Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn -- or Dizzing Up the Girl

Perhaps I've always experienced a dichotomy when it comes to who I am and who I want to be in my goals. On one hand, I want to be a successful, ambitious woman with a career in an exciting field; on the other, I want to be a home-schooling mom who has dinner on the table every night and spotless house. Unfortunately, I have several conflicts for each of my visions: 1) I don't know what career I am qualified for; 2) I don't know what I'm good at, other than writing; 3) I don't have kids; and 4) staying home isn't practical until I do have kids. Mr. Bookworm and I have been married over two years, but we saw each other less than a month during our first year of marriage, and in the second year, we spent approximately four months together. We're still in the newlywed stage by my calculations, and pretty soon, he will be leaving again for over a year. I don't want to grow and raise children until we can both invest time and effort in their upbringing. Logically, that would mean I should be focused on my first goal, but I'm stuck.

At the moment I'm a substitute teacher because teaching has been the career option I've returned to over and over throughout my life. Being the willful woman that I am, I didn't get certified to teach during college -- mainly because I didn't see the point in an entire class on how to make bulletin boards and cute PowerPoint presentations. If I wanted to teach, English and child psychology classes seemed much more practical, so I took those instead. By the time I graduated, I wanted to change the world instead of teach, so I became a newspaper reporter. I loved the stories, the community involvement, and the influence I had, but something was always missing, so I went to graduate school for English. As a grad student, I got a taste of teaching college students, and I loved it. I just didn't love the politics involved in universities, and I didn't want to be forced to publish books and papers just to publish them for tenure. When I write, I want to be completely involved and invested in my words, not just writing anything to compete and keep my job. Now, I'm just my thesis shy of finishing my masters in English, and I don't want to continue on for my PhD. However, I'm not qualified to teach high school or below because I don't have the certification that seemed a frivolous waste of precious credits in college. I can't teach at a university because I neither have my PhD, nor am I working toward it. I'm at a complete career impasse, and I don't know how to blaze my new trail.

I'm not even sure I want to teach high school English right now. The high school English class I subbed for was draining and inattentive, and it seems that the curriculum has changed so drastically in the ten years since I graduated that I don't know that I can even teach the way that I have always imagined and longed for. What's left if I don't teach? The secretarial jobs, I've applied for have turned me down, and I'm not in love with the newspaper business as a whole. I have a B.A. in English and Psychology, almost an M.A. in English, and nothing practical to show for it. I'm lost in this dizzy show; I just want to be good at something and do something that I love. Why does it feel impossible? I wish it were simple again.

(On a side note, the second part of my title refers to The Goo Goo Dolls 1998 record Dizzy Up the Girl. The title seemed somehow appropriate for how I feel right now.)

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