This weekend involved far less beating nerds with sticks than planned.
It also involved me making a pretty huge decision: I’m going to change careers. Yes, Again.
It’s going to take some time and a lot of work, and some serious (permanent) trade-offs and (temporary) sacrifices; but after some initial foot stomping and little miss no-no behavior (what. Change makes me four years old) at dinner with Tomthulhu and Tim, and an email with Felicity, my mind is pretty firmly made. As Tomthulhu returns to school for his degree in History with the goal of eventually being certified to teach, I’m going to be looking at my options to join him as a teacher, though likely of different subjects and in different kinds of schools. My heart lives in classrooms. I need to be honest with myself about that, even if it feels like Starting Over Oh My God I Need to Call Amanda.
First, though, I have to purchase a car. My Saab sh*t the bed in the middle of the turnpike this weekend on the way to LARP, and I’ve had to do a lot of adulting in the meantime. As of this afternoon, I’m approved for a small loan through my credit union — someone remind me to do a bank vs. credit union adulthood life lesson post at some point! and have a few appointments tonight in Cecil County and the surrounding region to look at some used cars. I’m nervous, because I’m always a little uncertain when it comes to big financial choices. Tomthulhu said he’d go with me so that I can feel a little braver. Adam has sent me his ‘driving stick: a primer’ email (it has been straight up years since I’ve touched a clutch), and I’m as ready as I’m going to be, I think. Whatever. I am a reasonably intelligent and coordinated cookie. I got this? Probs.
There are things about transitioning to be a teacher that feel risky. I know I will be bone tired, a lot of the time. I energy dump in a big way when I am in educator mode, and I’m probably going to have to really invest in making time to recharge. I will almost certainly take an initial pay-cut. That’s pretty scary, given that I have a hard time making ends meet a lot of months. A second or summer job will probably need to be a reality for both Tomthulhu and I for a while. Given that we have a goal of owning a home in Philadelphia (and converting a floor of it to an apartment for rental income — I will get to learn about PLUMBING and ELECTRICAL WIRES look out, world) within the next five years or so, getting better at
hiding money from ourselves savings is a pretty big priority (though, thank heavens for the GI Bill).
I will also have to give up burlesque performance entirely and permanently.
It’s a shame, sort of. I’m good at it. But honestly, even before my relationship with G and the rest of my troupe was over? My interest was flagging. Some of it was exhaustion. I was developing up to 3 new acts every three weeks, because other troupe members were stagnating or floundering, or just, failing to meet deadlines and goals they set for themselves. That included costumes, make-up, wigs, choreography, obsessing about choreography, rehearsals, trouble-shooting, and promoting. On top of all that, I’m pretty f*cking disillusioned with the preachy-preachy “creating a consent positive culture with burlesque” baloney they all spew, because hey look whose picture is still up on that website, despite six weeks of written attempts to have it removed. You know, like I revoked consent about my body, or something. I could go on (and on, and on) about hypocrisy and disappointment, but you know, why.
As theater season approached, my goals were changing. I was bored. The troupe was going nowhere I wanted to be (a whole season of sexualizing children’s programming and media — um hooray?), and doing the bare minimum to keep the show afloat and interesting. It became clear to me that there was a divide between my values (expression, passion, development, challenge) and the values of my fellows (attention, titillation, partner-seeking, acceptance/validation). Their reasons for doing burlesque were fine reasons — they just weren’t my reasons. Around my birthday, I was already considering leaving. As things went further and further south, my heart kept telling me “You should go.” I kept not listening.
I want to make my body do challenging things. I want it to be sore. I want to do handstands and pull-ups, I want to do seriously challenging, seriously beautiful pole work. I want to make some significant changes to my strength, flexibility, and quality of movement. These are things that I can master on my own (hopefully by next year, in our home). Teaching is performance (among other things), and I know I will get what I get from performing — good, and difficult — from my work in the classroom. Making my body do awesome things can transition from being a public activity to a private passion. Instead of dance being a drain on my energy, it can generate it. The money I once spent on costumes could be spent on ballet workshops, if I wanted. Or you know, groceries. So, while I’m sad to leave burlesque behind, I think I will be replacing it with things that make my life better overall.
Things like: Sharing my passion for books; encouraging kids to invest themselves in communicating clearly, mindfully, and well; being a cheerleader and advocate for people who need those things; helping parents learn to better support their kids as they are, rather than as they wish them to be; closing the achievement gap; and a lot of other things, some frustrating, that go along with being an educator.
For now, one thing at a time, though. I have a workday to get through, and a car to maybe buy and master driving. I have a Monster to hug and kiss, and some Ikea shelves to assemble. I have nails to paint and some emails to write, and some research to do. We eat a whale one bite at a time. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.