This long weekend has been LOVELY. I spent it pretty much procrastinating all of my work (I actually don’t *think* I have too much right now– it’s mostly stuff that actually has to get done AT WORK, like working with students on our play and such) and hanging with my loved ones. I got breakfast with my love this morning, and then I went to the movies with my parents! We saw The Post— it was really good! I DID get my period right at the beginning and spent a good amount of time grimacing in the bathroom waiting for my Pamprin to kick in, but it was definitely really interesting! I really liked how I put it when telling my boyfriend about it: “It was very reminiscent of young Michelle.” In other words, the core idea of the movie was the question of the purpose of the news. Should it be censored, or is news for the public? Of course, spoilers, but they realize that news should always be for the public and it’s a really cool, satisfying ending. But it really did make me think a lot about my younger self’s dreams.
I ALWAYS wanted to be a writer. For most of my younger years, I wanted to solely be a writer. I wanted to work from home except when I needed to meet with my publishers or illustrators. I could decide my own hours and not depend on others when deadlines were near. Then, I eventually realized that becoming a book author is really difficult and having that as your sole income is near impossible, so I decided that I would get into journalism. I thought about that for a long time (and even still entertained the idea in college). I was obsessed with Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and seeing her rise up in the journalism world was the exact motivation I needed. Every morning on my way to high school, we’d pass the New York Times building and I’d always tell my parents that I would work there one day. Now, hardly a history buff and trying my best (but usually failing) to know what’s going on in the world, I realize that journalism might not be best for me.
I pretty accidentally and conveniently fell into teaching at a time when I had no idea what I was going to do. In my first whim of passion in over ten years, I changed my major to English without having even taken more than one English class in college (and I got a C on my first-ever college English paper, giving me an A- in the class. I HATED ENGLISH.). Close reading was something I despised and saw no purpose in. I hadn’t read for fun in over a decade. But I was good at writing. And I loved it. And I felt like, for the first time, I wanted to work for something that I knew I wasn’t good at. I was going to conquer it and figure out my future later. Well, a year into my English major, I was randomly called by my old high school principal and she offered me a job out of nowhere. Now, I had previously considered teaching high school. When I was in my senior year of high school, I wanted to be a math teacher. I had wanted to be an engineer (and specifically a Disney Imagineer), but decided that I needed a job that had me interact with people. So I went into college as an elementary education teacher…and dropped the major in a panic (and at a really low point for myself in college). I had been working at my college’s writing center and had to choose between my major (and the time requirements for lesson planning and observing) and my job. Probably the more popular choice would’ve been my major, but 1) I couldn’t leave my job at that point in the semester and let down my students, and 2) I loved my job. So I dropped my current education class (and my major) almost *too* quickly and picked up English. Then, definitely too quickly, I decided that I would get my PhD in English, not realizing the extensive knowledge that was needed to even apply for a PhD program– knowledge I tried to obtain, but couldn’t possibly learn in the year-and-a-half that I had to start and finish my English education. So, in another panic, I decided to be a teacher. And, about a month after that decision, I got the call.
Now, before you think otherwise, I LOVE MY JOB. And I thought I loved my job at the writing center. And I did. But my job warms my heart (and has helped my personal growth) in a way that nothing ever could. It’s extremely difficult and tiring and annoying sometimes, but it really is worth it. And, since getting this job, I haven’t thought about my distant future. I’ve always been planning for the next thing– but finally, I’ve been content. I really am. But I’m also learning that having dreams is okay. It doesn’t make it seem like I love my job any less– only that I really value my limited time. And so that’s what I’ve realized my time as a teacher is. Limited. It hurts to even think about, but I know that I’m not going to be a teacher forever. I do want to teach for years to come, and I would like to rise to some place of leadership and make some changes. But I also want to use what I learn as a teacher to help others.
If you read these posts somewhat regularly, you know that gender studies is really important to me. It’s part of who I am, and it’s something that I’m genuinely interested in. The little that I do know about gender is from my own research, mostly Internet research. I’d really like to step into the formal graduate classroom and learn more about gender and identity. So that’s why I’d really like to earn my MA in Women’s and Gender Studies. I’d like to pursue a sexuality track, but there’s also a super rad literature track, so we’ll see what happens. You can actually take three classes outside of your track– that should help me with my indecisiveness. You can also join a separate writing track and have workshops with student writers from all forms of graduate study– that would be really cool as well. I’ve said this before, but gender has always really interested me– even when I didn’t understand the concept. Studying English helped me understand these ideas (and myself) immensely. The first time I heard about “othering,” every lightbulb in my brain burned bright. I’d known this feeling from my own experience and from things I’d read and seen– and THIS is finally the word for it. After starting my gender education journey, I even wrote one of my last college papers entirely on forcing binary genders on trans people and, in the process, was able to somewhat confidently explain these ideas to my class. I told them about using “they” as a gender neutral pronoun, and the possibly disturbing nature of gender roles or biological terms for body parts, and they were so happy. One of my classmates, a freshman, publicly told the class that she wanted to write like me when she became a senior. HOW COOL IS THAT. I was so proud of that paper, especially because my reading of the main poem went against that of my professor– and actually changed my professor’s mind on the poem that she’d been teaching for years. That moment was one of ultimate transformation for me. I could talk about gender AND be an academic. And I want that again, but more. I want to learn; I’m so hungry to learn. I want to walk in and have no idea what anyone’s talking about, a feeling I rarely have. I want to learn and look at the world differently.
So, I’d really like to get my second MA (currently working on my MAT to become a certified teacher) after this program, which hopefully means in two years. I’ll hopefully still be teaching then and working my way up in whatever school I’m at. At that time, I’d also like to be volunteering at an animal shelter (maybe as one of the ASPCA guides that helps match people with pets, but I’d be fine with cleaning cages or administrative stuff too). As the years go by, I’d like to start working at an LGBTQ+ nonprofit for teens, possibly starting as a volunteer but eventually transferring to full time. My current job has taught me that I *need* to work with teenagers. They are the perfect age. They have a great sense of humor, can be mature when they want to, but can also be totally silly and enjoy the little things in life (like the rubber duckies I gave my homeroom for Halloween). [I’m not really thinking about my personal life in the future for this post, but I’ll probably be married at this point. Go me!] As I transition out of teaching for the time being, I’d probably go back to school for some nonprofit or other business-y information while also working on writing. And for my final form (or at least my mid- to late-thirties), I’m just initially maybe considering becoming a gender therapist. Seeing a gender therapist is currently required for any trans people to undergo physical transition, and tons of other people questioning their gender go just for their personal development! I’d really like to be part of the helpful transition team that helps people of all ages finally live their truth. To do this, I’d need to become a certified therapist/counselor. To be real dreamy at this point, I’d like to do some office work and other work free as a clinic volunteer.
Now, for the real dreamy stuff. Since I’m spilling my guts here, might as well go all-out. All of my far-fetched dreams include writing a book. I’d really like to write young adult literature, with possibly some adult or child’s stuff on the side as well. Really, having a TV show or movie based off of my books would be cool as well, but even publishing one book (getting real dreamy, a series) is the ultimate goal. I’d love to casually go to conventions here and there and speak at panels and do readings and just talk about my characters and their adventures and struggles. It would be so cool. Another far-reaching dream of mine is to write a play or musical. It would probably never see the light of day, but I think writing something so detailed and extensive would be a huge accomplishment for me and finally prove to myself that I can be a writer and write more than my thirteen-page story from when I was eleven.
So there ya go! My guts, all spilled out quite neatly on the platter before you. You’re in the loop now. Print this post and ask me to sign it when I’m a quadruple threat: gender therapist, novelist, playwright, and certified teacher. Till then, take even the smallest step towards your dreams– I’m going to do the same.