You might think it’s been a year and a half since I wrote something here. That’s not true.
My drafts folder is full of incomplete, imperfect, unfinished posts and scribbles: nearly-done posts, ideas for posts, mere suggestions of ideas. And yet… I’ve not finished a blog post in 18 months. Why?
I could blame a busy life. Since May 2014, a lot has happened: some health issues that had me couch-bound for several weeks (during the school year: an abhorrence!), a job where I had to prove myself in under a year in order to get tenure (I did!) which probably led to aforementioned health issues, a year with a tsunami of new responsibilities at work and, because none of that was enough, I also bought an apartment, which I moved into this past July.
It’s true that all these things were draining to such a degree that sometimes all I could do was collapse on the couch and rely on Netflix for comfort (sad when you read it like this, huh?). But really, it has more to do with not knowing who I am here, and out in the “real” world.
See, it is difficult for me to be anything but my authentic self: loud, opinionated, not always diplomatic, caring very hard in a variety of directions. As a teacher, however, you’re often expected to be cool, aloof, and maintaining serious distance from your students. This is particularly true at my current program. And I’m not saying this is wrong, but it’s something that doesn’t come easy to me (see also the personal nature of this blog, which is public and accessible to students).
It was possible for me to juggle personal and professional me, in person and online, for a while, and then it happened: I became a member of our exam board. In a nutshell, it means I’m responsible (together with the rest of the board, thank goodness), for safeguarding the quality of our degrees, particularly regarding testing and assessment. It’s a taxing, sometimes infuriating, often rewarding position. And even more than with teaching, it requires “professional” demeanor and distance.
The me who, as a cog in a committee machine, decides which students stay and which have to go, which student is considered an exception and who is not, and has to navigate the interests of students, faculty, management, university, legislation, and higher education at large, clashed with the me who shouts about feminism, about racism, about pop culture. Paired with complete exhaustion, it was impossible to figure out where I stood. And so I stopped writing.
The itch remained, though. I wrote so much, for so many years, that not being able to do so was more than a little depressing. So here I am again. I still haven’t figured out how to balance the different me’s, but like so many things in my life, I’m hoping I figure it out as I go. I’ll probably take the long way around again. That’s okay.