I'm so close to just completely losing it.
On the surface, today should be a very good day. My in-laws took me to breakfast and slipped me $100 for my birthday and my husband will probably take me out to dinner. I got roped into presenting a poster at a prospective student open house and came away with the best poster prize (another $100). Everybody is saying nice things about me and well, nothing's literally fallen on my head or broken my leg or anything. And I generally love my birthday...a day all about me!
But today there's an undercurrent of stress and anxiety that I just can't get away from. I was feeling OK on Friday but I got no work done and no down time this weekend since Business Man's parents were here. We had a nice time but I felt like I had to be a good hostess and put on a good face the whole time, when all I really wanted to do was just stress out in peace (if that makes any sense).
My mom called at 7 this morning to wish my happy birthday but also to tell me that she wanted to run me through a practice interview at some point this week. A sweet gesture, but when she listed some example questions I had no idea what to say. How am I possibly going to come across as a promising young professor if I haven't the foggiest idea what my best classroom moment has been? And I know that a coaching session would be really valuable but I just don't think I can take it from my mom. That's too many roles mixed into one.
I feel like I've been presenting this marvelous facade: "Oh, look at how well she's doing. She's a productive researcher with an interview at Big School. And she's going to defend soon...and her house is immaculate and she crafts and practices yoga and does outreach with teachers. Oh, and she's so organized...let's ask her to take on this project because we know she'll do a really good job with it...and when is she going to have that paper submitted?..."
But this week and last week that facade has been showing a few chinks. Some random remark is liable to completely cause me to crumble. And I have crumbled and cried a few times in select company. But I am terribly afraid that I am going to fall apart at the wrong time in the wrong company or that the next time I'm going to fall apart and not be able to put myself back together again before the interview. I just feel like I am driving a car at full speed with no headlights on an icy road. Everything's OK at this exact moment but the any one of the next moments could be disastrous.