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14 September 2010 @ 08:43 pm
From my personal tutor/advisor to my mother:

Hi Gerri

That's great.

The secret of course is that Kiwi is one of those students that is a pleasure to have around! Let her know that if she does find it getting too much and she needs someone to talk to that she should seek me out. At the same time though, Kiwi was the top student in the module I taught last year, so I know that she will do well.

Best wishes


How does he have that sort of confidence in me? Why do I read 'I know that she will do well' as an expectation, something that hurts, instead of with appreciation? Why does my being the top student in a module frighten me more than please me? How do I gain the strength to go speak with him if it is getting too much?

Why is this my brain? ...and how do I get out of it?

I swear I was a more courageous person when I was 16. At least I had the strength to crumble in front of people who could help me, no matter how much it hurt to be vulnerable.
kellychambliss: Wisdomkellychambliss on September 15th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Oh, my dear, I understand all these feelings, because I've had them for years -- praise becomes just another expectation, the person who's hardest on you is you yourself, and you're paralyzed because you think you can never live up to your own image of yourself. And it's not arrogance -- it's not a sense that one is so much better or smarter than everyone else that one has to be perfect when others are allowed to be less-than-perfect. It's a sense that one is less good than other people -- other people can have the luxury of not being perfect, because they are already good enough, whereas we feel we're never good enough and have to keep pushing ourselves until we are.

Bad news -- if you're like me, you'll never fully get over these feelings.

Good news -- you'll be able to cope with them, you'll be able to function, the paralysis will fade, you won't feel like this all the time.

Have you considered a counselor? I say this as a veteran of therapy myself. It's not a panacea or an answer for everyone, but it can help you put things in perspective, learn how to control your fears instead of letting them control you.

It's not a matter of courage or lack of it. You're mighty brave enough. It's more a matter of learning some strategies for living.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Daisies.cranky__crocus on September 15th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. You've put it just so, in a way that my mind could never conceive but now that I have read it I understand it to be absolutely and perfectly right. I admire my friend Jo the most because she accepts herself as she is - she only looks for a pass, and she does not hold herself to perfection; I always love her despite any expectations but am held hostage to the idea that I cannot be loved unless I get to perfect.

I am reading this over and over. Thank you.

I have had a number of counsellors. My teachers suggested I visit a counsellor in high school when I had similar troubles; I ended up in therapy until graduation. When I was caught having panic attacks freshman year I went to another counsellor, but she told me I sounded entirely sane and couldn't understand why I would need to go to one.

It's just this final year of education that is proving too much for me right now. At the idea of this dissertation/project/large piece of graded coursework on top of a year that counts for 2/3rds of my cumulative university grade, I crumble. My strategies have worked thus far in that I have not panicked, I am just living in fear that they won't hold...

I am so very afraid of my panic attacks. Which means, in a way, that I am afraid of fear - seems sensible enough, but it's a bit of a cycle and I am caught up in it.

Your understanding helps. It also helps to know that you made it through and grew into this person I very much admire; that gives me hope. Thank you for commenting. The shakes are gone for the moment and I am grateful.
therealsnapetherealsnape on September 15th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
Darling Kiwi,
You know that I'm a teacher, so please bear with me for giving a teacher's perspective.
You know, it's always a bit frightening to get a new class, because there's the challenge of getting across what you want to teach. Will they learn? Will they like it? Will they make any progress (for if they don't, it's not because they're bad students, it's because you failed abysmally as a teacher and should consider re-training as a newspaper-seller).
On optimistic days, you may even hope there's one who'll get the spark of what you're doing - like having Neville in your Herbology class.
And occasionally, there's one who does get the spark. Who's interested. Who works well, not just because (s)he has to, but because (s)he really wants to.
Those are the students you love to see. Not because they get straight A's or never make mistakes - of course they do. But because they're what you had in mind when you decided to become a teacher.

I've had students like that.
They've handed in assignments that had a red sea of corrections in them. Never mind, they wanted to learn and they were learning.
They've had their off-days. In fact, I've had one who fell asleep in front of me. (This was in a one-to-one tutorial - picture the agony of the child.) Poor kid was exhausted, and desperately trying not to show it. I've made her tea, we had a chat, she left with very little 'teaching' done, but in a much better mood. And she returned the next week happy and awake.

Basically, when this Mark says you're a pleasure to have around, that means that you - just as you are - are a pleasure to have around. It's not about grades or faultless work. It's because you are you - not perfect (that's bloody boring), but just you.
And 'I know she'll do well' means just that, too. Well. Not perfect. But he also means: a pleasure to teach. He won't put that in a mail to your mum; it's too soppy. So I'm telling you in his place.
Kiwi Crocuscranky__crocus on October 5th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you. I ran out of words for a while during my runaway trip to Northampton, but this comment touched me. Thank you for your teacher's perspective, and most of all for your unique (inimitable) therealsnape's perspective.

You are so kind to me. I hope I will continue to be that sort of student, and not let my fear/apathy with this final year best me - I will try my hardest to stand tall despite and beyond them. Thank you for your faith.

And thank you for Mark's words in a language I understand more. (: Your translation is very kind and I appreciate it.

Thank you! Re-reading your comment helped just as much as it did the first time. I am grateful!
Gloryforestofglory on September 15th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
*yet more tea and sympathy*

Sorry I'm not the kind of person who writes long replies to these things, but I'll be thinking of you.
Kiwi Crocuscranky__crocus on October 5th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Thank you for the tea and sympathy. (: Apologies for the late response -- I often get behind with my inbox. Please don't apologise for not being the kind of person who writes long replies! Your thoughts and sympathy (and indeed reminder of tea) are just as helpful. If we were all long-response people, the world would be filled with far too many words and too few companionable silences with which to appreciate them! ♥ You are supportive and caring in your own way, and I truly appreciate that. Thank you!