I can’t believe it’s July already! I’ve since changed jobs and begun my second semester of classes. In April I took Amtrak back to Denver so the boys could see their dad and I could go to a conference, and was able to meet up with my former co-workers, which was bittersweet. I miss those crazy cat people. The purest people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.
It’s funny how one thing can completely impact your life and the road you end up on. Working at the cat place led me strictly into the realm of shelter medicine. Likewise when I entered school with one thing in mind, but issues led me to another. I enrolled at my local community college to take my pre-requisites for nursing school back in January. I still had some misgivings and reservations about it, but couldn’t think of anything else I would be suited for- medicine is all I know how to be around and do. Logical, then, to change species, significantly increasing my income and benefits in the process. However, biology was full at the time of registration, and a couple algebra classes needed to be taken before acceptance into chemistry, so I decided I was screwed, and took entry algebra. Somewhere in the midst of the first couple weeks, I decided nursing- at this time- was not the right avenue for me. What the hell do I do now?
Um, hello, Ms. Writer– English?? Emphasizing on creative writing? I’ve been forcing myself to deny that part of myself for so long, that it was- and is- still frightening to begin to assert . The more I thought about it, the more sense it made; it was as though the skies had opened up bright and beautiful when I thought of a life with words and words and words. I had been going through a tremendous amount of self-doubt and confusion over ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. As with everything, the answer was right there, having a nose-to-nose staring contest I was completely oblivious to.
I’m now taking English and an online Women’s Literature course, and I love them! Women’s Lit way more so. I’m just so hungry to keep reading more and more about women writers I’ve either never been introduced to, or whose books I’ve somehow managed to never pick up. Aside from their works is the astounding facts of history going on around them, dictating that it was vulgar and unacceptable for women to write, let alone think independently of a man (husband, father). The absolute misogyny of the middle ages, into the doctrine of the Victorian Era, in which femininity was defined as frail, passionless, and essentially being a mindless, child-like slave to the husband. It’s just so aggravating, so profoundly depressing and heart-wrenching. Reading this collective ‘herstory’ really makes one pause and reevaluate themselves and who they are as a person and as a woman- which is one of the key questions throughout history, the ‘Woman’ question. The ideals of a true ‘woman’ change somewhat each century. I think the beauty of this inanswerable question has been lost, though: there is no clear cut mold from which ‘true’ women must be cast, and that is the way it should be.
I am doing homework every single day, from the moment I get home or wake up (if I’m not working), till late at night. Lots of reading and writing for Women’s Lit, and lots of writing for English. I explain my swamp of projects at work and people say how it’s rough or how they’re sorry, and I respond ‘No! I’m not complaining!’ because I’m not. Being hampered down by school work is conversely very liberating, because it’s taken a very long time for me to come back to where I currently am. Having to logicalize and write essays on old literature, and plotting and organizing and writing countless papers for English is hard and extremely challenging, but it’s fun too! The brain exercise makes me feel like I’ve finally woken up from a dangerously long coma.
I also have to keep a journal for English, and as I’m not really writing my book right now (no time!), I’ve been pouring words into that. It’s as medicinal as camping and hiking. Cathartic. I forget how much I love that word- cathartic. I’ve kept journals here and there, but I’ve been typing them to maintain privacy. Think I’m going to stick to the actual process of writing my thoughts down. Because, mmm-hmm, it’s cathartic. Except my Professor has confiscated my journal (which counts towards my grade), and I’m going through withdrawal. Therefore, I’m writing here!
The summer started off crappy. Lots and lots of rain. However, last month, I said screw it, packed up the car and did a one night maiden camping trip on a Sunday night (on Father’s Day, somehow the same day as last year’s maiden trip). Found this small campground in the Indiana National Lakeshore area, just beside the Indiana Sand Dunes, 44 miles outside of Chicago. Never knew about it until my sister went there for a pre-honeymoon honeymoon. Pristine, beautiful area. Trees and beaches- what else do you need? (though the boys are still homesick for their mountains). It of course started pouring first thing Monday morning, cancelling all my ‘climbing the Dunes’ plans for the day, but it was so necessary and so good to just get out. I lay in the tent knowing I should probably get up and start packing things up, be that ultra-mom who has breakfast cooked and going before the kids get up. But the boys were sound asleep. A tornado wouldn’t have roused them, and despite the massive amounts of rain we’d been getting up till then, I was now actually in it, and it made it that much more beautiful. If I guilt myself out of staying in ‘bed’ and enjoying a storm, what’s the point of camping? So I snuggled back into my sleeping bag after unzipping the window in the front door, and just floated along in the sound and the sight of the storm, and eventually even fell back to sleep.
It seemed fitting to explore a swamp that day, and, true to maiden camping trips, the day did not go without a major hitch- this time I locked my keys in the car at a trailhead towards an 1800’s homestead, and had to hike through the woods and up a road to find a ranger. Still, so much better than the flat tire that occurred while leaving the ghost town in Colorado, only to discover, as my saviors cleared the bend and disappeared, that my battery had died as well. That was not a fun experience.
I’ll try and write up some details of the summer later on.
My eight year old wrote a Guide to Monsters book last week, complete with illustrations, and it just amazed me, and self-interestingly enough, provided me with confirmation as to my own actual ability. If he is doing what I did back when I was a kid, then I’m validated as a writer, too. Why do I doubt myself so much? It’s really annoying.
It’s nurtured and encouraged more with him than it was with me, though, and I love it. Teachers and after-school and summer camp counselors just give him more and more paper whenever he runs out, and we’ve gone through so many notebooks with just the two of them drawing and drawing. It’s just so strange to see what parts of yourself decide to emerge in your children. And I hope and I pray that they are better than I am, and that they don’t have to hide or deny it in order to make a living. But I looked at it and his made-up monsters and names and thought, ‘This is actually pretty good!’ If I can’t get myself published, maybe I can help him instead.
Mmm, guess that’s all. Nothing stellar, I’m afraid. I haven’t anything really important or thrilling to share right now. But wanted to just check in, show I’m alive and haven’t abandoned this. I might even have a reader! 😛