Searching for a Cage
"So much freedom, so much choice, so many opportunities to matter.
And yet, our cultural instinct is to find a place to hold us, a spot where we are safe from the responsibility/obligation/opportunity to choose. Because if we choose, then we are responsible, aren't we?" HT Kafka.
I feel that I have been searching for a “cage” to adequately describe the way this semester has felt. As friends, family, and strangers ask how I feel about my semester my mind blanks for a moment and I will often latch onto the most familiar adjective for graduate students, “stressed”. The decision to choose that word, simply because it is readily available, has kept me from being responsible for how I actually feel about this semester.
So how do I actually feel about my spring course load? With my second semester beginning at school I have felt quite different and slightly bemused compared to the fall. Similar to that bumper sticker you would find in a Wal-Mart parking lot.. You know the one… “Who are these kids and why are they calling me ‘mom’?”, I felt odd to be called ‘student’ again.
I also have recently been empowered by the fact that I have the freedom to say, "I don't know, can I get back to you on that one?" I often feel pressured to always have an answer, so saying that I do not know the answer to a question has not been easy.
So maybe I am not stressed and maybe I am. But Seth’s blog post reminded me of the fact that I must choose my words carefully when I describe how I am feeling. It's easy to quickly create a cage that we crawl into so that the responsibility is released. You and I have so much freedom and choice when it comes to describing ourselves. Let's choose our own words and not let the world "should" us into a feeling we may not actually have.