This morning I was at a giving up stage, so I wrote this email to nobody.
Honestly, I am not a good fit for my job as a Subject Matter Expert. After a year, I still do not know enough about ESL or e-learning experience to do the job well. I asked my supervisor and she concurred. As a result, now I am basically an editor and copy-paster.
The difficult part is coming to work every day feeling a bit worthless, which is one of the reasons I left teaching, to be honest. So in the age of non-transparency (seems to be a buzz-word these days) I am revealing myself at a weak moment, which is not an easy thing to do.
As far as I can see, I have three options:
- Stick it out here while I am making money, and work hard to establish myself as a writer. Based on all of the reading I have done about becoming a freelance writer, the advice is to write for content mills or anyone who will hire me, and then establish clients. I actually have found steady work reviewing children’s books for a guy I found on Upwork (a site more refined than Craig’s list as it is geared toward freelancers). I like the work and he likes my reviews. I also have another possible client. I have taken a brief, not very helpful travel writing class so that I can write for a blog called Pink Pangea. I am also trying to establish myself on sites (that don’t pay) to build my resume. Slowly, I am building my writing portfolio on WordPress and have found someone to help me with that.
- Run away to a far-off land with my 5,000 dollars and see what happens
- Come home, work at DD and regroup there.
I have just answered my question. (this marks the end of my e-mail to nobody)
In the making
While this email was in the making, a friend sent me a link to a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert.
“I’m not going to quit, I’m going home. And you have to understand that for me, going home did not mean returning to my family’s farm. For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.”
Searching for home
I have been searching for home for a long time, which is probably why the words of Homer and Sandra Cisneros swirl around my head like a broken record. But two writers, C.P. Cavafy and Elizabeth Gilbert have helped me to understand what home is. My search for home has been one of yearning. I thought I was yearning for family, friends, a wood stove, a screech from the owl in the woods, love. But home is a destination. It is where we want to go in our hearts, and when we find it, we feel rich and full, no matter where it is or what state it is in. As you set out for Ithaka, says Cavafy, hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery.
Ithaka BY C. P. CAVAFY TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
September 17, 2016 at 1:56 am
What a wonderful set of paradoxes. Why would you feel worthless as a teacher? From what I know, you were outstanding, you had impact, your students loved you, you challenged them and they rose to it. You made a difference. Perhaps unfulfilled is the word? All that, and your bucket was not filled. All that work and you look inside, and not enough there. We can be excellent at what we do, and yet not feel fulfilled. And we can be fulfilled sometimes by the smallest or simplest of things. And we can be fulfilled by accomplishing the thing that is most difficult for us, most outside of our obvious talents. And yet, this is what fills our bucket.
Going home. What a wonderful metaphor for going to that place where we feel full, fulfilled, enriched, enlivened. Safe but open and ready for more. Home in our heart, is our heart.
And we can be right where we seem to belong, only to discover that it is the wrong fit. We neither do well nor derive any substantive satisfaction. Our heart sinks,. We are as far from home as we could possibly be. I have been there too, had the wisdom to acknowledge it, and the support to move on, move forward.
Your journey Home is so fascinating, so full of courage and honesty, so full of life being lived. The farther you go, the closer you get to home. Living in the paradox.