To the few, the faithful blog followers & friends… maybe you’ve wondered where I’ve been, or maybe not. Honestly, I’ve been struggling to stay afloat, or at least I was at the start of this semester. But I think the struggle is over. I am dog-paddling, maybe even freestyling, albeit a very sloppy freestyle, not unlike my literal swimming abilities.
I’ve started and abandoned at least a dozen blog entries since January. Every time I sat down to write, my thoughts and words felt sloppy as well. Rambling, un-themed, vague, insecure. But I created this blog as a representation of a commitment I have made to myself, to risk living imperfectly, to tolerate uncertainty, and to believe my thoughts are worth speaking, even when my inner critic tells me otherwise. And so I will make my best attempt to honor that commitment, and keep writing.
I have just 5 days of class/field placement left before my first year of graduate school is done. Today I had my performance evaluation with my field advisor, field instructor, and task supervisor. (Yes, those are three different people. No, it won’t make any sense if I try to explain it to you, so I won’t put you through it.) As I listened to their feedback, and as I heard myself responding to their questions, asking what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown, I realized I’ve learned quite a bit, and (hopefully) grown quite a lot. Not just through my field placement, but through this difficult semester. I’ll take this post as an opportunity to reflect, and an opportunity to bring you up to speed on the goings-on of the last few months:
I learned how to talk to middle-schoolers about sex, puberty, relationships, friendships, self-esteem. Also, I learned how to talk to middle-schoolers.
I taught 12-year-old girls how to properly use condoms, so that they will be prepared should they ever find themselves in a situation where they need one.
I discovered I have become very attached to, and very protective of those 12-year-old girls. They are sweet and brave and kind to one another, and I have been touched by their genuine gratitude for many things that I took for granted during my own middle school years. That said, I will be relieved to work with adults next year, and no longer worry about policing things like snack distribution, bathroom trips, and who’s touching whom on the face when we’re supposed to be having a discussion.
I decided to spend six-weeks of my upcoming summer in Peru improving my Spanish.
I made a decision about my personal health that I was afraid to make, and was relieved to find myself feeling healthier as a result.
I took a road trip to a North Carolina beach with friends, and enjoyed perfect weather, a delicious picnic, lovely company, and the strange experience of watching the sun set over the land instead of into the water.
I went on dates with someone, and for once let myself feel giddy, foolish and hopeful. I am now back in my rational mind, but it was a fun and healthy diversion.
I made another very permanent decision that I’ve been afraid to make, but have wanted to make for a long time. It was mostly uncertainty and fear of regret that hindered me, but I am relieved to find myself now free of either one.
I learned to tolerate the discomfort of being far away from dear family and friends, and also learned to tolerate phone conversations and Skype sessions as my only means, for now, of bringing them close.
I found out I will get to welcome my first visitor from California in May, and couldn’t ask for anything better to look forward to than showing her around my life in this little town. It has allowed me to realize that I have, in fact, built a life here, or at least begun to. “This is where I go to yoga. This is where I go for walks by the creek and try not to miss the ocean. This is the co-op market where I spend far too much money on prepared foods. This is where I go to drink coffee, study, and watch the hipsters smoking outside. This is where we go to drink beer. This is where we go to drink wine. And with that, you’ve seen pretty much everything that Carrboro has to offer.”
I realized I have a community of people here whom I can call friends, as well as classmates. Every month or so, we open up our homes to one another and we potluck. We laugh, a lot. Sometimes we rant about our classes and our program. Other times we talk about issues and people that matter to us, and I think we all feel grateful to have found people who understand this piece of who we are.
That’s all for now. To those who read, know that I am grateful for you. I’ll try not to stay away so long next time.