Tuesday, June 16, 2009

like a virgin

so while i have been working with computers in the teaching of writing for something like forever (since 1992, let's say), i have not written much about that work, nor have i attended the Computers and Writing Conference. 

i almost attended when the conference was in Detroit but didn't. travel budgets being what they were, i couldn't justify it. now, as i continue to emerge as ... eh, let's not give it a title ... someone who works with computers (most recently as a digital filmmaker), well, it makes sense, the extra effort. so tomorrow, i fly to Davis, CA, to attend C & W 2009. i had decided to go and pay my own way, but happily, our department Chair "found" some money (i love it when that happens!), so i'm getting financial help to go do this thing i both should and want to do. yay.

but here's a thing (this is the therapy part, so if you're not into personal spillage, stop reading here): something that's happened as my career ID has been shifting? i have lost a LOT of confidence. oh sure, it wasn't just about becoming (oh, hell) a new media "person," actually producing and sharing what i do with computers; there was also (major, and probably by now pretty boring for my readers, but this is my therapy) the loss of my role as a WPA last year -- devastating. also, devastating family drama, life in general and the world we live in, and etc., etc. 

and but so one critical upshot of all of this lost confidence is more anxiety, ESPECIALLY when traveling. now, i don't mind flying. i actually like it a lot, although it's true that i used to cry on airplanes (ever little noise ... i was a sad mess). no, my anxiety is about the preparations, specifically: 

1.) what to pack? 
2.) when to leave for the 45 minute drive to the airport? (and the related anxiety of arguing with Mike about my choice because he always thinks i pick "too early")
3.) how many potty breaks to expect because of my DI and/or my anxiety-related "other needs"? 
4.) double check the aisle seat designation
5.) take stomach-calming medication, and etc., etc. 

i sometimes work myself up into a burbling mess the night before, and sometimes it waits until the morning of the flight. these days, i take pre-emptive potions and tinctures as a way of apprehending the anxiety before it starts. i am currently drinking Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea, which contains 25 mg of valerian root,  and it is lovely and calming; i am also now attempting to use this writing as a way of naming my fears so that i may possibly begin to think about possibly coming to understand, laugh at, and overcome them. oh, and i also have a Robinul Forte, an Alprazolam, and a Hyomax near my bedside, the first two poised for consumption (a nightly, doctor-recommended ritual), the second, in case i am unable to transcend the gastro-funk (again, doctor recommended).

see, i desperately want to be the person who feels good about traveling. i want to feel good. i want to be carefree. i am devoted to achieving these goals, especially prior to my Big European Tour (ever? hello?), but it's also a very humble goal for girl whose identity seems to avoid her very own attempts to capture, understand, and name it (which is, ironically, often what goes on at these conferences ... a pattern??)

i may decide that this writing thing, right now, is good. i may even take my laptop to sessions and take notes, blogging them later. i usually try simply to be present, to take it in. we'll see when i get there just how i feel about this choice. for now, i feel generally pretty good, and hey -- i have at this point only drunk the tea. but so as for my long-term goal, i long to lose the meds, and i'm going to use my writing to aid me in the effort. you've been warned: this could get messy ...

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