Anxiety-Day: The Life Factor

I did very little that I was supposed to do today. I did manage to finish Anya’s Ghost and get a bit further into Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

But for some reason, my anxiety level has been sky-high today, in a way that I haven’t been since I switched meds several months ago. I’ve had moments when I’ve laughed and felt normal. This morning, I saw a woman in CVS buying tampons and a fifth of bourbon. A moment like that couldn’t go by without a chuckle. But most of the day has been spent with me in some weird state of heart racing, semi-irritable, lump-in-throat anxiousness.

Maybe it’s comps. Quite literally, my entire career rides on passing these exams, which I’m supposed to take in May. The first part of the exam is a take-home essay on a historical period that spans 100 years–mine being 1865-1965–and encompasses around 50 texts and 20 secondary sources. The next part is an oral exam, in which I will sit with my committee of 5 PhD’s as they grill me on my methodology–feminist criticism–and my research area–children’s literature; each of those lists has 30 or more texts, primary and secondary.

I should’ve taken the exams in the fall semester, but I delayed that and attempted to change my comps list, though it was ultimately decided that I’m sticking to the original lists. It’s been a hard year of trying to get all of this studying done. I’ve moved to New Orleans; the Little Jedi started pre-school, when for the first time he was not cared for all day by one of his immediate family members; Sam has been in a job transition since December that’s just settling into normalcy; I’ve been trying to navigate the world of New Orleans charter schools; I’ve planned a wedding and started a blog; I’ve been teaching and tutoring in the writing center, which I have to do 2 hours away from my home–the commute makes any other work on those days impossible–and which require hours of prep and grading papers. Life has just been getting in the way.

The wedding is only 2 weeks away as of today. We’ve most everything planned and are just ready to hop on a plane and go, but we still need to secure our witnesses. It’s been more difficult than we anticipated, even with our network of people, to find an Elvis and a showgirl who are available at 5:30 on a Monday afternoon. It’s not as though it’ll be a terrible thing if that doesn’t happen–but it is something unique that we wanted to do. I’m hoping we’ll get that last detail ironed out this week. I’m not nervous about marrying Sam; I’ve rarely felt more certain of a life choice I was making.

There’s really no reason that this stuff has affected me more today than on other days. It seems to be just the way anxiety works. For now, the emergency Xanax, and tomorrow, a better day.



Leave a Comment

  1. You will do great at your comps, no worries. And just remember, having Elvis and a showgirl are not the most important parts of the wedding! It is a commitment between you and my brother. That’s all that matters. 🙂


    1. 🙂 Indeed. And it will be fabulous either way. We’re still getting married in Vegas in a museum full of neon signs. Thanks for the perspective.


  2. Ok, take a breath, put on a silly movie (I recommend MST3K’s “Project Moonbase” or “The Fire Maidens from Space”) and call it a night. As for the long commute, it might be worth it to see if any of your primary texts are available as audio books. For the older ones especially, try or Project Gutenberg, or even iTunesU. For the longer works, this may be a great solution. (I doubt I would have made it through “Age of Innocence” with as much enjoyment had it not been for a free audio version!)


    1. :/ Unfortunately, I’m so not an auditory learner that I get the characters and events all jumbled when I’m trying to listen to a book…Unless I’m able to write notes, which unfortunately means not in the car.

      Silly movie is a fabulous idea, though. 🙂


  3. We’ve reached a new place in our relationship. I discovered this post by looking at the @Sourcererblog twitter feed. How groovy is that?

    You’ve got those comps nailed down. Nothing to worry about. Srsly.


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