Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Turning 38, Progress and Grief (And a Gig!)




The week before last, I sat in Blue State Coffee, in Providence, RI (on of my favorite venues) before my feature and did the online orientation for my student teaching this semester. It scared me to death. Don’t plan on doing anything at all else, it said. I have to be ready to assume full responsibility for the class by the end of October.

Well, assuming responsibility for a class was the general idea, wasn’t it? But I am still not feeling up to the task. Ever since I had to face the reality of what’s coming, I’ve felt lost, like I don’t have access to my inner resources. I still can’t seem to find them. I’m settling for trying to LOOK like I have inner resources—that always works on those makeover shows Amy hates, right?

For most of the past ten years, I’ve been a full time writer, and it’s brought me so much—including my big dream of having a full-length collection published. I had day jobs and part-time jobs, I got myself through my teacher certification courses, but I am so, so lucky and grateful to have had writing as the central focus of my life. I feel real grief for that part of my life being over, even sad for my classes to be coming to a close, even as I am very glad that I won’t be spending my days alone with a computer anymore.

I love my life as it has been for the past ten years, and I am very sorry to see it go. Right now, it feels like the end of my writing self, even though I know lots of people who successfully teach and write, they teach and write and do a million other things. I know that when I get there, I’ll be there, I’ll still find ways. I’m in the middle of a year-long writing project that may have enough of its own momentum to carry me through.

The rest of my life seems too transitiony and off-kilter as well. I feel like I’m not growing into things fast enough. We haven’t quite settled into the new apartment, and we aren’t feeling very settled into each other, either. I’m angry at the new apartment sometimes for not being the old apartment, and I really do miss our couch that we couldn’t get up the stairs.

The project of accepting my polyamorous self has come so far, but it feels like it’s hitting a wall as well. I had some good momentum going but then I fell for another monogamous guy who has since disappeared—so yep, I get it, poly guys only, but still, I liked him. I felt a deep guilt that I couldn’t give him what he wanted, that I’m someone who comes with an (adorable gingham) suitcase of (really fun sometimes) complications. Though I can try not to get close to anyone else who makes me feel that way, I still make myself feel that way. I hope it’s something I can grow beyond.

So it’s a tentative, unsettled birthday eve. I am proud of my book release this year and praying to the next book to keep me a writer. I’m proud of how much I’ve learned and experienced as a dater of men, but I’m mournful for the ones who aren’t around anymore. I love Amy, but our home doesn’t feel like a home right now. I am excited and curious about teaching, but I’m nervous about the possibility of wrecking little fourth-grade lives.

Student teaching doesn’t start until next week, but I’ve decided to start going in as of tomorrow. I’ll spend my birthday day in professional development with the other teachers and my birthday night doing a Skype feature with another favorite venue: the Ugly Mug in Orange, CA. It’ll be a good way to celebrate both the new and old lives, with my oldest, dearest friends and poems. 

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