Thursday, April 15, 2010
trying to move forward...
So here I am. And so far I love it. I can sit through a four hour lecture or a five hour practical class and not wish class would end because I'm so interested in what I'm learning. I can actually go home and use what I'm learning! What a concept.
There are challenges to this whole going back to school thing, however. I'm not just talking about homework - though there's a lot of that. The biggest challenge I'm finding is how to tell people who I am, something that comes up rather often, without making me sad or freaking them out.
The first day of class we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves, explaining why we're in school and what we hope to do when we graduate. Easy enough. "Hi, I'm Amy. I used to be a guidance counselor, then I was a stay-at-home mom. Now I'm looking into getting back into the career world and I love to cook. I'd like to be a personal chef." Clear, concise, doesn't raise any questions.
I'm also taking an online class and our first assignment was to write an autobiography. Seriously.
I figured I'd basically expand on what I said in class but first I read what everyone else posted. For the most part, the posts went like this, "Hi, I'm Happy McHappington. I live in Atlanta with my wonderful husband and my two adorable children. And I'm pregnant with twins. I love cooking and I'm so excited to be taking this class! Life couldn't be better!"
Ok, so I exaggerate a little because I'm jealous and sad. But really, almost everyone in the class was a stay-at-home mom with two or more children. They all shared the names and ages of their kids and how fabulous they are. Why shouldn't they? I was so torn about what to write. I was afraid that if I shared my real story, I might freak everyone out. I wasn't sure that assignment was the right forum for such sad news. On the other hand, I felt that if I didn't talk about my kids I was denying their existence. And that felt even worse.
Fortunately, my good friend Jenny called while I was in mid-internal-debate. She encouraged me to share my story and speak my truth. After all, it is the truth. My kids are every bit as important to me as everyone else's kids are to them. So I did. As clearly and concisely and non-dramatically as possible. Funny...no one commented on my autobiography. Oh well, I can't blame them.
Now that I'm getting to know my classmates in my real-life classes a little more this issue is coming up more often. We talk about what we did before coming to school, I mention I was a stay-at-home mom and the next question they ask is "How old are your kids?" It's a logical question.
Unfortunately, I find myself minimizing the situation. I find myself saying, "It's really sad, but they died in a car accident last year. It's ok though." WTF? Why do I say this?! It's not fucking ok! I just don't want to deal with the awkwardness everyone feels after I drop this information. But then I feel like a jerk. Ugh.
I've run into this problem all year. When I travel, when I go out - whenever I meet new people. I guess I should be used to it, but I probably never will be. And I know it will never be "ok" so I'm going to stop saying that. Maybe instead I'll say "I'm doing my best to keep going, to move forward, but I miss them everyday". That sounds better and more honest.
On the bright side, I really do LOVE the cooking part of culinary school. I leave there every day feeling energized and like I want to go home and cook some more. So that's a great thing. I am moving forward, but I will never move on.