I was thinking just yesterday how much of ourselves we conceal. I’m working on a woman’s dissertation and it is an abyss. She’s extremely good at what she does, but should she be writing a dissertation? I don’t think so. The numerous (and to me maddening) problems she has with words and the fact that she didn’t bother to learn how to write because of her numerous difficulties and because she was browbeaten by teachers who called her stupid (I can understand why, still, it was wrong of them) made her afraid even to read her own work. And it pisses me off when she corrects me. Just because she doesn’t know the word “dissipate” doesn’t mean it’s spelled wrong. Yeah. That happened. I changed it to “fade” and got on with my life.
It’s so bad I quit editing and just went straight to rewriting. She doesn’t know how to use MS Word’s editing software anyway. Nor does she know how to set margins, hanging indents or anything else. It’s all space key, tab key and return for her. Her laptop is a typewriter.
She’s writing this thing sort of “out of the corner of her eye.” Rather than being proud of what she’s achieving and putting her shoulder, heart and mind into it, she’s “getting it over with.” She calls it the “beast.” That really doesn’t help me do my job. It would be far easier for me if she were into it and we could work back and forth to make it something really good.
But no. Writing it has made it difficult for her to conceal her inabilities from herself.
I’ll be glad when it’s over.
It’s revealed to me something about myself. I’m afraid she’ll fail and blame me. I recognized how much of my perfectionism is based on fear. Yeah, I was an abused kid, but won’t I ever get over that? All the years of doing my absolute best really didn’t help me. No one likes an overachiever; it worked against me very often. I’ve long hidden from myself that one of my biggest motivations is the wish just not to be punished.
I think we all do that with something even maybe so well we don’t know what we’re concealing. I think that’s often something called “denial.” Sometimes I think that we only know ourselves through a kind of “echolocation” — we do something, evaluate the results and go, “So, OK, that’s what I do when something like this happens.”
Any-hoo, no point concealing the fact that I need to persevere…