A rock and a hard place.

I felt very, very sad as we packed up the Thorn office yesterday. Despite my growing disillusionment and worry, what we had this year was a good thing. I’ve learned a lot about people and power-wielding and social dynamics that was only theoretical for me before. Very eye-opening. Very tiring, as well, even though it wasn’t quite tiring enough to send me scurrying back to only the technical aspects of the paper.

And it’s not just the Thorn that was being packed up yesterday. It was, in many respects, my freshman year. I’ve put a lot of energy into the Thorn this year, much to the pleasure of the higher-ups. After I moved my stuff back into my room, I found myself just sort of sitting here, wondering what to do now, as if I did something odd and different in the Thorn office when I was by myself that didn’t involve just surfing the Internet and reading news. As though I couldn’t just sit in my room and do the same thing.

It’s the typical separation issues of someone that tends to obsess. I do this everytime I fixate and am forced to take a break.

I’ve been able to skim through this year with (roughly) a 3.75 GPA (well, depending on how the chemistry grade comes out this term), and spend most of my time on the Thorn. I certainly didn’t obsess over NSBE this way–hell, they couldn’t have come up with enough work for me to do had I latched on similarly, and I don’t have the mental energy to do both with the same vigor.

The problem with this is that now that my grip has been loosened, I will probably not be able to reaffix it with anything but a shadow of my former strength unless I can take a different tack. This is just the way I operate. I see it in my old hobbies and interests, in academic interests, and in my interests in (read: geeky, stalker-esque fixations on) men. It’s not even that I dislike them after a while, or see new flaws in them–I’m just not interested anymore.

I used to envy those who can maintain a bit more balance in their lives, but I appreciate the fact that I can do a pretty good job at something by going at it hard, even if my stamina, if you will, is short. I do, however, envy those that have balance and do a damn good job. They just suck.

My initial thought was to be able to recharge during this month off. Shore up on social stuff, on geeky fun, and maybe even do a little scripting on the ol’ irrsinn dot net. Then come back with renewed energy for the Thorn. (School I always have [or make] energy for, so that’s not a concern.)

I don’t know that this will happen. Past experience shows that the odds are not in the Thorn’s favor on this one.

The question is, how okay with this am I? Supposedly, I’ve been set on a track for the editor-in-chief spot by those currently cursed with the position for most of this year, which could readily provide the “different track” for my interest. I’ve let myself be manipulated into a position where my self-doubt and fear of responsibility are heading into toe-to-toe mortal combat with my childish desire to please (and to not disappoint) and that subversive, sick desire for power. One side is playing the other and leaving me feeling like I’m on a rack. (Not that I’ve ever been on a rack, but the imagery is the key here.)

I want the editor-in-chief spot, and I’d be lying if I said right now that I didn’t. There are things I want to do. Things I think I can do, if I assemble the right team next year. I want to see if I can make things even better than they are now. I want the power to be able to publish something that has the Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs tell me that my staff just published the best issue he’s seen in the 27 years he’s been at Rose (which he said about the Hulbert issue, by the way). I want that so badly I plan for it in my sleep. There’s also a possibility for huge personal growth here if I jump on it–more than classes, research, NSBE, anything I’ve got in my palm right now can give me. I want it.

But I also don’t want to be the editor-in-chief under which the paper fails, or is only mediocre. I don’t want to be the EIC under which half the staff leaves because I can’t reign in my temper or manage the money or handle business when it needs to handled out of (believe it or not) a fear of being too bitchy. I don’t want to be the first EIC in remembered history in which an issue didn’t print. I don’t want to find myself facing serious censure from the administration because I made a shitty choice on a story to run. I don’t want to be voted out of office after only one year. I don’t want to disappoint anyone when (if) I fail to fully fill in the two pairs of size 13’s being left for me.

Why, yes, I do have issues with a desire to please. Who’da thunk it of the eViL Biz-natch, huh? Makes me ridiculously easy to manipulate, as is evidenced by my current predicament.

So this is turning ’round and ’round in my head, because unless some über-freshman comes along (or, I suppose a new non-freshman joins staff), the pickings seem to be slim for the Thorn, and it would take something pretty serious for me to leave them in quite such a lurch. Le sigh.

Time to finish packing and loading up the car. Then programming, then bed.


  • Michael

    i am not going to be the one who tries to say i feel the same way, minimizing your problem to one i’ve soolved in the past. However, it smells a lot like things i get into. I also want to please people. I will go WAY out of my way to make someone happy if it will just make them like me. I, for periods of time, throw my whole self into an activity, and then it ends, or pauses, and i never really return to it in the way i had approached it initially. However, recently, I have tried to combat this. I have realised when i fixate like this, and tried to voluntarily step back, even if only a little. I just step back and c what it is i’m fixed on. I think about it in it’s own rite, then I resume my work/activity. Ususally, this pause, in which i try to examine exactly what i like about the activity, and it’s pros, cons, etc. help me to be able to return to it, once it has paused and resumed itself. Also, need u really pause? Just cuz the office is closed? I understand that the atmosphere and comaraderie aren’t there now, but all these plans during your sleep, could come to life now. Either here, or maybe a new section, “Unpublised Thorn” or somet. I love u liss, and I truly laughed at the thought of mediocrity. I do not think anything u do could ever be considered mediocre if it’s every aspect were considered. I hope the end of your first year WHICH FN FLEW BY 4 ME, does not bring u 2 much sorrow.

  • Lissa

    You know, I don’t have much of a problem with the way I fixate. Like I mentioned, I appreciate the benefits of it, and only lightly lament the lost possibilities.

    The desire to please–I’m laughing at myself for easy I was played this year (and up until December, I didn’t even know), but since it got shit done, I’m not bitter.

    And yes, I do need to take a break from the Thorn, or at least, I need to sit on these ideas until I see what kind of recruiting I can do next year. I am limited by the abilities of the staff. Bob and Luke have their own style and their own agenda, and I don’t want to interfere with that.

    Plus, I’m a greedy idea whore. The ideas are mine, damnit, *mine*!

    (And I really do need to see if they’d actually pan out.)

    I will have you know, Sir, that I am fully capable of being mediocre. [:)] No, I just worry that I will get into the spot and have no ideas that will work, and then the next thing I know, another year will have gone by and we won’t have done anything interesting or new.

    I’m not too sad. Things are just changing. C’est la vie, I suppose.

  • Luke

    Woman, no caring the Luke

    Ok, um, you’re never again allowed to open a post like this…you’ll cause some of us with weak hearts to drop dead.

    Hehe. Anyway, change happens and things move on. Manipulated? Perhaps, just a little. But if we had asked would you have wanted out?

    You worry about far, far too many things with the paper. I never even considered it a possibility that the paper might not print due to content. Why would I never consider it? Because someone will always be able to make content at midnight if necessary. There is always something to put in the newspaper. It may not be the best, but something is better than nothing.

    And just so you know, you know too much for me to allow you to disappear. I can and will hunt you down…remember that…because there’s always a little birdie watching.

  • Lissa

    Re: Killing Luke

    Drop away, Luke. I’m not kidding here.

    As I said above, Luke, I’m fully aware of how manipulated I was, and have been since before Christmas break. I stayed despite it, so your question is already answered. Note the wording in the post: “I’ve let myself be manipulated into a position […]”. I am not the other GDI female staff member–I take responsibility for the situations I find myself in, thank you. The point now is to get myself to a place where I’m comfortable–in or out.

    Who will write the content, Luke? Me? Hmph. We saw the extent of my writing ability on the Hulbert issue. U-Wire? See post about mediocrity and failing. (You’re right, though, something is better than nothing.) My staff that I will inevitably alienate? Let’s look at J.–he’s failed to come through twice (and the second time was much less a big deal to him, alas), and after that “award” you guys gave him (which he took pretty hard, actually) he will never be as interested in writing news (or working under me) as he was before. I’m just glad he’s being shuffled off to do Opinions, for both our sakes.

    Oh, and you can sit on your little birdie and twirl. Seriously, the threats of public revenge/violence/what-have-you need to stop unless you are clearly joking or you really want things to go that way. And I *will* do my damndest to open up a can, even if I ultimately lose in the end.

  • rackrent

    Don’t worry too much about the paper, Lissa! I know that you’ll do a fine job as editor, with all those planning in your sleep. Seriously, I quite admire your passion and drive into Thorn. They should be counting their blessings for having someone as committed as you on the staff. [:D]

  • Hannah

    I find, Melissa, that my perspective is often so similar to yours I have some trouble trying to help. Rather, I will ponder questions with you, because they are the questions I am currently asking myself about my archaeological research. Have I let myself be manipulated? Definitely–by no less than a Professor. Did I willingly go along? Yes, and I have accepted the “backfire” I occasionally experienced, by which I mean the consequences of taking up a lot of my time doing something that is not my homework. My problem with it all is knowing how much I want to go after it. It’s very hard to say no to the Professor I work under–though I have very little trouble with confrontation, I have the irksome and constant desire to please. I have this desire especially in the case of those I admire, such as the mentioned Professor. At the same time, I feel the pull of my caution, telling me to wait, to take more classes before deciding, to remain more aloof about this research until I really know it’s for me. All the while I dive deeper into this mess of Pre-Columbian forensic material analysis. It leaves me taken aback at my own obedience, and frustrated constantly at my inability to just decide whether I am head over heels in love with this idea or not. Like you I feel that advancing could be the biggest opportunity for self-growth, and also like you I feel the precursory sting of the possibility of defeat. I am reminded in a tenth grade English class way of Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech, though I despise the all-too-common allusions. I feel the same struggle, although certainly not in the flamboyant, dramatized way Shakespeare presented it. I am not, as Hamlet, the embodiment of indecision, yet there is an element of the unknown. You think (aha! I can never write for a newspaper–I switch narrative person) that of all people, you know yourself. Until you have to make a big decision.

    Perhaps this isn’t at all what you’re feeling, but as I read, I felt the familiarity of your situation, and it struck a chord in me. For you, I admit, the decision is of the greater magnitude. I wish you a clear mind as you try to make your decision.

  • Lissa

    Re: Hannah

    Hannah, you are officially being named my “Mit-twin”. Sans that whole “let us randomly insult [insert person]” bit. You win.