i wonder if the guy i met today thought he would grow up and sell commercial roofing. do any of us think about that? when do we stop and wonder what happened to our carefully-crafted future identities?
i was always going to be a teacher. always. in all of my playing-grown-up games. just like my dad taught sociology, just like my mom taught drama, i was going to teach english. i was going to inspire others to read difficult books, and to understand them.
two fractures: the first came after i met my favorite college professor, h.g., in a class called simply “short story”. i learned from h.g. that i didn’t know how to read at all, and that 90% of what i had already read, i hadn’t understood. i learned from h.g. just what he said his only lesson ever was: to encourage me to teach myself.
the second fracture was witnessing the absolute horror that passes for high school administration in birmingham, alabama. that’s its own story, and someday maybe my anger will have cooled down enough for me to tell it.
i am not a good teacher. my thought processes are anything but linear; it’s more like a bowl of extremely sticky spaghetti up there. i am also impatient and impulsive, two traits that aren’t conducive to teaching or learning.
although, see, i’m not even sure i’m a particularly good librarian. some days i’m better than others. there aren’t exactly predefined goals to meet, here, and i don’t even have a degree in library science. so what am i doing?
what am i doing?
i don’t know. i can honestly tell you that i don’t know. i don’t know what i’m doing, or how long i won’t know, or how long i’ll do it, or why. this all used to give me no small amount of anxiety. i thought that success was measured by how assured and established i was, and if i didn’t come up with a “career” that provided me these elements of emotional security, well then i might as well chuck my hope of happiness right then.
yet i’m happy. and confused. and still happy. i have this idyllic life that isn’t idyllic to anyone but me – or maybe it is, and i don’t know or care – and yes, sometimes i obsess about falling asleep and not waking back up again, sure, and sometimes i lie awake just listening to chad breathe, not because it’s romantic but because i have waking nightmares that he will just stop breathing and i will have forgotten how to perform cpr, and the phones won’t work when i try to call 911, and i will sit helpless, screaming, as the cat watches me impassively, as the cat watches him not breathe, and yes i am afraid. i am happy and i am still afraid.
tangled mess of life. i keep wondering how it got to be so beautiful and so implausible all at once, and if that’s what makes me love spiderwebs but not spiders.