Saturday, January 30, 2010


In the good times, I pat myself on the back for how far I've come to improve my negative qualities. I like to think that I am self-aware enough to work on the aspects of my personality that frustrate me, like my perfectionism and the insanely high standards I set for myself, my kids, and sometimes on others in my life. By far I am the hardest on myself. When my life is balanced and I feel I can hit my high standards, I feel satisfied. But in the dark times, like this past week, and particularly yesterday, I realize that for all my strides to improve myself, I still have so far yet to go, a discouraging thought.

I spoke to my advisor at the U of C yesterday morning, and I got the depressing news that since I missed the drop deadline, I would have to pay my full semester tuition even if I wasn't attending my class. This news reduced me to tears, as I felt foolish, like I had made a huge $600 mistake. It doesn't bother me when other people make mistakes, but the grace I offer to myself is so limited, virtually non-existent, that my errors send me into a tailspin that I can't seem to recover from. Jason has been ultra-supportive, telling me, "It's just money. We'll work it out. It happens." But it doesn't happen to me. I feel as if I should know better, I should've timed my emotional overload for the week before, when I could've dropped my class and not had to pay for it.

My advisor encouraged me to write a fee appeal, listing the many reasons why I shouldn't have to pay tuition, so I did that. My Prof called me as soon as I e-mailed her to tell her what was happening, and her kindness, concern and support was encouraging. She wrote a very supportive e-mail to the fee appeal committee on my behalf, saying she felt I should be exempt from fees for this semester. So now I wait. And look unflinchingly at those parts of my personality that expect me to be perfect. No one goes through life making no mistakes, it happens to all of us, and we learn more from mistakes than at any other time in our lives. I need to be open to the lesson I can learn from this difficult period. I was under the impression that my perfectionism had been dealt with, improved, mastered. It turns out it has been there all along, dormant and under the surface, lying in wait for a series of events like this week to rear its ugly head.

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