Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dwelling of dwelling

I had a strange day that I'm not sure what to think of. While the morning went fairly smoothly, with a class at 1 pm and a set timetable of events that passed as unimpressively as any other day's might have, there was that constant little something looming in the corner, reminding me I couldn't be complacent and that life would only return to normal once the day was over.

Dwelling is a noun. It means a place inhabited by someone or something. That's not a technical definition, but I'm just giving it here because figurative writing can be fun. I am not considering the noun "dwelling" today, though. I am thinking of the verb, the issue of dwelling on something. This is not an unusual problem for me; in fact, it often finds its dwelling (see what I did there?) within my heart on casual afternoons, not visibly different from the last or the next.

Do you ever feel anxiety accompanied with jealousy? In instances when you dwell, you look around at everyone else wondering what their stress might be like. If they appear in less perturbed than you are, it becomes a battle in your head. A war of the stress. But in this war you want to be conquered rather than feel worse than your neighbor.

Well that's how I felt today as I dwell. As the dwelling sat in the dwelling of my heart. I kept wishing I was everyone else in the room. Not something I do every day, or any day for that matter.

So what was the situation, you might ask? I've drawn this along so much that you no doubt haven't the faintest idea and are perhaps ready to leave. Maybe you've left already.

I'm afraid there is no dramatic end to the tension of exposition. Today I was simply made to dwell due to a presentation I had to make in class. By the very simple fact that I was responsible for something so seemingly innocuous yet so obviously treacherous, I lost a whole day to anxiety and stress and envy.

This morning I'd had most of the work out of the way. With a class in the afternoon, I knew I had to be on the ball, so I made sure I had prepared in advance with all that my presentation required. Working with a classmate aided the process, though it was in certain parts a hindrance as well.

Everything went swimmingly until my 1 pm class ended. My partner (who was very nice and kept inviting me to various social events, though I can't imagine what gave her the notion I'm a social butterfly) suggested we meet early to prepare for our presentation. I think I must've forgotten because I shuddered. But then I answered yes.

And that we did. We arrived in class 30 minutes early and prepared.

The presentation didn't go well. I don't always appreciate those happy ending stories when anxiety and fret lead to a situation that is so much easier than you remember. That's not always the case. While I have given excellent presentations in my life, in this particular class I barely knew the material, I struggled with listening to my partner read off the slides and tried desperately not to do the same myself. The room was confusing and over-heated (literally, my cheeks were rosy) and I was at my wit's end. How could I make this presentation bearable for the audience?

Problem: I never found the solution. They were bored senseless. I'm sorry, class.

While I will try to gloss over it a bit, this does raise the issue of whether it is a suitable assignment to have students teach a seminar. I've never felt that presentations were anything more than a teacher/professor/tutor's sad attempt to take some time off and assign the teaching to another person. Maybe there is some educational philosophical strategy behind it, but it's always been lost on me. It's not that it makes me learn a topic that much better, only that it forces me to turn into a recluse for a day as I brood over the forthcoming torture. The standing in front of people staring them in the face while they visibly fall asleep or grow annoyed with you for wasting their time. I don't long to see those faces.

Still, I walked away happy. Not because I'd done well, mind you, but because it was over. I'm so glad it's over. Today is a new day and aside from being a day I don't have much to do, it's a day that I have time to have fun and not be anxious. I refuse to let myself be that way.

So for the morning, afternoon and evening (and I realize I've been writing "today" as to refer to 30 November even though technically I'm supposed to have written this yesterday), I will no longer let dwelling dwell within my heart. I have no reason to. I wish I had no more reason to ever, but that is an unfortunate luxury that may never be quite attainable. So this is fine. The eye of the storm.

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