Empty Step

Today in the hallway a little sixth grade boy stopped me and asked me if the world was going to end on Saturday. It took me aback. “Are you worried?” I asked. He nodded his head. I said that there has always been someone predicting doom every year, and that I thought it was a bunch of baloney… [insert reassuring teachertalk here]. “On the other hand,” I joked, “maybe I should wait to grade all these papers, just in case.” His eyes got really big, I felt like an asshole, and more reassuring teachertalk ensued.

Well folks, if a bunch of numbers really is more apocalyptic than humanity’s own stalwart mission of destruction, then at least this blog shall not die unblogged.

A lot of things have happened since I last bothered to write.

  • I finished my graduate program.
  • I was a bridesmaid (never a bride)
  • I decided to get back into dancing again.
  • I decided to stop biting my nails.
  • I sold some more photos.
  • A crazy drunk (?) guy crashed into my car.
  • I was attacked by a kindergartner, threatened by an 8th grader, and braved a plethora of other insanities.
  • I got my rejection letter from Fulbright.

That was rough. In the middle of a big tangle of final projects, all-nighters, and exams, I got the letter I have been waiting for since Fall.  I am on the alternate list – which means if a primary candidate backs down, I may still be offered the grant – but as it stands I have to cross off the possibility of a teaching job in Spain for a year.

We are keenly aware of the pressure that is upon candidates as they wait…

I had a few very weepy days, which included my final exam in Tai Chi. We had to demonstrate the concept of the empty step: keeping your weight steady and grounded. Moving forward onto new ground but not putting too much weight on your step until you know it is not misguided. I felt my balance waver and tears prickling. I have not been empty stepping into my future. I tried to reach out all the way across the Atlantic with my short leg, and I pushed too hard into my hopes of landing on old roads, new horizons, adventure, public transportation, airports. I was misguided and I fell on my face.

I am a quick learner. It took less than an hour of crying before I started looking for other jobs. I was excited about the opportunities of a Fulbright, but with the growing instability of my job and my state, I was also just hoping for the assurance of viable employment. Gas prices are rising and my salary is being cut. Everything is uncertain.

I love being a teacher, but it has been very hard to like being a teacher. Everything is a struggle. Recent construction has screwed up my commute and this week my usual nine hour days have been stretched to twelve hour days. I grit my teeth and fight to push my own anxieties out of my classroom. I feel ineffective, burned out, exhausted, and whiny. I know I will survive, and I am surviving, but bare-bones survival is depressing.

On the bright side, in these last few grey days I got to dance at my best friend’s wedding, eat ice cream with a man I love, and hold a newborn baby. And it looks like we may have at least one more gorgeous Spring day before the apocalypse. Party like it’s 1999.


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