Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Wanderer

Twice in the last couple of days I’ve tried to explain my game plan to people. Admittedly, it is roundabout. Most of the time when I undertake career movement I tend to implement the scattershot method as opposed to the trained marksman’s shoot to kill approach. That’s not a great analogy, I agree. Suffice it to say, I tend to throw lots of ideas and plans into the universe, and usually one of them sticks. Fortunately or unfortunately, I married a man who tends to do the same thing, though with a little more caution.

So, my game plan is basically this: I want to write and teach people to write. And, frankly, I want to teach the folks that might not have the opportunity otherwise. I am not totally clear how this is going to happen, but the more I throw that out into the ether, the more I find that opportunities are creeping my way. Creeping is the key word. I’d prefer opportunities to be rushing at me at light speed at this point, but I’ll settle for creeping.

So, when this unsuspecting neighbor/acquaintence-type person asked me what my game plan was, I rattled off the MFA programs I’m applying to, the job I applied for at the local restaurant, the various community teaching jobs I’m working on, and the possibility of doing some TA work at a local college. For good measure I mentioned that my husband was interested in going back to school as well, to study art. He looked at me like I was speaking gibberish.

“So you might move?”

“Well, maybe.” And I was off again, spouting more possible contingencies to the plans. He nodded as if to say, “oh, of course, it’s all clear to me now,” but it obviously wasn’t. He made a comment about how “you Beahans always have something cooked up.” I’m pretty sure that wasn’t meant to be a compliment.

After a couple of these, I was feeling pretty disheartened, actually.  I mean, finances are tight, and there is a part of me that just wants to go get a job selling cars or answering phones or something so that I can freakin’ afford to buy flowers for my flower beds and buy a new pair of running shoes and oh, maybe take a little weekend trip somewhere, as opposed to being concerned about how to pay to doctor bill or buy the groceries.  So, I find myself precariously balanced on the precipice of something new…and trying desperately to hold on just a little longer. And that one rather confused look, that complete befuddlement–it made me feel about two inches tall.

And then I woke up this morning and realized that if I sold cars for a living, or answered telephones I’d be more miserable than ever. And that I have something really awesome to offer the world, and frankly, just because the path isn’t a straight line doesn’t mean it’s a bad path.

I’ve always battled this feeling that maybe people think I’m flighty. Someone I loved once called me that, and I’ve never quite gotten over it. I constantly worry that my roundabout path, all those irons roasting away in that fire, that somehow my impulse to try ALL OF IT will somehow be interpreted as irresponsibility or flightiness. But I can’t change who I am, nor can I change the way I operate. And I don’t want to. And so I fight the flightiness.

I am willing to bear the “irresponsible” label for bailing on my parking tickets, or forgetting to renew my drivers license. But I will fight every day not to be labeled irresponsible because I pursue what I love, especially knowing that my intention is to make the world a better place for somebody. And that I’ll try all kinds of ways to get there, because, dammit, I’m nothing if not resourceful.

Not all who wander are lost…and sometimes the straight line path, well, it’s just boring.

I will not hate

I am about to spend two hours with a group of cancer patients, talking about how writing can heal, how we own the words we put on paper, how empowering they can be.

I’m seeing the other side of that coin.
I do not wish to take away the closure that so many victims and families of those lost in 9/11 feel. I do not wish to negate the hard work our service members have seen in the last ten years, or their need or desire to find satisfaction in a job well done.

I do not think Osama bin Laden should have lived. He was an evil, evil man.

I will not spend the days or weeks following this event celebrating it. I refuse to be the kind of person that rejoices in anyone’s death, no matter how evil.

I don’t give a shit who wrote the MLK quote, or what it means that it was all over social media.

I’m not going to debate whether or not Pres. Obama had any hand in this, or whether he should “take credit” for killing bin Laden. To date, I’m pretty sure PUSA hasn’t claimed to actually pulling any triggers.

The whole event, from the public’s reaction, to the criticism of those who chose to be focused on peace and love, to the ridiculous mass assumption that suddenly all terrorism will disappear because “we showed them,” has been such a disturbing and unsettling event. I am not a crier, but all of this makes me want to cry. I am dismayed. I am disappointed. I am saddened. I kinda want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.

I would like to spend my time thinking about how I can make the world better, and in my view that means putting forth positivity.

I will not spend the next hours, days, weeks reveling in my hatred for bin Laden or Al Qaeda.

I will not allow this to charge me politically one way or another. I will try not to judge those who do.

I am going to steel myself, and try to help others find the positive ways they can use their voices, for good.

And I’m taking a social media vacation, because I don’t need that kind of negativity in my world.