On my mind this week:
A whole lot of pent-up external processing, from the pensive, the random, to the mundane.
1) For some reason, unbeknownst to me (isn't that a wonderful word: unbeknownst? It's like a little piece of Middle English slipped right into things), on Sunday night I watched the Oscars. I honestly have no idea why. I guess: it was on. I hadn't seen any of the movies up for the awards except for Les Miserables, which I personally thoroughly enjoyed, but apparently nobody else did--or, at least, the people who believe they know about such things did not enjoy or appreciate. In addition to the mistake of watching the Oscars I made the mistake, thinking it would be amusing, of following the twitterfeed of the Oscars.
Such. A. Bad. Idea.
In the first place, I don't really like Twitter at all. But, silly me, I was following the Twitter feed via Slate.com, who complied both the professional and amateur comedians' commentary on the Oscars. As a result, I came to the conclusion that generally, people are quite cruel. And that everybody hates Anne Hathaway.
When I moved to Africa almost six years ago, Anne Hathaway was still the Princess of Genovia (and, to be honest, she always will be, to me.) So I like The Princess Diaries. Get over it.
Apparently, over the past six years, her name has become for Hollywood critics, synonymous with pond scum and worse. Those Twitter critics did not give her a break: they picked apart every single aspect of poor Anne last night, from her opening words after winning Best Supporting Actress to her admittedly-cheesy closing words, to her dress (which I did not like very much either), her hair, her face, her voice, her smile, etc, etc, etc. I think The Onion's satirical article (pardon the language) captures the reasons behind the Hathaway-Hate the best: it's probably sheer jealousy. I know I sound like I'm this huge fan of Hathaway--I'm not, really, because I can't say I'm a huge fan of any particular movie star, but I do think we should treat people decently no matter who they are, and that if someone wins an incredible accolade, give them their credit that is due. Perhaps there were more deserving actresses? I do not know, because I haven't seen those films (I do suspect Sally Fields was probably the most deserving because folks: she's Sally Fields). I do know that Hathaway did an excellent job (in my apparently incredibly bourgeois and uneducated opinion) in Les Miserables, and if she gets an award for doing so, well done, Anne.
So, in conclusion: the Oscars are dumb. And so is Twitter.
2) Last Saturday marked two months for me of being back in the USA. I don't really have much to show for it. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't really know what I want.
Just that: I don't really know what I want--for a job, for a future, for anything. Okay--I need to back up. I guess I do know what I want, in about five years (masters degree, teaching job overseas)--but it's the in-between that I'm not so sure of. I had thought that I would get a basic sort of office job and do that for a year or so before grad school. [Side note: Because, I don't even know what I want to study in grad school yet. I am just an indecisive bundle of nerves.] This doesn't seem to be happening. I admit that going two months with no one wanting to hire you is frustrating, depressing, and a pretty severe kick at one's self-esteem. I know, I know--it's only two months. But, I just thought I'd have more luck. It's the length of a summer--and at the end of summer, I'm always ready to get back to work.
It's hard because I'm used to succeeding. There: I said it. I'm used to excelling at what I do. So, to not even be given a chance to prove that I'd be good at something? It's a hard hit to the ego. I shouldn't take it personally--but I do.
Also, I am the worst for getting an idea into my head, getting really excited and 'gung-ho' about it, but then losing steam after just a couple of days or weeks, or with the first obstacle that presents itself. I do not doubt that God led me back to live in America, nor I do not doubt that I needed to leave DA: I just don't know what I'm doing here.
I think I want to try to find a teaching job for the fall. But I don't know if I really do. See, that was my big idea a couple of weeks ago. I learned that I can easily transfer my teaching certificate from New York to Maryland. I got excited about the possibilities. I started getting all the paperwork together. I even turned down an interview because I didn't want to be hired under false pretenses.
I was so excited--but after turning down that interview, I began to doubt my new found vision. Do I really want to get back into the classroom? Do I really want that life again? I haven't even had a chance to try life without teaching. And, am I CRAZY for turning down a job interview?
Never listen to your inner voice. No matter what the movies say, following your heart is just about the worse thing you can do. Your "heart" doesn't not have your best interests, well, at heart. Your heart is stupid.
I think that maybe, God wants me to return to teaching, even if I'm not sure what I want. I am not saying that God is calling me to something I don't want to do: I'm a teacher to the core. But, I haven't reconciled my inner-floundering with God's solid hold on my life. Does that make sense? I think the amount of work that I have to do to land a teaching job (even if I am looking for a job at a Christian school rather than a public school) floored me and let out too much of my steam. I don't want to be self-steam-driven: I want to be God-driven. I'm having a really hard time believing Jeremiah 29:11, despite all the evidence to the contrary. It's ridiculous how we can allow our own doubt and self-loathing to fly in the face of reason. God has provided so well for me, and is continuing to provide, yet I sit and stew and worry and fuss and feel depressed and anxious.
So, I guess I am writing this to ask you to pray with me for some clarity and direction from God, and not from myself. I'm not sure if the teaching direction is the right direction. I just don't know. If it is, I pray that God opens the right doors to me and makes my way clear. If it isn't, I need to get a job offer/opportunity that will trump teaching, at least for a little while.
Basically, confusion reigns in my brain at the moment. Which is why I really just need the steady hand of Christ to calm my nerves and sooth my worries and lead me in His paths of righteousness.
Whew--that was an awful lot of external processing. Good grief. Let's go elsewhere after traveling the murky pathways of Danielle's confused mind and heart.
3) Finally, after two months, I have found some good places to go running outdoors. Despite my less-than-svelte appearance, I actually try to run (well--jog) pretty regularly. My faithfulness to running goes up and down, but I've done pretty well the past year of keeping to a routine. When I left Senegal, I was running about five miles a day (with a long run once a week), and feeling rather proud of myself. I'm terrible at sports, but running (well, jogging) is something even I can do. When I moved back to Baltimore in December, I was good about joining a gym, but oh, how I hate the treadmill. I have to admit, that the treadmill and I did not get along well from the beginning because I was quite discouraged from the start: my first three weeks back in the States, I got a terrible cold and was out of exercise-commission because I couldn't breath (oxygen being vital to one's success as an exerciser). So, when I got on the treadmill after about three weeks, I knew I wasn't going to run five miles--but enough time had passed, and there was still too much gunk in my lungs--that I could barely run two miles. Not only that, but I psyched myself out by watching the numbers on the treadmill--it's weird, but knowing my progress made it so much harder to run the distance. So, I've had a rocky relationship with the gym, and I haven't really done a great job of getting there regularly. Mostly, I just wanted to be able to "go for a run" without all the rigmarole of driving to the gym.
We are living in Baltimore City, and while our neighborhood is safe, it's not really conducive to running. I finally realized there was a park about a mile away that looked like it might work for running--and it's safe and clean. When my dad and I explored this park the other day, we realized that it connected to Gywnns Falls Trail, a greenway/bike trail that goes through part of the city. We tackled part of that Sunday, and it was a delightful brisk four mile walk. There has been no crime on the trail since in opened fifteen years ago, which seemed like a good sign, and if I run there alone, I have a handheld canister of mace to provide some protection.
All of this rambling is to say: yay! It's possible to go for a safe jog in Baltimore. I'm going to continue living in this neighborhood because my parents are buying a house here, and I will live in their house, so I want to feel at home in this area, and having a safe, good place to jog really helps.
4) Finding a church is really hard. That is all I'm going to say about that for the moment. Any advice in church hunting? I know what I'm looking for, but I haven't found it yet, I don't think. I really wish it was possible to visit more than one church a week, but it's not (unless you want to awkwardly crash Wednesday night Bible study, or something). I wish it was possible to visit a church without feeling like the new kid in the class that no one wants to sit next to. I went to one church recently, and no one sat in my row until they absolutely had to (as in, the rest of the church was full). I honestly felt like Pig Pen or something, and was wondering if I had little stink lines coming off of me that everybody else could see. No, not stink lines: Visitor lines. Good grief, to quote Charlie Brown.
5) And last but not least: Psych fans! Tomorrow is the day! Woo-hoo! How are you planning to celebrate?
Until the next Tuesday's musings.