Typically, I have a difficult time taking credit for things I've done. Well, strike that. If it was something bad, I take all sorts of credit, with much moping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, as if the hand of God is poised to strike, cobra-style, and smite me. Of course, so wrought with guilt am I, that complete smiting seems out of the question. Probably a partial smite, I fear, which will leave me horribly scarred and handicapped for life.
But back to the point (oh yes, I do actually have one). When I have something to be proud of? Some giddy piece of news? I keep it to myself. Hide it away, not wanting to brag, not wanting to draw attention to myself, to be seen as someone that ... what? Actually knows that she deserves praise, just like any other human being on the planet? Not really sure what that is about, and not willing to spend countless hours and endless dollars chasing the truth, I've decided to take a moment to babble childishly about a few things worth noting.
First, the easy one: I've lost 15 pounds in about a month, by some hardcore dedication to sticking with my current cutting plan. 10 more pounds and I'll be ready to go a little ballistic in the gym, and I'm about two months ahead of schedule on my long term goal. Sticking with something and seeing the results is a great feeling, especially when this is such a "no room for error" plan I'm on, and considering that it's TAKS craziness season, when the chocolate flows through the school corridors like a river after a long rain.
Now, the not so easy. Maybe it's because these aren't carved in stone, so there is no true accomplishment to speak of, unless you count the courage it took to take this step. I fret over telling people about my hopes, in case they don't become realities. I like to keep my disappointments to myself, thank you very much. However, I have just submitted two applications about which I am spinning between rambunctiously happy and nauseatingly anxious. And, whatever comes of the decision to try, I am at least proud of making that choice.
If I am lucky, I will be one of the few educators at the North Star National Writing Project Summer Invitational this summer, where I will spend each day (each! day!) during the month of June learning about writing and literacy and how to improve my own writing as well as that of my students. (A WHOLE MONTH WRITING WITH OTHER WRITERS! Erm, okay. Sorry. It's just -- c'mon, how can I not want to do cartwheels about this possibility??) Sadly, I discovered this opportunity a full month after the application deadline, but after reading my sad, dejected emails, the director allowed me to submit an application and followed up by asking me to submit answers to about 10 interview questions. They weren't difficult questions -- my only fear is I responded a little too enthusiastically, but trying to dim my excitement when being asked about writing in my classroom was a bit like trying to snuff out the sun. So ... now I wait. I'm so hopelessly in love with the idea of spending a month being back on campus at UNT, learning and working on one of my favorite things, that I alter between obsessing about the possibility and lamenting about that damned deadline I missed.
Of course, when I make a leap, I figure better make it good! So why stop there? Why not go all out and apply for grad school at the same time? Yes, ladies and gentleman, that's exactly what I've done. My application is in, my letters of recommendation are being penned and sent on their way, and my statement of purpose, after days of serious scrutiny, is complete. If all goes well, I'll be back in classes by the fall, working towards a degree in curriculum and instruction that focuses on writing. Luckily, my advisor swears to me that my GRE score won't play much of a part in my enrollment, and I'm scheduled to take that beast of a test in June.
It feels good to have so much possibility right at my doorstep, and I'm eager to set off in this new direction. I've kept this news to myself, only my amazingly patient husband has had to listen to me drone on (and on, and on) as I list all the reasons these decisions are so perfect for me. Part of me wants to hold it all in to myself, a warm hug that I don't have to share with anyone. Another piece of me wants to yell to anyone that will listen, "Look what I am doing! Look how much fun I will have!" But, I wait. I suppose partially because if I don't get in, or if something happens and I'm not accepted into my grad program, I don't want the sad, "So sorry it didn't work out" look from friends and coworkers. And I don't want to hear the normal, "Are you sure you're not doing too much?" questions I tend to have tossed my way, because, really, when am I not doing too much?
I love to be busy, to be wrapped up in new projects, to be pushing through difficult goals. I thrive on challenges and tend to find myself a little lost and gloomy when I don't have something new to work on. So. Here is to doing too much. To cups overflowing with the business of life. To living. And, I suppose, to having the courage to say, "I am here, my pursuits are worthwhile, and today, I am proud of my accomplishments."