Thursday, December 3, 2009


O.k. All the hemming and hawing seems like a strange false memory now. I took my oral exam in Japanese!!! I practiced a lot, I memorized as much as I could, I gave myself positive self-talk, I kept my expectations in check, and I think I did pretty well! It was a 10 minute conversation with another student in an empty classroom with the teacher. We had basically scripted it out but tried to pretend that we were having a spontaneous meeting. The teacher was nice and said we did a good job when it was over. Now the written final on Monday seems minor and I am not worried at all because I am pretty sure I will be getting a B no matter what.

When I think about why I wanted to just quit, it was because I was afraid that I would completely blow it and have to deal with a humiliating experience where the teacher would think I was a fuck up and the other student would be pissed at me for ruining their conversation. I also thought that I had gotten what I needed out of the class and that doing the final couldn't possibly accomplish anything except stress and an empty sense of accomplishment.

The good thing that I really did learn is that there was something else that I could get out of it. Yes, I finished. I didn't quit. Socially, that is considered a better outcome. But, personally, I learned something much more important. That is - it wasn't that hard. The task was definitely doable and the stress was mostly internal, not external. If I had just assumed that there was no way I could quit, then I could have focused on doing the work and that would have made it even easier.

It all reminds me of two different situations where I (and I think most people are the same) got to a crucial point and said "I changed my mind! I am not going ahead with this! Get me out of here!" Can you guess what I am referring to? One case was at the top of a roller-coaster just before it dropped. The other was during child birth when labor reached transition. Obviously, there is no backing out from either situation. This is probably a good thing or no one would ever be born.

I don't know why I am prone to stepping back from the finish line. I certainly like to take on challenges and adventures. Maybe I could find out the answer if I went through psycho-analysis. (Dr. Freud, do you think I equate success with death?) I have no problem putting a book down without finishing it. I have loads of beautiful needlework projects sitting in boxes 90% done. I always leave the last bite on a plate.

Well, I am finishing this Japanese class and I am still sticking to my 4 skirts. I wore my brown skirt today with a black top so I could project calm. The photo at the top is of a Japanese inspired bag that I sold a little while ago.

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