So it’s Christmas Eve and I have blissfully completed all of my gift shopping. Thank God!! Now I have the time to become a little reflective over the events of the last two years. This time two years ago, I was in my own apartment in CT, recieving my younger brother and off to NY for the holiday to see Dreamgirls. Well, it was so great to be with my bro, it also felt a little empty without my parents. I remember enjoying the freedom of roaming the streets of NYC alone and showing my bro all the cool places I liked to go. But it felt different.
I also remember coming back home to CT and being unceremoniously laid off from my teaching job that January of 2008. I remember scrambling to find a job to pay rent and bills, ending up as a substitute teacher, a Customer Service Representative, and a part-time college professor teaching two classes. Hip hop artists like play up the concept of “hustling” but they never really explain or show what that looks like (or what’s worse, insinuating illegal activity). I was hustling. I worked like a crazy person, hitting overtime almost every pay period to make rent.
I remember being really tired (obviously) but I liked the idea of not asking my parents for money. I wasn’t making much but it was mine and I loved that. Work naturally kept me busy so I really couldn’t date anyone. I also really didn’t meet anyone who could really understand me. Put it this way, I was (and still am) the youngest faculty member at every college and university I teach at and everyone else are much older and married (not my type in any way).
But then my supervisor at Customer Service needed to downsize and started with me (even though she tried to make it look like there was something wrong with me) so I lost a paycheck. The semester needed and I lost another paycheck. By April, I was drowning.
So I guess it was a good thing that my parents rescued me when they did even though it felt more like a forced retrieval. I felt like a failure for not being able to stick it out. I mean, my parents made it through hard times like those and came out on the other side with limbs intact so why couldn’t I?
After an entire summer of unemployment checks and resentment, I tried to get certified to teach in Florida but then I heard about the layoffs and frozen salaries. Luckily, one of my parents’ friends from the School Board heard about an opening at a local university for an English professor. I got the call Thursday, came in to look at books on campus Friday, and started classes that Monday. I was (and still am) very appreciative for a real job with benefits that I like.
So now as the end of the year approaches, I’m left to feel very blessed for the mountains and valleys that I have gone through. If it wasn’t for the valleys, I couldn’t appreciate the mountains. And now that I finally am applying to grad school for a doctorate in Higher Education to be an administrator at a university, the sky is the limit! I have read Barack Obama’s memoir Dreams From My Father, learning about his meager beginnings and it gives me hope about my future. If he could make something of himself with that background (and BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES) then I can do whatever I want to do. He has become the physical manifestation of all that my parents have told me I could be.