I don’t write enough just to write for me these days. I shouldn’t be here writing right now. I should be hard at the books. I have the equivalent of 21 credit hours and I’m not so young anymore. It’s not like I take mindless, easy classes either. No, I study with my passions so it’s not easy to separate school from my spiritual path.
I have a 4.33 GPA. And I’m determined to stay in the 4.0+ range. I’d like to be able to qualify for an academic scholarship seeing as the athletic thing just didn’t pan out. Academic scholarships are competitive. But right now I’m paying my own tuition and I know I’ve wracked up way too many credits over the course of my college career to qualify for grants. I refuse to take out loans.
This paying my own tuition thing is why I’ve got six classes and one of them is a double-time, half-term arrangement. There’s a tuition break where 18 credits is the same price as 15. I can do the math there. That’s several thousand dollars. I’m a single-mom and child support tends to be a bit random in arriving. I can bust my ass off on my grades and try to make school pay or I can try the juggle a job and classes and kids thing. Oh yeah, I’m five days from my belly-button birthday so I’m feeling a tad on the old side for this undergrad life.
I really need to be here writing more. While the single-minded focus on learning has it’s place this is where I digest life, where I remember that I don’t write for fun. I write because I have to write. I write because it’s how God sewed up me. I write because I need to be constantly humbled by my own tinyness and inadequacy. I can’t do this writing my soul on the internet business from a place of arrogance and pride. Actually, I can’t do anything well from a place of arrogance. A long time ago in another life before I had children who crumbled my ego I had pride in my work and myself and took it all so very seriously and even looked up to arrogant people as role models. Hahaha.
But here’s the kicker. I’m a good student. I know the academic game. I make professors pleased and proud. And they give me feedback about how marvelous I am and how they wish my peers paid attention like I do. It feels good to be appreciated, to be noticed. I like it. I feed on it. Being a geek is good in this environment. The rest of me and my life has gone largely unnoticed and unappreciated. Academics is the one area I can win.
Remember I just said I spent my teens looking up to arrogant and self-centered people? Well, they’re all miserable and lonely now. I know what happens to people who live that way. I know what that “I owe it to my Self” mindset brings to people and to the people who love them. I was the person who loved them. I am the person who loves them. It’s really easy to find being the teacher’s pet going to my head. I could become that arrogant asshole know-it-all who’s only out to server her Self and turns human beings into disposable commodities.
I don’t want to be that. All I need to do is to think of a miserable night I had last year. I’d gone for dinner with some drinking family members. It was tense and miserable and I came home and a friend was messaging me. I had a terrible headache and wanted to talk rather than try to squint at the screen of my phone. So I just called and explained my tension and frustration and tried to find some scraps of humor in my situation. And he screamed at me, “I AM A VERY EMPATHETIC PERSON and I don’t have the energy to talk!”
That’s not empathy. That’s not humility. That’s selfishness and ego and arrogance in their purest forms. He wanted to message me as long as it was about him and his fantasies of fucking me and his goals and dreams and desires. He knew I hurt. And by empathy he meant that he didn’t want to know I hurt. The second it was ever about me as a whole human being he’d lose it and, somehow, never even manage to be aware of what he did. Pride is like that, it defends itself so ridiculously we live in delusions.
I got one correction today. And my reflex was to fight it. Because my pride has gotten wrapped up in the going to school thing. Because I want permission to be an arrogant shit who knows it all and never gets it wrong. Because it hurt to be corrected. Because I want to to right, damn it all.
I haven’t had my but-I’m-right reflex rear it’s head like that for a long time. I’ve always been more interested in learning than in knowing. I’ve had more than one humbling in the pig-sty experience. But today it got me. I didn’t act on it. Most of the time I am aware enough not to act on hurt feelings. I suppose the difference is how painfully aware of it I was. Injured pride feels like fire.
There’s not much pride left in me. Maybe that’s the kicker. I lost pride in my self long ago. But I was still proud of my work. Hahaha. God hates the arrogant. It is impossible to serve God and Self. And I was trying to serve myself. Who am I getting educated for? I want to be a professor, I think. I want to help light-bulbs turn. I want to spread a love of learning and share the joy of understanding. I want teach and help and coach. I want to show that history is not dead, that geography is not static, that literature is revolutionary. I want to show kids that faith and science are not at odds. I want to be able to live my values.
Humility. Humility is a value. Can I maintain humility and my slot on the honor roll? Maybe. I got my little warning. But I’d better start making more time to pray and meditate and write and stay grounded. Down here in the dirt of real life and misspelled words. Here, where I belong. Where kids puke on me and the dishes get done and God works.