Saturday, April 04, 2009

Erin Dust

Last Sunday, Todd got back from Florida, where he’ll start getting his Poli-Sci PhD next year. I’ll miss him. I hope I like my new roomie as much. Anyway, we celebrated his academic victory at La Herradura (The Horseshoe?), where we had tacos and daiquiris the size of our heads. Mine was peach, and it was breathtaking.

I had a busy, run-around workweek. I exercised every day, which is a nice accomplishment. On Thursday, I had some therapy because I’ve been depressed this semester. My therapist says I’m hard on myself, and I need to let go of other people’s expectations. I was trying to explain that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Then, she asked why I left my job in New York. As I was talking to her about teaching and the problems with the system, her face lit up, and she went on a tangent about what a great administrator or education policy wonk I’d make.

“Okay, this is what I’m talking about. This is the problem. It’s easy to say that I should ignore the expectations of others, but people just expect things from me…even you.”

She apologized for getting carried away. She says with all my accomplishments and such, I “sprinkle [my] Erin dust all over the place.” Hee! Like I’m Tinkerbelle or something. Well, now that she’s been caught up in Erin-based expectations, she knows what I’m up against. I like her, and I've found our sessions helpful. Sometimes it's just nice to talk to an impartial person.

Friday was the best day I've had in a while. After work, my office-mate Jacqueline invited me over to her house to have lunch, play with her kitty and help her clean out her closet. Free shopping, hooray!

I played with her pretty cat. I tried on the clothes she was giving away and helped her cull a little more. Then we baked cookies using Mom’s cakemix cookie recipe and had supper.

We rushed off to an MFA reading. Graduating students present their work, and this week it was Christian, Andrea and Paula. Their writing was so impressive. Andrea and Christian are in my workshop, so I was already aware of their awesomeness.

Christian’s poems are sharp and modern, and incorporate thoughts and concepts seamlessly. Andrea is a master of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and kayaking, with natural themes prevalent throughout. Paula is the stereotypical Southern woman writer: sweet manners, but a tongue so sharp it could split diamonds.

I felt a twinge of jealousy at their talent and accomplishment, but that jealousy was overwhelmed by my pride in their accomplishment, and my happiness for them.

After the reading, they threw a party. Most of the MFAers were there. They are all such fun, fascinating people to talk to. At the party, I ended up singing karaoke with the program director Sheri Reynolds (her book The Rapture of Canaan was an Oprah book pick). We sang Pink’s “Get This Party Started,” which is not really in my range, but I was game.

I had a lot of entertaining conversations and even got to play with Sheri’s standard poodle Rumi. It’s amazing that Scooter (my parents’ mini poodle) and Rumi are the same animal, as one could knock me flat, and the other would fit in my purse. Not that I’d put Scooter in my purse. Scootie thinks she’s a sheepdog, so being relegated to bag-dog status is an indignity she wouldn’t suffer lightly.

It was good to be out, having fun with my peers, and served as an important reminder: this will all be drawing to a close before I know it. I need to make the most of it while I can!

The school counselor is right:I probably should put less pressure on myself, and I need to let go of other people's expectations. Grandma Carmie gave me a card at Christmas reminding me that the judge I need to satisfy is the woman in the mirror. The thing is, as the Spiderman franchise tells us, "With great power comes great responsibility." I'm not saying I have Spiderman-level power, of course, but I believe we all have unique gifts for a reason and we need to use them to the best of our ability. Well, that's the operative phrase: the best of my ability. I guess the key is to be realistic about what my level of ability is. Time for me to go sprinkle some "Erin dust" around. You go sprinkle your magic elixirs, too.

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