Things are pretty rough right now. I think the word “discouraged” doesn’t sum up how I feel most of the time. Sure, some of it is the Stella stuff that I talk about a lot, but there are other things going on as well – the kind of other things that you just don’t put in a blog for the whole world to see. Wow. It seems I do have some kind of censor after all. I need a George Bailey/Clarence moment.
I think when it feels like the world is disintegrating it’s normal for self-reflection in that “How in the hell did I get here? What happened to me?” kind of way. On the surface I think my life was pretty normal and my choices were ok. I didn’t have to fight my way out of the ghetto or overcome an eating disorder or meth addiction or anything like that.
I got through grades K-12 relatively unscathed. I do remember being picked on during my junior high years. I think my self-esteem was crap. I think that’s pretty normal for an adolescent girl. You never have the right clothes. Your boobs aren’t big enough. You aren’t thin enough. (Note to self: Begin to actively work on Stella’s self-image NOW so maybe she can escape some of this nonsense) High school was great. I have lots of good memories of high school. I was one of the “alternateens.” I dyed my hair black and wore combat boots. But I felt good. I had a few very close friends that I still miss to this day. I haven’t seen any of them in over 20 years but if I hear old Violent Femmes, Fugazi, or Jane’s Addiction it’s like it was yesterday.
I ended up taking a year off after high school as I was trying to figure out where to be. I spent a couple of years in Biloxi, MS living with my mother. From there I shifted to Mobile, AL where I got my undergrad degree (after changing majors at the 11th hour – I very nearly had a special ed degree but fell in love with geology while fulfilling my science requirement). I made other good friends in college, particularly my major professor/mentor and a fellow geology major. I also met my first husband there. I dragged him to Louisiana when I moved for grad school. He and I were together – including cohabitation – for 7 years to the day when we got married. Our marriage lasted under a year before we legally separated. I woke up one day and realized that I spent more time alone than with him. I think he was ok with that. I wasn’t. That was pretty damn painful.
In the meantime, I had dropped out of grad school. I loved the coursework. That part was easy. I hated my thesis topic. I couldn’t work on my microfossil of choice and was just generally disinterested in what I got stuck with. I did get to do some neat lab work and was actually a part-time instructor for LSU by the end. In my biggest class, I had 131 students. That was cool. Quitting grad school wasn’t. I hated being a quitter but hated being in grad school spinning my wheels more.
I pursued an alternative teaching certification which allowed me to teach 8th grade earth science to a “high risk” school. I was excited about it. I had dreams of turning around these kids’ lives. Yeah. That happened. I didn’t last a semester. I was more of a custodian and SWAT member than a science teacher. These kids had major problems – problems I could not begin to relate to. It was bigger than I was. I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by staying. Every day I would sneak out and meet one of the janitors – this sweet old black man whose name I can’t recall but wish like hell I could – and we would smoke in an abandoned bathroom. And I would cry, not wanting to go back to class. That was painful, realizing that I had failed so abysmally at something I had really wanted to be good at.
My still-then-husband had an “in” at Barnes and Noble, so I found myself with a new job quite suddenly. It was a bit of extra income and was a place where I could lick my professional wounds and figure out where in the hell I wanted to go next. I still had ambition at that point and got promoted quickly. I had made it to management in just over a year. This is when I met Will. He became an employee while he was still in school. We joke about that now, that we were terribly scandalous. I was technically still married when we hooked up and was his boss to boot.
I had one or two more stops on my professional tour before landing where I am today. Ultimately I love my job. I love the people I work with. I just hate the pay. It’s dismal.
Will and I had fun for about 4-5 years. We camped a lot. We bought kayaks. One year we spontaneously took our tax return money and went to Boston. 4 years ago we bought our house, finally got married, and quickly got pregnant. Since then, our lives have been dominated by home maintenance and kid stuff. Honestly, there is not a lot of fun to be had. It’s wearing on both of us.
This blog has become long and winding. I’m not sure what my point is or why I feel the need to revisit all this stuff. Sometimes I wish I had made some different choices. But when I catch myself thinking that, I realize that in typical Einstein/wormhole fashion, if I had done even one thing differently in the past my entire future would be different. I would not have the 2 children that excite me, frustrate me, take my breath away. Ultimately I guess any amount of pain and disappointment is a small price to pay for them. It’s time to get back to reality, pull up my big girl panties and get to work. No more sniveling from this girl today.