Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lidocaine Brain

I'm home. The migratory bird has flown, several times actually, and returned.

I'm sitting on my favorite mattress, still sunken beneath my broken bed frame. Lights dim, heat semi-running. Messy, cluttered, buttons and pencil lead, papers from last semester, unpacked bags, stuffed suitcases, receipts, packaging peanuts, no motivation, eating jelly beans instead of drinking wine.

My high school chemistry teacher was right. I am a classy lady.

Anyway, I've just returned from three weeks of mayhem. Between standing in the endzone at the Outback Bowl and watching my team defeat the Dawgs (or 'Dwags', as one fan actually wrote on a banner), participating in entirely too much tomfoolery, having the unrivaled privilege of spending time with my family, chasing an armadillo while riding a four-wheeler, shooting my future pistol, presenting my brilliant research, and dragging an overstuffed duffel bag through way too many airport terminals, I'm exhausted. Exhausted, and ill-prepared for the semester which, turns out, started last Monday.

That really isn't an issue. I can take care of that, at least. I can plan ahead, and I have.

The real issue is that I can't fix my life from a distance, as I was hoping that I could. The fact of the matter is simple: this is a bad time. This is a bad time to travel. It's winter. I'm always broke in the winter, yet somehow I thought I'd be exempt this time by working three jobs. Unfortunately, I'm not. This is a bad time to try and relax. This is a bad time to de-stress. This is a bad time to get reimbursed. This is a bad time to find a new roommate. This is a bad time to realize that there is not a conceivable way that I can pay this month's rent on time. This is a bad time to stress-eat. This is a bad time to feel nothing. This is a bad time to have a monologue memorized. This is a bad time to call me. This is a bad time to drop off my dry cleaning. This is a bad time for grandma to die. This is a bad time to come home. It's a bad time. It's a bad time. It's a bad time...but it's a wonderful life.

I found so many things on this trip, but my brain can't process them all. Since I've been in a haze and my mind has been everywhere at once as per usual, I just wanted to touch on a couple of things in this reflection.

I ended up at the Women in Physics conference at Case Western over the weekend with some friends and colleagues. It was like...swimming in a sea of luminous jellyfish. Everyone was so bright. I have never been in the presence of such brilliant minds and never have I heard such fascinating scientific talks. These individuals are fabulous. So fabulous, that it got me thinking: I idolize my professors so much, but they haven't explained things to me nearly as well as Dr. Gates had in a 40-odd slide presentation. How do these people learn to communicate so well, and why haven't I seen much of this before? I always felt that it was my fault if I didn't take enough initiative to learn well, but I came away from this weekend understanding much more about gravitational lensing because of Dr. Gates and I had presented an entire project on that subject last semester! I don't want to assign her brilliance to gender alone; however, the crowd-savvy in the room surprised me.

These are role models. This is future me, ish, minus the being me, of course. I'm excited. A lot of the other ladies found the conference to be a great pep-talk for the upcoming/already-begun semester. I agree. But for tonight, I watch 30 Rock and rest. Tomorrow is for cleaning, preparing, repairing, and camaraderie. Tomorrow.