mad in pursuit memoir notebook
DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of yesterday and forever
Married Drifter, 2
[cont'd from here] Second take. Reading those letters makes me want to scream, "Wasn't there anything you really wanted to do? Did you ever decide on a goal for yourself and work to achieve it? Were you always just standing by, longing for something beyond your reach but clueless how to make anything happen?"
11.3.72 [a newlywed, just moved to Rochester] Monday I have to start job hunting aside from the financial assets I'm sure I'd get terribly lonely with Paul as my only social sphere. I'm going to try to get a job teaching Spanish a the local Catholic women's college. I've got 1 chance in a thousand but what the hell I'd love a cushy college position.
11.19.72 [after complaining about the looks I got from Paul before he'd be cheerfully off to work every morning] For a while there I was determined to make the leap into the world of letters and spend my days thinking up ideas for magazine articles. I finally sent off a query letter and outline for an article While waiting for another brilliant idea to pop into my head I decided to write a short story for the True Confession genre I applied for a job at Planned Parenthood and told them I'd done birth control counseling The university doesn't have a nutrition program and I just can't see myself getting a master's in anything as hairy as biochemistry.
12.3.72 This last week I put a little steam on in my job search my one good possibility is with the NYS Division for Youth If worse comes to worst I'll go to the Ed. College and get an MA in guidance and counseling (bleh). Right now I'm pinning my hopes on the Public Health program at the university Women's Day rejected my outline. Those bastards. I should have sent it right off to another magazine but it's still sitting on my dresser in the stamped self-addressed envelope But one sleepless night I did start that confession story.
I took some special ed courses to hedge my bets, but got into the public health program instead. It swept me along for a while but after the first semester
1.1.74 This degree will presumably open a lot of possible avenues most of them leading to niches in some bureaucracy or other And I've found some alarming weak spots in myself like, I hate field research. I dislike asking people questions I feel are none of my business. I guess I haven't found the right questions yet which will lead to constructive answers.
And in a couple of months:
3.25.74 I'm fantasizing too trying to think of something I'd like to do either temporarily or permanently which would be exciting, stimulating, adventuresome, and worthwhile. Not much in sight. Something in the political arena might do except that I've become so dreadfully misanthropic I wish I could talk to people more easily
I applied for a summer
school practicum a migrant health project
It fits perfectly into my program
and pays well.
I applied for a summer school practicum a migrant health project It fits perfectly into my program and pays well.
7.6.74 Anyway, my original game plan was to go to Troy for a 2-week in-service training session for the practicum. Well, I dropped out. I can hardly believe I was so blatant about quitting 1 week before the thing was supposed to start Well, the Public Health Service came through with a large stipend for me for the masters program and I no longer needed the $ so badly. So I quit.
Then I must have had an opportunity to go out to the research center at Kaiser-Permanente in Portland, Oregon:
4.22.75 Regarding my original plan of going to St. Louis - Portland - Madison: the Portland thing is off. They wanted me to do too much preparatory shit and I just don't have the time or energy.
School was interesting and my school mates were fun. I was very focused on doing all my homework and getting all my papers written but I still had no strategy.
6.1.75 [I'd just graduated.] My mind is going in about 25 different directions without focusing on anything and every day I get a belly ache Paul is trying to be encouraging but winds up prodding a little too much. I've been talking about trying my hand at freelance health journalism but maybe I'd be happier with a plain old job. I think I'll talk about it to some people encouragement and a patron of sorts (and, at best some legitimation) would go a long way in helping me garner my determination and discipline. Paul is no help at all he can't stand the insecurity of it and rolls his eyeballs whenever I bring it up. (I can feel my stomach ache coming on again!)
In the end, I drifted into a low-paying job right within my graduate department at the university.
What was my problem me or the marriage I was so contented with?
I was more goal-driven in high school where I was crazy in love with Spanish language and literature and the idea of becoming a "cosmopolitan." I was determined not only to go to college (despite my parents' indifference) but to get the hell out of town for it. And by God, I did it.
After college I drifted miserably for about 7 months, then took charge of my life, got a job in Florida and abandoned cold Chicago and every friend I had. Enough. Go.
But then I fell in love and began drifting not a pleasant exploratory raft trip down a wide lazy river, but an anxious one full of stomach aches and indecision and canceled plans. I worked really hard in school. The education finally did launch me on an interesting career. But books and papers they've always been a safe harbor for me. It was also acceptable to my husband. Doing homework always excused me from having to do one of his planned activities. After I graduated when my school friends had all left town and he informed me that now it was "his turn" I was pushed back into troubled waters. It took me so long to find a better route.
This is all meaningful, I suppose, because today I'm feeling rudderless, wondering if I'd have the guts to take charge of my life again.