Back in the day of binge drinking and shared showers as an undergraduate, I took a class titled Language, Culture and Communication.
And in said class, we read a journal article (that I am way too damn lazy to find an electronic link to) titled “Caught Between Two Worlds” or something like that.
The premise of the article was that there was a college student from a Native American tribe who was attending a traditional four-year institution. Upon enrollment, he began to integrate into the mainstream college culture and behaviors that defined his life within his Native American community began to fade. However, regardless of his integration, he always felt as if he was living on the outskirts of the college community. He never felt like he ‘fit’ and was uber conscious of his differences. Eager to return home to the comforts of family life, the student soon realized that he had changed. No longer did he fit into the mainstream Native American community either.
He was caught between two worlds.
Standing in the doorway.
Not really fitting in to either of his worlds.
Safely observing and trying to learn how to fit in somewhere.
This article always stood out to me. I understood it…but I didn’t ‘get’ it since it wasn’t anything I could directly relate to.
And now I do.
I am standing in a doorway.
Trying to figure out where I belong.
And I don’t know.
My world is divided.
One half knows me to be a mom, a divorcee, the ‘crazy’ kid, the loud one.
I bring the kids to the park, make cookies, wash hair, listen to tantrums, smother my kids in love and change the stinky diaper on more occasions than I really like.
The other side of the doorway leads to a world of academics.
A place I love.
A place I fit.
A place, rumor has it, I belong.
But, the people on the ‘domestic’ side don’t really care about the academic side.
The people on the academic side push me to let go of the cookie sheet and push me to write, research and think.
I spend the majority of my life as a Mom.
As the domestic one.
And trying to make the Academic side reverberate with life is hard.
I can’t compete with new clothes, vacations and trips to Target that dominate conversations.
I don’t fit in my life.
Before I left for my little stance in school, I had it in my mind that I would go to finish up some classes and return home to my Chickens and the suburban life I lead.
But, once I got there, I was prodded to think that perhaps, just maybe, if I pushed myself a bit more, I could make it within the competitive world of academia.
I was handed opportunities, offered support, and pushed.
People said things that weren’t easy to listen to.
But, they hit home.
I came home excited. Almost revitalized. I saw light at the end of the tunnel. I was passionate. In felt like I finally had direction. I felt like I knew what I needed to do.
Until, I actually walked in the front door.
And then my reality hit.
My two worlds don’t mesh.
So, as I sit here…hacking away at a dissertation that probably has less value than the paper it will one day be printed on, I wonder how two different worlds can have such different perceptions of who I am and what I am capable of.
And although I know you are supposed to follow your dreams and all that bullshit, it is indeed, bullshit.
It is hard to follow a dream that the people who surround you don’t care about.
Is it possible?
But, it does make you rethink the validity of what the hell you are doing.
So, I don’t know where to turn.
And really…it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of the direction I am facing, the next step I take will lead me into a world that isn’t really ‘my’ world anymore.
I no longer fit.
And, I’m not too sure people care if I fit anyway.
So, I guess I’ll stand here.
Doing what I can do from the doorway.
Waiting for the right opportunity.
Hoping for a smoke signal to guide me.
Keeping an eye out for another door.
Where is my bucket of optimism?
I wish the doorway had a chair.
Something tells me I just might be here a long time….
I spent three weeks away from home.
I did my best to dip into the world of academics I was