Disappointment and Identity

First, I want to think those who commented and messaged me after yesterday’s post.  Your support means a lot to me.  Seriously. 

After watching Brene Brown’s TED Talk about Vulnerability (at the bottom of the post, if you’re interested), I realized, I think, what’s been eating at me.  It’s best summed up by this Ani DiFranco quote: “Though I’m not really who I said I was, or who I thought I’d be” (from “The True Story of What Was”). 

Before I explain, I realize that what I’m about to write may sound whiny.  It may sound like I don’t love my husband or my children, or my life with them.  That’s not true at all. 

OK.  I always thought that I would be a writer and a teacher. I didn’t want to be a famous writer (too much pressure), but I wanted to be a published poet/writer. And I wanted to be an English Professor.  I wanted the office filled with books and photos, filing cabinets spilling over with papers, classes filled with students who couldn’t wait to discuss literature and writing. 

I don’t have that. 

The reality is that while I write, I haven’t submitted anything for publishing in a long time.  I haven’t made it a priority.  I constantly think that I’m just not good enough anymore.  I’m too old to get started. 

Yes, I teach English, but it’s not what I wanted it to be. I’m an adjunct, which means I’m a part-time instructor.  In order to make a (not very) decent wage, I have to teach at 2-3 colleges.  I don’t have a desk, an office, or even any space to store anything on campus. I have to lug my stuff around with me.  I teach whatever classes I can get (though at one school, they do their best to let me teach the classes I want). Because I’m at several schools, my focus is scattered, and I know that affects the quality of my work in the classroom.  It’s more difficult to connect with students because I’m not on campus much anymore. 

Also, I never anticipated how much motherhood would affect my identity.  I’ve come to realize that above all, I’m a mom.  I change diapers, clean up vomit, calm a child having a nightmare, cut the crusts off of the bread, and step on toys constantly.  I am incredibly lucky to have my boys, and I can’t begin to describe how much I love them. 

But, I feel like a failure.  I feel like, at 37 years old, I haven’t accomplished anything.  I’m an unpublished, part-time peon.

I can’t change the job situation.  The only school that’s hiring a FT English person started taking applications in January (I applied), and hasn’t done anything with them.

I can change the writing situation.  I can suck it up and start submitting.  I can carve out time every day to write. I need to do this.

Above all, I need to recognize who I am now, not who I thought I’d be, and stop feeling sorry for myself.  I need to stop trying to squash that feeling of failure with muffins and Oreos.  I need to love myself for who I am.  I’m not saying that I’m full of self-loathing.  I don’t think I am.  But I do need to love myself better.  And I’m going to work on that.

I constantly feel like I’m letting people down.  My family, my colleagues…it’s so frustrating.  And tiresome.  The one college I teach at is where I got my AA degree, and where I met my mentor.  He’s my colleague now, and I still worry about letting him down.  And I think that causes me to hold back and not try new things or take risks.  I need to change that. 

Anyway.  That’s what I have for today.  Thanks again for reading, and for your support.  And, seriously, watch the video when you have a moment.  Brown knows her shit. 🙂

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About JessieB

Just a 30-something girl trying to figure it all out. I write about weight loss, books, motherhood, life, and whatever is on my mind.
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