So I decided that it’s time to go back to school, and I’ve been going through the process of applying to grad schools. It’s really taking me back to my high school days, when getting into college was the focus of my life and caused loads of exciting stress and pressure. If you’re interested in feeling like a teenager again, this is what you need to do:
1. Start looking at a bunch of schools and do lots and lots of research on them. Read about their degree plans and send away for information until you’re buried in paper and blind.
2. Fill out applications. These days this can be done online, so that’s pretty awesome. Although they all seem to want different things so make sure you have every scrap of information about yourself and your past that exists.
3. Write essays. I’m not even in school yet, but I’ve gotten to write lots of them. One school required 3 all on its own!
4. Get people to be references for you. Is this awkward for other people or is it just me?
5. Stress over how you’re going to pay for school. At 37, my parents really aren’t a viable option.
6. Speaking of parents, prepare for the judgment and disappointment over your life choices. Wait… that may be just me again.
7. Wait to be accepted.
I feel younger already.
Something has been grating on my nerves lately, nagging at my brain, and I can’t quite figure out why.
I live in a pretty affluent suburb, a very conservative community, that’s populated mostly by families. Weekends for most people consist of children’s activities, leisure and recreation, church and short getaways. It’s an idyllic place to live.
If you fit in.
First off, I have to say that I have lots of amazing friends. I’m very involved in my church, which is here in my neighborhood, so I’ve definitely found my place! But as my children are getting older and growing into who they are, I’ve started to notice things.
I’m someone who stands out. My hair is currently a plum color (it’s been much more dramatic!) and I make a lot of bold clothing choices. I love shoes and fun jewelry and hair accessories, so it’s not unusual for me to get a comment or look regarding my appearance.
I have 2 daughters, 13 and 10. They’re both beautiful. My husband and I have heard for years that our older daughter should pursue a modeling career, and our younger daughter is like a little china doll. They’re also 2 of the most unique kids I’ve ever known.
Morgan, the 13-year-old, is bright and artistic and currently has purple hair and an obsession with alternative rock. She’s also on the autism spectrum with an anxiety disorder, so her manner doesn’t always come across as friendly and social. Her clothes sometimes match, but often don’t, she usually has ear buds in and may or may not respond if you speak to her. We’re working on that.
Mackenzie, the 10-year-old, is happy and creative and has her own world going on in her head. She may start talking to you midway through a conversation she’s having in her own mind and you’ll be completely lost. I’ve learned to just go with it. She loves to wear dresses but hates to brush her hair or wear nice shoes. It’s an interesting look.
All of this to say that we make a somewhat odd looking little family in our mostly white, Republican (I won’t even go there), wealthy, suburban community.
This isn’t new, and it’s never really bothered me. But a couple of weeks ago we were leaving church, and I happened to turn and see someone looking my daughter up and down with an expression of disgust on her face. Like, “How could you come here looking like THAT?”
Since that incident I guess I’ve just been more aware. We’re really concerned with how we appear, aren’t we? And how our children appear?
I could force my kids into what I wanted them to wear, so that we could look like everyone else. My parents did it, and I hated it. But it could be done. I just don’t see the point.
I realize that this is my problem, not anyone else’s. It’s bothering me for some reason, and whatever that reason is, it doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else. I guess I just need to figure it out and deal with it.
By the way, my husband looks completely normal. He’s the one who sticks out in this house 😉
The last few months have been hard.
I could go into all of the reasons why but really, who wants to listen to, much less read about, my various complaints? (Friends, you have no choice.)
This past weekend though, I went on a spiritual retreat.
I wasn’t actually attending the retreat, I was working or rather, serving, on the retreat. Preparations had been taking place for the last couple of months. As a musician, I’d been practicing tons of songs and getting things organized and fine tuned, fortunately for me alongside a friend. I’d also been asked to deliver one of the talks, so I wrote, rehearsed, edited, and re rehearsed for this as well.
I work on this retreat every year and I love it, so I’m really not trying to complain. But with other stress factors in my life at this time, I was struggling to enjoy my service.