Finding My Voice

I used to say, when people would ask what I do or what I like to do, that I write, and by extension, I am a writer. I guess in high school and through undergrad, that was true. I was a writer. It was something I did, and some would say I did it well. Since graduating in 2003, I’ve found it difficult to write–really write–for myself.

In grad school, of course I had to write; I wrote papers on teaching strategies for partner teachers and substitute teachers. I wrote lesson plans for teaching poetry and meiosis. But I stopped writing for fun, for fiction, upon completion of my Creative Writing degree course work. It feels, to me, that I have stopped being creative.

With my second BA, I focused my attention on the world stage, on geo-political relations, and politics in general. I concentrated on the economy and comfortably engaged in conversations with my peers and instructors about discrimination in public schools and the state of the impoverished. I felt a sense of urgency and importance with this field of study, whereas I hadn’t with my others.

Thinking on it now, I know that all of the things I found, and still find, interesting and important, ARE. Why would I have spent ten years and tens of thousands of dollars on an eclectic education? Granted, my first degree was for me. Creative writing and Anthropology were passions. But, I fear I wasn’t passionate enough to move forward with them. As much as I loved Anthropology, once I discovered that the professor I had hoped to study under at Arizona was retiring before I would even get there, I let it go. And I figured if I was going to BE a writer, I didn’t necessarily need to go to grad school to do it. Maybe that was naive.

So, in lieu of studying congenital degenerative bone diseases in bipedal hominids in Arizona, or continuing to develop my writing prowess anywhere that offered an MFA program, I decided to pursue teaching.

In my head, I envisioned teaching 10th grade English; my own 10th grade experience was, to this day, a memorable one: our teacher was great and he encouraged my writing. So I pursued a Master’s in Secondary Education. But to no avail… I am not a teacher. While I did work as a teacher for our district’s summer literacy program, I wasn’t able obtain a full-time position; I didn’t look too hard though, to be honest–I went on one interview. I did substitute teach for two [nonconsecutive] years.

I moved on, and I re-enrolled at university. I dabbled with pre-med for a year before finding my stride with political science. Two years later, I had another BA. Prior to 2009, I had intended on applying to a graduate program in Colorado. But again, life had other plans.

My life has made some twists and turns in the last 3-4 years. I’ve lived abroad, gotten married, bought a home, and became a mother. I don’t regret those things. But as my tenure at my current job as an editor and writer (not the KIND of writer I initially set out to be) for the English language educational (not quite the TYPE of education I had envisioned) materials publisher is so up in the air, I have to reflect on my career choices and options.

Last month I applied to renew my now-expired level one teaching license. Actually, I applied two months ago, but they sent it back requesting additional funds, so I had to get that together before sending it off again. And, for the last few weeks, it’s been just a waiting game. Since it’s been about three or four weeks since I sent it off, Jason and I agree that I need to give them a call on Monday if I don’t hear back this weekend. If they never received it, I just hope that the bank can stop payment on the two cashier’s checks I had to draft.

Plan C is to line up a few jobs to apply to that aren’t in education. The Girl Scouts are hiring; that could be interesting.

So; long story.



3 responses to “Finding My Voice

  1. I know how you feel – the uncertainty really makes you look back on past decisons. During my BA (in French and Italian), I had big visions of working in translating or interpreting in the European Commisson – then I graduated and headed to Japan 3 days later instead. I then planned to ‘do something with Japanese’ and did a Masters in Japanese. But having met a Korean, I ended up going to Korea with him – followed by marriage, and then divorce. A year in law school persuaded me that there was no way I ever want to work in law. And as a result, most of the last 15 years have seen me teaching EFL (Yet as a teen I swore that there was no way I’d EVER be a teacher), writing for EFL (I didn’t use to like writing at all) or editing EFL materials. Now I live in the US – something else I could also never have imagined, and am back in college again trying to make myself more marketable.
    Life really does lead us down unpredictable paths. It gets a lot scarier and a bit harder to gather the courage to head in new ones as we get older. But let’s look forward to a lot more interesting stuff to come!

  2. Pingback: What should you write about? « Robert Medak·

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