Thursday, June 09, 2005

Overwhelmed...er, I mean, Embracing Complexity, Again!

I think I have to stop ever saying "Things are calming down at last!"

While I was sitting in my house reading and taking notes and pausing to explore blogs, it did look that way, fleetingly.

Then I went into my office (which desperately needs reorganizing) and checked my campus mail (student evaluations have come in -- eek!), and then my e-mail. And there I found -- a request to take on something quite big. This requires careful discernment. I did not expect this at all.

So, what did I do? I simply shut down the computer and left my office. (I did not even glance at the student evals. One must gather strength to do so. What's even worse is that I'm department chair, and so I really need to look at everyone's, and soon (cringe), so I can get them back to everyone else in time for them to do their annual reports, which I will then have to respond to.)

So, yes, I'm overwhelmed by all of it. My current life, and the mysterious new possibility. As soon as I say out loud what this new possibility is, it will be easy for people to figure out who I am. (Even though I'm not famous.) Ok, kind of easy, for those who are savvy at web surfing.

And my explorations of blog world are starting to overwhelm me. There is so much out there. So many good people writing about so many good and important things. So many people trying to find a voice, and an audience. Some blogs have thousands of links down the side (ok, I'm exaggerating a little) -- do they really manage to keep up with all of those other blogs they list? And how they find the time even to learn how to create those links? I'm excited by the potential of blog world, but I'm also realizing that, while it's relatively new to me, others have been out there for quite some time and have found a kind community for themselves. I'm feeling new, undiscovered, on the fringes -- and, to be honest, ambivalent about that. I know now how easy it would be to make myself known -- just start posting comments to their blogs. I want to step in ... and yet I hesitate ... because I am already overwhelmed with the complexity of my life ...

So: discernment! Of all of these possibilities I have before me about how to take my post-tenure steps into clarifying my calling and identity -- which do I follow?

What is the purpose of this blog? Do I want to branch out from here and connect with others, forming kind of a blogging community? Or do I want to stay enclaved in the lonely predictability of being quiet and unnoticed? Will blogging, for me, turn into a form of activism -- or should blogging, for me, become part of my support system?

I started off life painfully shy; now I teach, give talks, perform in concerts. I love writing; but (to be honest) I've been terrified of getting my writing published. And now in life I keep getting called to take on more and more responsibilities in more and more public sorts of ways. I'm interested, because I care. But what holds me back is that deeply entrenched childhood shyness. Everytime someone asks me to do something, my first thought is, "What?! Little ol' me? But I'm just a 12 year old kid!" Never mind that I've been stalled at 12 for, um, a lot of years. It's still how I feel. I look at all that I've done and I can't believe it. Was that really me? And yet, I'm restless. What I'm more aware of is all I still haven't done, that I feel called to do.

I keep feeling, "I have to get ready to be able to say 'yes' to things like this." I feel like I'm still preparing. But when am I going to feel ready? Does anyone ever feel ready?

I feel a strong sense that I'm holding back way too much. The urgent sense of call I do feel is for some way to project myself more fully into the world -- but is it to be through getting my writing published, or through taking on more visible leadership roles? Or both? (Am I capable of both?)

Embracing complexity... (Or should I rename this blog: "Reclaiming Simplicity!"? Ha!)

1 comment:

  1. An interesting blog as you teetered on the edge of several possibilities. Of course this was early June, so perhaps your recent conference gave you more of an insight on the directions you might take. I suspect that if we wait until we feel totally "ready" we would never take on some of our greatest adventures. I do believe that life has a way of presenting us with just what we're ready for, even if we're the last to recognize it!

    It sounds as though some of the complexities are beginning to merge together for you, as you decribed in your triangle post. What you viewed as separate and distinct potentialities may ultimately redefine themselves. In any event, it sounds as though some exciting times lie ahead for you!

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