Jan 14, 2008

The good, the wonderful and the rest

I noticed a few positive things this week. First, I was doing a user training. I did not have enough time to prepare and I didn't do a spectacular job. I did trainings with brand new computer users and I know what it takes to get them up to speed, but this time I just didn't have the time. One of the people at the course gave me an article from New York Times on how to teach computer skills. In the past this would have embarrassed me terribly. I would have been upset for days.

I'm not happy that I was criticized, and I wish I did a better job, but I recognize that the problem is not me not trying enough or not being able to do it, but the fact that you need time to prepare a training course. I am unhappy, but not paralyzed... this is new!

Along the same lines, the other day we had a few friends for brunch and we were talking about the American students not being culturally savvy enough to recognize a well-known Marx quote. I didn't recognize it either and that got me a bunch of sarcastic comments. I would have died from embarrassment. After the initial shock, I thought about why I don't know that... and I came up with an explanation that I think was instructive for everyone.

I grew up in the 70s-80s Romania. At that time Romania was a socialist country, but we weren't very close to Russia. Romania did not want to participate in invading Czechoslovakia in 1968. So I actually did not learn Russian, nor did I study Marx or Lenin. I pretty much kept up with what we learned in school: basically no foreign literature, dry and boring history and geography lessons, very little musical education and no other art education. I learned French and German in school and English in private lessons with my favorite teacher. I read all the books that I found in the house, but without much guidance from anyone. My parents were trying to keep sane at the those insane times by talking to each other and getting feedback from each other on the very crazy things that went on with their jobs.

I don't believe this is my fault. I am able now to round my education, and I'd like to, but, again, I recognize that there is a compromise between all that you want to do and what you can do... and I am choosing having a job, spending time with my child and family, reading other stuff and sleeping 7 hours a night or more. I hope I will be able to read and learn more with my child or when I retire. Until then, whatever culture I have is good enough.

And the third good thing, and the best, is my husband. When I started therapy we were both a bit nervous about it. It opened the possibilities that we will both discover things that we might not like; it is not uncommon for women to discover their power and "free" themselves of the evil men, etc.

Last year, whenever we had friends over or met other people, I would ask my husband to reassure me: Was I OK? Did I do well? How did I come out?

Now, when we go to bed, he cuddles and hugs me and says: I like you, I really like you. I like what kind of person you are, what kind of mother. I like that you are witty and smart and nice. I like the person you are... He used to reassure me to make me feel good about myself, but this is different. I think it's wonderful that I turned out into someone he likes and that I am now coming out of my shell enough for people to see that.

On the uncomfortable note, I am changing my gastro-enterologist and I feel very uncomfortable to face the old one. I called to ask for a test result and the nurse asked me to make an appointment. I got very anxious... There's more work to do. I am very uncomfortable confronting anyone. Bad news are difficult to give, I guess!

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