Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Who the Fuck Do You Think You Are?

You probably think, from the title, that this will be a ranting post, but you are mistaken. In fact, this is one of those posts I promised at the beginning of the week, the one where I'm going to try to expand on what I was thinking about last week when I was feeling so frustrated with my blogging identity. I guess the only way to begin this post is to begin at the beginning.

I assumed the Dr. Crazy mantle in the summer, when I was not teaching. This had serious implications for how the tone of the blog developed (particularly given the rockin' summer that I was having when the blog began). My "voice" here became a kind of irreverent, good-time voice (or at least that's what I was going for, most of the time). I like that voice. It made writing here fun for me.

But then the school year starts. And yes, I'm still a fun girl, but I begin to get overwhelmed with the school year. And my tendency, since I was... I don't know... five, has always been to "buckle down" when the school year starts and to become a kind of hermit. Now, this is very good for my academic life, but it's not so great for my personal life. And so then there is this blog, that I started primarily to blab about the personal (well, in an academic context) and I've got no material and the "voice" doesn't quite work with what I've got to write about, and so I've got to become more serious. Now, my readers are awesome. My readers are interested in what I'm blabbing about whether I'm serious or funny (or, at least this is what I tell myself). The problem is, I don't like me this serious. Not in the blog, and certainly not in my real personal life. I think that I suck when I get this way and I'm not fun even to me.

The problem is, though, that other people like this serious me just fine. You may think to yourself, why is that a problem? Well, strangely enough, I get really irritated with the fact that people perceive the super-serious, workaholic, scholarly "me" as the "real" me. I feel like that "me" is in fact the sham. The "real" me (to me) is Crazy - the out-of-control-fun-good-times-person. Or perhaps that's who I want the "real" me to be, and so I resist being categorized as the super-serious me.

At any rate, the frustration that I was feeling at the blog was not actually an unfamiliar frustration - it reminds me of the frustration that I feel when guys pick the super-serious me over the fun Crazy me. And it does feel like they do that, and frequently. Things can start out all drunken and wild, but at the end of the day they're always asking for advice about their careers (in the past year at least 5 guys have busted out with their "five-year plans" looking for commentary from me - and these are not my students) or asking me to read something they've written or wanting to talk about my work (whether or not they know fuckall about my work, because, you know, everybody can read and so obviously they believe they have access to what I work on whereas they would never dream that they could understand the work of say... an astrophysicist). And then I feel like I'm some kind of victim of mistaken identity, like I'm being misrecognized. The fucked up thing, though, is that there is no reason why this split between the two should happen or why I am inclined to privilege the Crazy over the serious. Why can't both be in one Crazy-Serious package? Well, the truth is they are, but people don't see them both, somehow. It's always one or the other. So, then, it becomes a matter of me trying to figure out who the fuck I am to whom and trying to project that. And I like some voices through which I project better than others. And, at the end of the day, I like the Crazy voice better when she's chronicling exploits than when she's got nothing to chronicle and is just ruminating (as I am right this moment).

This seems to have a ton to do with the Brain-on-Stick stuff that Prof. B often talks about, but... I don't know. I think that the really bizarre thing is that I'm not straining to get people to realize that I have feelings/body and a brain but that I don't want the brain to be part of how people evaluate me at all. I guess I feel like my brain is just for work and I resist identifying myself through that stuff, even though it's exactly what the profession forces us to do. Also, I think that it's bizarre that I felt a frustration about the blogging identity whose only equivalent is the frustration I feel with male conquest-types. Boyfriends. Lovers. What-have-you. I do not feel this with women. So why do I feel it in relation to the blog/my audience? Is this about the medium being the message and that, even though I know most of my readers are women, the medium itself is a kind of weirdly intimate masculine medium? Is it that I feel like I'm being "read" as a woman and so I'm translating that into how men read me as a woman in my real life?

I've got no answers to any of this, but this is what I've been trying to work my way through. No word from Freud but I think I may call him tonight (even though he'll be at FSU... maybe that would be lame? Hard to know....) and the mountain of grading increases. I've been getting job search research done (because I'm a big geek) and I think I've finalized my choices for where I will apply. Maybe. Sort of. Oh, hell, the list won't be final until I've put shit in the mail! (Though there is something nice about applying to things this time around - I feel so choosy and selective in deciding where I think is good enough for me! Of course, I suspect I won't even get a convention interview because of this selectivity, but whatever.)

Oh, and one last thing re: the identity stuff - Another instance in which I feel this frustration is when students put me in a position where I've got to be a total hardass to them. Connection?

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