Posts From January 2017

Hello, 2017

It's here, finally. 2017. The year we've been waiting for since, oh, January 2016.
Or so it felt like. I thought about writing a 'farewell to 2016' post but ultimately I couldn't bear it. Not that I don't think it demands reflection and unpacking (emotionally, intellectually, artistically, etc)--it's just that I think understanding it will be a very long process.
And it's not that it was a horrible year, personally. It was challenging in many ways—professionally, mentally, physically, emotionally—but there were good things, too. I traveled, watched friends get married, spent time with loved ones and pushed myself in many ways.
But I want 2017 to be different. To be better, to be fully realized.
And given all the unknowns on the horizon it will have to be. It will be hard and it will be challenging and it might even be a little bit surreal. OK, probably very surreal. Sometimes it might feel as though 2016 never really went away—that the sentient raging dumpster fire of a calendar year that threatened to devour us all still rages beneath the surface of everything. And maybe that's a good thing (no, really), because I don't know about you but I need to keep a fire lit under my ass—not just in 2017, but for the next four years and probably (definitely) longer.
With that in mind I decided to break from my usual 'no resolutions' resolution and, well, write down some resolutions.
In 2017, I resolve to, in no particular order
1. Resist
2. Host more dinner parties
3. Finish my book
4. Go see more art, listen to more live shows and attend more readings
5. Smash the patriarchy
6. Practice self care (exercise, yoga, sleeping in)
7. Travel cross-country via Amtrak
8. Buy the good lipstick
9. Give fewer fucks (Goal: Zero)
10. Be kind

Back to school and other lessons in change

True story: In seventh grade I got horribly lost on my way to class on the second day of fifth period science.

I mean, how embarrassing, right? It's one thing to get lost on your first day, especially on a new campus. But on your second day? GIRL, you already went to that class—how can you not remember where it is?

Oh, but I did get lost and I couldn't remember where the room was for the life of me.

Instead, I circled the hallways like a stupid mouse stuck in an endless maze of lockers, motivational posters and gleaming industrial tile.

I could have asked someone for help, of course, but the longer I walked and the more unfamiliar everything looked the more terrified of everything I became. At some point, about halfway through this fruitless journey, I ended up in a bathroom stall crying and waiting out the bell.

Somehow I found my way to class the next day—I honestly have no recollection of how I made that happen because by that point I was too mortified to tell anyone what had happened. Fortunately, the instructor didn't ask me for an absence excuse and the class even ended up being one of my favorites, but that hour I spent searching, circling, hiding and crying is forever burned into my memory.

I had a long, painful flashback to that moment this week as I searched, fruitlessly, for my class. Only this time I was the teacher, not the student.

This time I had asked for help—a nice woman at an information desk—but now as I clutched the map she'd marked up for me and stared at the names of buildings I felt that long-ago kernel of mortifying fear in the pit of my stomach. I couldn't find the class, I was going to be late; I'd end up hiding in a bathroom stall, crying.

Last week I started a new job as a full-time journalism professor at American River College. And, simply put, it proved to be one of the most challenging weeks of my life in recent years. As it turns out essentially changing careers is not easy.

Well, kind of changing careers anyway. I'm still a journalist but, now, instead of working in a professional newsroom I'll be on a college campus working with students on the college newspaper, teaching classes and, hopefully, getting to know the lay of the land both literally and figuratively.

It all happened pretty fast. I had my first job interview in December and the second one just over two weeks ago. I received the job offer the next day. Long story short(ish), I had only 10 days to give notice at my job and prepare for classes.

The whole thing has been exciting but, also, terrifying. Change can be terrifying even it's something you want. This is something I've wanted for a long time. I've been teaching part-time since 2008 and have long thought about making it a full-time occupation. Having goals turn into reality is a little scary (OK, really scary) but I think I'm ready for the challenge. I love being in the classroom—though I will admit the actual reality of teaching a full load has caught me a bit off guard. Note to self: Time to consider shopping for cute old lady orthopedic shoes. I'm sorry, lower back—we're in this together.

I'm still at SN&R in the interim, helping with the transition as they look for a new editor. Truth be told, I'm having somewhat of a difficult time, emotionally anyway, taking leave of the place where I've worked for nearly the last eight years. I had a bit of a gentle shock when I came in one afternoon after class to work and catch up with the rest of the newsroom only to realize they'd planned for a writers meeting without me.

Oh, OK, that's cool I guess.

Is this like empty nest syndrome only I'm the bird leaving the tree, feeling unmoored even as they continue on at home without me?

And what a time to be a journalist, what a time to leave the newsroom.

But what's that about 'you can take the girl out of the newsroom, but ..." Yeah, that. I'll still be contributing to SN&R in some capacity. It has been part of my life in one way or another since I was in college. It's family to me, which means I'll happily remain co-dependent for as long as they'll have me. Whatever happens, the staff is whip smart as hell and doing an ace job. I have nothing but confidence that they'll continue to put out a kickass paper that will serve the community well in these fucked-up, troubling times.

In the meantime I'll be trying to find my way around a new campus, madly prepping for classes so the students don't think I'm a moron, popping ibuprofen for my back and, eventually I hope, figuring out a magic 15-minute window during which I might actually be able to scarf down something more than an energy bar.

By the way, I did find that class eventually—on time even. It was located in a building that was named something entirely different than what was on the map. Details, details.

No hiding, no tears—I'll consider it a victory for me and my seventh grade self.