Little over a week later and I have no regrets about leaving whatsoever. I can’t even say I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye to the students, except for the handful that I actually connected with this year, and even then I can barely manage a half-hearted shrug of resignation. I’m still stiff-arming almost anything that asks me to care, which is why I went on a random anti-Toms rant the other day. (Sorry, Ting.)
After a few days of initial shock, my self-analysis drive kicked back on, spurred again by the work of Susan Howatch (The High Flyer this time…is this woman stalking me with a time machine?!) I had to ask myself one critical question: When and how did I become convinced that I have to be a martyr?
I concluded, once again, that I have inherited some fairly flawed theology as well as an extra helping of willfulness, which explodes upon contact with my similarly superfluous share of approval-seeking. It went something like this:
Chinese Culture: Doctor, lawyer, engineer, scientist!
Me: No……English major. Musical theater. Pottery class. Fashion magazines.
Immigrant Puritan Worldview: Self-fulfillment = sin. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Be like Martha and also feel guilty for not being like Mary because Bible says Mary is better.
Me: Oh, okay. “A good teacher is like a candle, consuming itself to light the way for others.” Well, then, moth to flame. QED.
Well, I’ve finally come to realize that self-immolation is not only unpleasant but not particularly healthy. And so I’m going to give myself permission to be just a little bit selfish when it comes to figuring out what the next step is.
On a less dark and twisty note, I’m trying to decide whether to break out the photoblog part of this little piece of digital real estate. That will probably depend on how a certain conversation goes on Thursday, so maybe I’ll just hold off until then. Not to get too excited (even though too is the operative word of my life) but there may be some much more fulfilling opportunities on the horizon for us: