Now the sun moves into Leo, and there is still another month before classes start. That means another month to do my summer things: research and writing, swimming and yoga, house and yardwork, all in a rhythm.
My goal for this year is to be self contained. The banes of my existence are early undergraduate chaos, early graduate school chaos, new instructor chaos, and assistant professor chaos (in addition to prisoner chaos and sometimes caretaking, which is outside work it was not my intention to allow to devolve into such). My explicit training was that, in order to make tenure, I needed to play the maternal role, put myself last and take care of all these children. I disagreed at the time and explained why, namely that even if that were my job description, which it is not, it still is not good mothering.
I lost. But this year I am going to be who I think a grownup and a professional person has the right to be. That means, specifically, that I am allowed to consider putting myself and my work, and my life first in some instances, rather than give creedence to all the lectures I have gotten and still get about:
- how I have not yet “paid my dues” (a disgusting phrase with whose attendant assumptions I disagree in any case), or
- how I need to learn to place ahead of me those who have not studied as hard, and
- other, similarly oppressive and irrational sentences.
They do also say these things to men. Still, it is useful to me to consider the question of whether a self respecting man would take such things seriously. I myself did not, until I began inhabiting environments where agreement with these kinds of statements was a majority view. I am channelling the lighter, more rational (“too scientific,” people sometimes said, but I disagree) person I was then.
Most specifically, I want to become a poorer listener. I have been such a good listener during some periods that my own life was crushed under the weight of others’ stories. I want to serve customers less and explore poets more, do the things I came to do, expand my own lungs. Research is always the antidote, although people keep telling me it is the extra burden.