part-time and half-lives
I felt like I needed a break from the internet. Do you ever feel that way? I even deleted my Facebook account for about....34 hours. (I really enjoy Facebook, all right?) I thought about explaining why I needed a break from the internet, but then I recognized that potential post as the most boring thing ever.(Life! Transitions! Sad feelings! Happy feelings!) So instead you get a blurb, and an update. Woot to you, good sirs and madams. Here's what is new with me:
School started again. Would you like to read about my schedule? I teach four classes instead of six, and I only work on B days. (High school schedules have four classes on A days, and four different classes on B days.) So for the first few weeks of school, by the miracle of Labor Day, I only had to teach 4 times. Things are a little bit busier now, but I like part time teaching for the time being. It was really important to me to go back to work, but I'm glad (and very aware* of how privileged** I am,) to have a gig where I spend lots of time with Clara Chubzilla and lots of time with squirrelly teens.
Clara goes to a daycare at my school, and she copes by either sleeping a lot, or not sleeping at all and screaming a lot. One time I went to collect her and an anxious looking teen was holding her and bouncing her up and down. As she carefully passed her over, she sighed and stretched out her arm, wincing. "My arm has been asleep for the last hour, but I didn't want to put her down or she would start screaming again." Sheesh. Sorry teen, hope that helps you remember to play it safe should you ever decide to engage in adult relationships with a romantic partner.
The moral of the story? Hopefully Clara adapts to daycare soon, and I really, really, enjoy my job. I was away for a long time, and I have less on my plate this year, so I've really been able to enjoy working. The class dynamics have been pretty positive so far, and I love what I teach, and I feel really alive and happy when a lesson goes particularly well, or a student says something truly insightful.
Every summer I debate about my job. It is hard, and stressful, and the pay is bullshit. But the first few weeks of school always suck me back in. I love my job. Every September I remember the sixteen-year- old girl who sat in AP U.S. History beaming as she realized she was good at learning. And ten years later she has her own classroom, and her students are watching her because, damn, she has great teacher presence, and that woman and those students are learning together. I'm still beaming, and it is a dream come true, and I'm glad I stuck with it.
This feeling? I want Clara to have it. Whatever it is that makes her feel just a little bit more alive than she felt when she woke up. I hope I show her that, when she watches me work, that what I am doing helps me feel more alive, and she deserves that feeling too.
You know what really helps one appreciate being a woman and having something that makes one feel alive? Reading The Feminine Mystique for book club last month. I felt enraged and discouraged, but happy and hopeful the whole time I read it. I've lived in worlds where I was forced to accept "The Problem That Has No Name," as inevitable, and even as a godly trial. To fight against that constantly, and to fight against that for my child, is exhausting. But as Betty Friedan so beautifully put it, before women started fighting for freedom, "Only men had the freedom to love, and enjoy love, and decide for themselves in the eyes of their God the problems of right and wrong. Did women want these freedoms because they wanted to be men? Or did they want them because they also were human?" Amen, Betty, amen.
A few weeks ago, someone left a comment on my blog, (and to be fair, I'm unsure of the intended tone,) about women wanting the Priesthood. "Is Priesthood Envy the new Penis Envy? Just askin'?"
I ignored the comment because I don't think that person meant it as a question. I think they were stating something they believed to be fact, and by reducing female ordination to a flippant comment about female pettiness, they might not have to think about it anymore.
But I guess I'm not ignoring it now, just long enough to say that Penis Envy (and it's various incarnations, including Priesthood Envy,) is a stupid myth meant to demonize feminism and shut down meaningful discourse between people. Women do not want equality so that they can be men. Women want equality, as Friedan points out, so that we can be human. We do not want your body parts, we want your rights and privileges, which in the case of Priesthood, are granted based on those body parts.
I am lucky that I have a job and a life that most of the time, helps me feel alive. But there are so many women who still feel "stopped at a stage of evolution far short of their human capacity" (Friedan). Sometimes they feel like me, that their spiritual evolution stopped when they turned 12, or when they went through the temple, or when they had a good idea, but no "Presiding Priesthood Authority" to fight for them. Wherever you fall on the question of feminism, or the question of female ordination in your church, you should stop thinking of these movements and questions as an attempt to take something from someone else. (Penises, Priesthood, authority, etc.)
Instead, you should start seeing these movements and questions as what they are: the simple desire to feel human. To feel more alive.
So that's what's new with me.
*Liberal blogger buzzword alert! Aware, AND **Privilege! Bam.