[Valid Atom 1.0] BarbaraEllen: On Emerging Adulthood: "Helplessness Blues"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Emerging Adulthood: "Helplessness Blues"

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don't, I don't know what that will be

I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

What's my name, what's my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
[...] -Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes

The first time I heard this song was on East Ave, while waiting to turn into Wegmans. It was sunny out. And I struggled to find the worn-down nubbin of a pencil I keep beneath my dashboard exactly for moments like this. When I need to know, need to hear again, that song. (Clearly, didn't yet have my iPhone or I'd'a Shazam'ed that ish.)

You see. My life hasn't gone "as planned."

 I remember Valentine's Day my senior year at Pitt, 2007. I stretched out on my bed, suffocated by a pool of post-its and this mauve merino turtleneck my mom had sent. I remember shaking when I got that letter, the letter. My letter. Collapsing into tears. The royal blue crown poised in the upper-left corner glistening beneath their wake.

Exactly 1 year and 1 day later, I walked to St. Luke's, the ER down Amsterdam Avenue, 5 maybe 6 blocks away from my 106th street walk-up. I dunno, a week later, with my graduate studies ending in August, a scholarship, and a pretty freaking awesome GPA, I dropped out of Columbia. Straight dropped.

The following school-year, back at home with my parents and far away from the sounds of The City, I started work as a TA at my old high school ... far away from the halls and libraries of Teachers College and Columbia University. A portion of the day at Irondequoit High School, I even monitored lunch. (Yes. I did. Now you know. I don't care whose trash that is. Make it disappear. Now. ...See?)

Between now and then, my career's taken all sorts of shoots & ladders. Resumed studies at Nazareth College of Rochester, August 2008. May 2010, graduated with my MS in Education (7-12 ELA and Special Ed, to be precise). 

This past September, not more than 1.5 years after throwing my cap for the 3rd time, I went into banking. Banking. From classrooms & curricula to mortgages & dolla-dolla bills. (Banking pays well, guys. Very well. Just sayin'.) I left all that I knew and all that I dreamed of--night after night after night while laying in bed in my NYC studio--and all that I toiled for--student-teaching and subbing days so maddening it felt mad if I didn't come back for more--I left my Masters and my measly 15 Ivy League credits, and I went into banking.

So you can imagine how much the solitary lyrics resounded solidarity within me, that sunny day in the fall. So crisp, so clear, normal and mundane.

* * *

Today, I resigned. Don't plan to teach. Savings, thread-bare. Past careers floundered. Passion, in-repair.

But I don't feel guilty. Don't feel foolish, selfish, irresponsible. Perhaps I did the many weeks leading up to this, for entertaining just the thought. But once it stopped entertaining me and became serious, real, I stopped entertaining the notion that it's just some silly dream. It. I have to envelop myself with what I love. Have to find it. Have to believe it's real: not a figment of or for "the other". It is for or all. I have to. And I will. 

I'll get back to you, someday, and we'll see.

♥ .

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Not your typical BarbaraEllen ... but still be constructive. Creative also welcome! xo.