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 I’m an unpublished, part-time peon.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. 🙂