This year’s resolution: write more.
When I left my university job in 2014, I gave up what I had thought of as my career. After a few visiting stints, I’d get a tenure track job, I’d work, do my research, be happy- except for that I was not. There was no tenure track job on the horizon, and the thought of starting out somewhere, and leaving the friends and connection you’ve made hurt me. The visiting position I had paid well, but moving cross country every couple of years depleted my finances. I was also burnt out- burnt out from teaching a high course load and doing my research at the same time, while keeping my lingering Crohn’s flare at bay. So we decided to move to Portland. I had left academia, but fallen quite softly, compared to others- I taught once a week at the German immersion school, and I started working as an academic editor, a job that I love. Still, I fell into a depression once we arrived. For the past ten years, my life had been structured by the academic calendar, and of course the doom of the job market. Every day, I had interacted with students, colleagues and administration. Now I was working from home, potty training a new puppy that I had talked my husband into. She’s pretty cool, but doesn’t really have an opinion on German Lit or Feminist Theory.
As much as I loved (and love) teaching kids, working for TPII, I felt like a failure. Just as I was getting my feet back on the ground, re-invented myself, my body began to fail, with the emergency surgery at the end of January 2015.
In the five months of recovery, I didn’t really want to think about how everything that happened fit into my life. Sometimes I even thought, with all the physical pain that you’re having, at least you don’t have to think about how you messed up your career. Now looking back, I am weaving everything that happened together. One of my teachers told me that there is a red thread in all our lives. I believe that the red thread in my life is writing. I may not be the best at it (according to my anonymous reviewers), but I do it. Whether it is my blog, an academic article, writing is how I connect to the world. Even in my teaching, my strength has been teaching students to write.
So intentions for 2016: write it out. That means you’ll hear from me more often. I also picked up a lecturing gig at University of Portland, something I am excited about. As for IBD, I will keep attending my support group. I hope to get more guest posts up here too, because IBD is a disease of many faces and stories. So let’s get this show on the road!