This week has been weird in the life of me. I’m cleaning out my inner thinking and finding some nasty, moldy thoughts in here. And the fact is I’m discovering that I am fairly mundane and average. Mediocre. Ordinary. Run-of-the-mill.
I’ll acknowledge circumstances of privilege: I’m privileged by race, middle class, and educational status because my parents had the means and will to provide me and my sisters our undergraduate degrees. I have my master’s on my own, and am still struggling to pay the monthly $450 fee. I’ve had this student loan for over a decade, and because of multiple financial set backs, have been unable to pay it off, and now we have our sons’ loans, too. My husband is self-taught computer guru, but his industry has been hit hard at different times in our lives, and he’s been laid off many times. I became a teacher for many reasons, but a pragmatic one was so I could be home in the summer with our sons, and it would be a steady, consistent paycheck. I know that’s not the “I want to help children!” performance many expect, but I am a pragmatist. And I’m not a savior. I’m sufficiently selfish.
And I suppose this current state of ennui is caused by simple realizations:
- I am a one-off creator. Whether it’s making a meal, writing curriculum, or creating some art or craft, I do it once and then move on.*
- I am not great with the steady patience required for weeding, exercise, or flossing.
- I am a hoarder of potential creativity
When school is “normal” and the year is winding down, I start to imagine how I will spend my summers: I’ll write that book! Lose that weight! Recreate myself to be a better version–regain some youthful countenance and fit into my clothes. And…write that book. Yes, write that book. Write. That. Book. I will somehow end my process addictions to games and social media and find a path to create.
This is going to take some next-level will power. I hate that phrase, “will power.” It feels like a deficiency of character, and bumps up against my depression and anxiety like a nagging fishwife. It smells, and I know she’s right.
I told my husband last night, if we had won the lottery and things were under the cover of a pandemic now, what would I be doing? What would my day look like? I often said I would continue teaching, and if it had been two or one year ago I would have run out that building so fast it would have made people’s heads spin. The last two buildings were unimaginably toxic. But this year — this year I love my job, students, colleagues, and admin team. The district is not only functional but healthy and delightful. Friends told me I should move to this district years ago, but I am not sure I would have appreciated it as much unless I had the prior years’ experiences and harsh lessons.
I feel like an imposter now.
And maybe that’s what makes this so hard right now: I’m not getting a choice. I make curriculum no one sees or cares about. I make plans no one needs. I can’t create when I am worried about my and others health right now. And I am deeply worried. All. The. Time. Things feel pointless right now, and that may be the worst of the “less” suffixes. Although ‘hopeless’ is pretty bad, too.
Every Thursday I’ve decided is ‘writing day.’ That’s it. Just write. Surely I have enough will to do this, for one day a week, don’t I? And if yes, who sees the victory, or the results? I need to remember there were decades of my life where no one witnessed my work or said ‘thatta girl.’ Doing this for myself must be enough now. And I just don’t feel like enough.
*Postscript: Now is not the time or allowance for one-offs. We must plan the week, plan meals, plan ahead more than I’m accustomed to.