Per aspera ad astra… revisited

Per Aspera Ad Astra (White) Art Print

I know I used this one before – although it was months ago, and it’s not like anyone out there is keeping track (at least, I don’t think anyone is!).

And yes, it’s definitely appropriate for this October. As a side note, Octobers seem to hate me. I don’t know what it is but this month has it in for me. Seriously.

Seven years ago, it was two emergency surgeries and a long road of IV antibiotics.

This year, well, it’s a whole slew of things. Sigh. My father’s going through medical stuff. I think I might be starting to give up on a long-term relationship. And now I’m dealing with a recurrent infection that has made me completely inactive for nearly 2 weeks (I am going nuts with this) and on different antibiotics, etc.

Oh, and I had a grant due.

But November starts Friday. And honestly, I’m looking forward to it. A new month, a fresh start. Hoping to feel more like myself as the month shifts and the seasons do, as well. (Let’s just say we have skipped fall here and moved straight from summer to winter… as in, it snowed last night… it’s October 29th, in case you were wondering.)

So, truly, through adversity to the stars. I guess I need these down times to remind me of how good the other times are? At least, I hope that’s the lesson.

Onward. Upward – I hope. Time to leave this month behind and start anew.

Dread Revisited

So, remember when I wrote about Dread?
Yeah, we’re back there again.

I am getting ready to submit this damn proposal. It’s something I need and want to do – but it is such a challenging and vulnerable process.

Yes, I said vulnerable.
I have drunk the Kool Aid, and yes, I am a Brene Brown devotee.

I know I need to be vulnerable with this, but it is so hard sometimes, putting myself out there for criticism, time and time again. I know that it makes me stronger, it makes my science better, and it (usually) turns out better than anticipated.

But oh, it is still so hard. I live in fear that I will send something out for review and that the feedback I receive will boil down to “This is a hot mess” or, “Why on earth did you think that you could do this and succeed?”


It’s hard. It’s tiring. And it really does a number on your self-esteem and self-worth, if you let it.

So I am trying to remind myself that with vulnerability comes growth. And growth and change are absolutely vital to my success as a scholar.

Here’s hoping that the proposal is not viewed as a hot mess. I’ll just go for constructive feedback at this point.

Hard reset

You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help. 
Bill Watterson
Wow. This week has been unbelievably difficult. I’m so glad I finally made it to Thursday, although there were times yesterday when that was in question. I did not stop from 7:30 (really, 6 am) until 4:30. I was completely fried at the end of the day, questioning my career path, my knowledge, and who I’ve become professionally. It was the kind of day that completely destroys your self-esteem, your confidence in yourself and your ability to stand up for yourself. 
Most embarrassing, I dumped on several colleagues who I respect highly, whose opinions I value, and I worry that dumping on them may have diminished me in some way in their eyes. I am on a grant deadline, it’s not quite coming together the way I want it to, and it’s just…frustrating. So. Damn. Frustrating. I need to email them and apologize for dumping on them, but… who knows how they’ll receive that. Still, it’s what I feel like I need to do. 
I know what I want to say – I know what I need to say – but my words have been muddied by too much input from others. I need to reclaim what I plan to do – to own it, to hone down my writing to the key points that I need to make. I know I need to do this – it’s just the doing that’s hard. 
Fortunately, I got some sleep last night. I disconnected for a while. And I’m ready to get back to it today. Here’s to a better day. 

Dear You

What if you closed your eyes?
Would the world fall
apart without you?
Or would your mind
become the open sky
flock of thoughts
flying across the sunrise
as you just watched and smiled.
~ From “Dear You”, by Kaveri Patel

I managed to unearth the above verse (and the entire poem) when searching for poems about stillness to share with my class last week. I never did share it – it was quite the discussion – but I love this poem, and it turns out that I love this poet. She’s a poet and healer – a medical doctor who writes poetry and leads compassion retreats. What a wonderful combination, and one that speaks to me as a scientist and health care provider. 

These next few weeks are going to be insane, on the personal and professional fronts. I have a grant due in 2 weeks. I’m in the middle of a long-running argument with my spouse. I have multiple guest lectures. 

But I also know that the world will not fall apart without me. It will get done. I don’t have to do it all at once. And even more important, I need to remember to close my eyes periodically, or nothing will get done. Rest and disconnection are just as important to my productivity and mental health as putting in the work. Yes, I’m going to work hard. Yes, it will likely suck in multiple ways. But I’ll get through. As long as I remember to close my eyes. 

Changes…seasonal and otherwise…

This week, fall came. 
Literally overnight. It was 80+ and swampy outside on Monday. This morning, I lamented the fact that I did not have my gloves and scarf (admittedly, I like to wear these earlier than most thanks to some circulation problems I have…). In a week, I’ve gone from long-sleeved t-shirts to fleece.
And of course I sense that there are changes coming in other areas of my life. My father’s having some relatively major medical issues. My parents are cleaning out their house. I’m contemplating where I am in my relationship and whether that has as much of a future as I thought. I am continuing to clean out my apartment, donating items that I no longer use or want. 
I love stability, but sometimes shaking it up (well, except for the medical issues) is so needed. Deep cleaning, reconsidering where we are in life, our habits, expectations, and routines. 
I know that some elements of my life will not change, but… it certainly seems like others will. Here’s to seeing what’s over the horizon as autumn shifts to winter… but hopefully not next week. 
Image result for quotes starting over in the fall