Thursday, December 4, 2008
Over Thanksgiving I made a pledge to myself after a revelation of sorts- let's call it an epiphantic moment for effect. So, I made this pledge to myself, and can I just tell you, I highly recommend pledges of all sorts, this one possibly being the best. I decided, after too many teary nights of those kind of questions - you know them: Should I be here? Can I do this? Where am I going? Is this really what I signed up for? I decided that it was time to take back a little more control of the situtaion. I made a pledge to myself to do things on my terms - to find my own way in the cluster of life(past, present, future and all those messy inbetweens).
I was spending so much time worrying about being smart enough, liked enough, respected enough, successful enough, enough, enough, enough. Somewhere in the middle of all those "enoughs," I realized it just really wasn't - because they weren't my enoughs- they were the enoughs of some fictional audience I created to boggle myself into a rather silly stupor. So, inbetween the decorating, somewhere just before the pie, I decided to ask myself what it was I came out here for, why I filled out all those applications, packed all those boxes, drove so many miles, patient husband in tow. I asked myself what it was that I knew, who and what I liked, who I respected, how I already am successful. And you know what I got? A lot of answers that were a little hard to take - not because they were harsh or painful, but because I've already wasted a good bit of my time worrying about things that never really mattered.
The truth is, and I know, this shocks you, it does, but ... I'm a little quirky. I had you fooled, right? You thought my large collection of miniature treasures I carry inside my keychain was a common thing out here, and those suitcases full of old, brown-edged note papers that I can't help but rescue from the thrift stores- everyone's got those, right? The thing is, I don't like to hug, and I don't like to compete, play team sports, eat fruit with anything savory, look for people in a restaurant, feign excitement for things that don't excite me, or arrange my life around a career. I am a fan of reading, really reading, and loving words enough to try each day to share enough of them to make sense of what I'm doing here. I love classroom discussions and heated debates, learning something new and teaching something older, pushing forward and holding onto what mattered. I think there's more room in life for my own terms, for my own rhythm, and it's amazing how easy it is to forget that and to start flowing with a motion you can't even understand simply because someone suggested it might be a good idea.
Are you wondering if it worked? It's been a week, and maybe that's why I waited so long to sit and tell you the tale, how I wept a thousand tears, declared war, and came out on the other side a little bruised but a lot wiser. It sounds a little more important that way, with the battle and all, but really, it is important - it's a life. One of the successes I came out with when trying to tell myself how far I'd come was this- I get up every day, I laugh, I create, I imbibe, I come home. Who ever said those things alone weren't worth a good pat on the back? I've spent much too long waiting for grand victories that while they may come yet, in no way over shadow the fact that today I gave a pep talk, yesterday I made a little boy smile with a baggie of treasures, and next week I hope to make my mom laugh until she pees. People, if you can make an adult laugh so hard they pee their pants, you've been successful.
Today was the last day of classes this quarter and it feels a little surreal. I have two papers left to submit in order to wrap up my first quarter as a grad student. Things don't seem so overwhelming when you take back the reins a bit.
The deer in the picture above is missing one leg and one hoof and can't stand on his own (I've name him Henry). Tomorrow on my way to the library I'm going to run by the local office supply shop for a little glue to put him back together in time for Christmas. It's good, I think, to love something even when it's broken, but even better at times, to love it enough to fix it.