I have a problem–I drink WAY too much coffee. I came to this brilliant realization (which, by the way, I have come to a bajillion times in the past without much effect) while getting ready for a class presentation today. Actually, “presentation” is probably too formal a word. The description of what these presentations ARE should read something like this:
give a brief (aka 5 minute) synopsis of the history of literary criticism concerning Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (particularly in the last 10 years) while your fellow students fall asleep, eat their lunch, or otherwise pay no attention to the fact that you freaked out about a presentation that was, in reality, completely useless and/or redundant as the professor already had in mind the direction SHE wanted to go in regards to the text, so you might as well have enjoyed the coffee you drank this morning rather than gulping it down in desperation, hoping that it would provide you with some outstanding insight, as it really only gave you a caffeine buzz of gigantic proportions without the benefit of enjoying the coffee on the way down.
I was nervous about this presentation in large part because I haven’t done much work with literary criticism for the past 9 years or so. In reality, my sense of “outsiderness” is completely overblown (I enjoy making mountains out of molehills, it’s actually a hobby of mine). “For goodness sake,” I say to myself, “you already have a masters in history, which you earned despite the fact that you only ever took one history class in college–and the only thing you remembered from that undergraduate course was that you had decided to take notes using block print writing! You can do this! You’ve done it a million times before!” To this I responded, “Whatever!” (note, I’m not exactly the world’s best argue-er–in the first place, I make up words like ‘argue-er’ and in the second, I tend to resort to empty one-word retorts like “whatever!” which only indicates that I have lost the argument, but am the most stubborn person alive, and will thus never give in, despite the fact that I’m having this discussion in my head with myself). I have decided, however, that I have managed to make progress in the last few years when it comes to my self-doubts as I now only start arguing with myself in my head vs. out loud. Infinitely better (although I still can get weird looks from other people while this is happening, as my face tends to display my emotions all too clearly. The outcome of this is generally that I may be silent, but I look like I ate something rancid). Therapy is always an option, but I think I’ll just go get myself another cup of coffee, this time to quiet my nerves….