizz that he is, says things like, use a calendar, Windows planner or write yourself spreadsheets to put in all the submission dates. Good one, Einstein. Would if I could. He doesn't get it, probably because there are times, when I'm not stressed, when I'm actually up to primary school competence with maths, and once or twice I've solved simultaneous equations. Once or twice, maybe more but I can't remember more than a few digits. There are people the world over, trying to call me only I've given them the wrong telephone number.

Lastly, I didn't finish the comic because it would be a long victim yawn like this post. And I don't buy into that; it's not who I want to be.


Rachel Fox said...

I don't think you need see it as anything "victim" related... it's just who you are and being honest about what you find hard. I don't write much about my own weaknesses these days either (at least I try not to!) though I still have enough anxiety most days to launch a rocket into space or something (and anxiety about really stupid things so often...). It stops me too... stops me travelling about to events and things like that. It is frustrating and upsetting sometimes and I think you are allowed to express that as well as the good things ("look I got published somewhere" etc.). It's just who we are and we do our best to cope with it. Most people have something even if it's not obvious.

Donna Hosie said...

I'll just hug you.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, girls xx

I try not to, Rachel, "but then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like" I feel stupid.

I'll take that hug, Donna and hug you right back, like Tess Gallagher's poem of the same name.

Teresa Stenson said...

Just thinking in terms of the institution or place where you might study - though everywhere is different, not sure what it's like in NZ - but one of my jobs is in the disability dept of a university - I know that word 'disability' won't be a word you'd use to describe yourself - but over here, if you declare a condition like dyslexia or dyscalculia there's stuff in place to help you, extra support, mentoring, that kind of thing. Just to get you on an equal footing with everyone else.

You may already know about all that, or maybe it's not as available for you. And I know it's just a small part of what your blog post is about.

You just have a different way of processing information, but I understand it must be so frustrating for you.

Without making light of how you feel in any way, I must say I love this sentence: "There are people the world over, trying to call me only I've given them the wrong telephone number."

Lovely, that.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Teresa.

In the UK, I was told I was entitled to help if my course was maths based; I got extra time in my maths gcse resit, but not with timetabling or technology, and not with trying to use the library - I dread it when they re-organise the library as it takes me so long to memorise where all the books are.

And yes, there are agents ringing someone in Godthab, I'm certain.

Lori said...

Why are you giving yourself such a hard time? Don't do that. Kindness. You're the first person you need to be kind to. I agree with Rachel Fox: it's OK to not write about our problems sometimes. It's OK to put out whatever mask of yourself you want. It's too taxing to be your authentic self out in the world, particularly on the Internet, even when you have such a nice, supportive community there. I also agree with her about the anxiety part. We must be very much alike. I think you need to order yourself a big pack of business cards (let your husband double-check the numbers) because really, you can't let those agents suffer like that!

Rachel Fenton said...

I get so frustrated, Lori. Just ask for my phone number and watch the blizzard in my eyes.

I need to take control of my life, that's all. xx

Anonymous said...

Oh Rachel,

I don't think this post is a long victim yawn at all.You communicated your frustration so well and so eloquently; I wished I could take it away or someone could take it away for you.

I'm always so impressed with the scope of your creativity and how you get your writing out there, published in journals and online. Maybe you miss some opportunities, but there are so many that you get and make for yourself. It's an amazing achievement.

I completely relate with the part about self-destructing. Sometimes I feel I'm sabotaging myself when I spend ages working on a piece of writing then, at the last hurdle, when all I need to do is give it a final polish and send it off, I don't do it. My hard drive is full of pieces that aren't quite good enough.

I think we all have to remember that we are only humans, doing the best that we can. I hope you can find the support that you need so that you can keep doing the great work that you're doing without having to worry about being tripped up by numbers.

Rachel Fenton said...

Helen - you're so encouraging - thank you. And I hope you send off your work too - you're such a good writer - don't keep it all hidden away in the hard drive - the computer doesn't appreciate it!