Well, I haven’t quite picked up anchor physically and moved back to the US. But it becomes more and more apparent that is my truly desired course of action, much as I love the city of Paris.
The still small voice has spoken in large and small ways.
The day I was honestly feeling the most well adjusted I had an unexpected shock. A blog post for a professional women’s site I had written about my experiences working in France as an expat was seen by one of my coworkers who thought it could be misinterpreted. A coworker who was mentioned (not by name, but as a helpful person giving advice) told me to take it down, and thanks for putting his job at risk too. As it turned out, it couldn’t be deleted but it was edited down to a shadow of its former self, with all references to work more or less taken out. I had felt safe about what I initially put out there since my career coach had edited it, and some of my friends actually shared the post because they enjoyed it, but I just spoke to a close friend who told me she had intended to say something to me about it because it could be grounds for dismissal- she’s becoming a lawyer and thought it made the company look bad.
Well, I’m lucky that my coworker said something to me about it.
But two things seem to have happened here:
1) In some symbolic way, I have been forced to reign in my authentic voice as a result of my current employment- that being said, I may have had even worse consequencs for something like that in the US and it’s not good to put out anything that could potentially reflect poorly on ones employer
2) clearly my intentions weren’t bad but my subconscious opinions shone through all the same. I may live in denial or try to downplay how bad I think things are, but that’s not really the truth of how I feel.
and bonus 3) extra grateful because it could have been worse but super ashamed of myself for making that kind of mistake. Although to be honest, I’m ashamed of pretty much any mistake that I make so I”m not sure where this “it’s ok to make mistakes” ethos of discovery plays in.
So yeah, the next day I actually had a coaching session with someone who wrote a book about innovation and disruption and she basically affirmed the things I was thinking all along and urged me to find a way to follow my oriignal passions somewhere in the context of a business setting.
All in all, a productive week I’d say.
“I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.”
― Andrea Gibson
So what and who am I becoming?
Another interesting wrinkle is that I’ve been dreaming of love, marriage, and pregnancy- can’t really see myself as a mother but since a friend who I’d confided these feelings to asked me, “Is it maternal instinct or is it something else?” It got me thinking.
I know all the feminists in the room are seeing not quite red, but some less than happy shade, tapping their toes, and asking, “Did he really say that? How does she even hang out with this guy?”
But o, the joys of his compassionate conservative company. There I said it.
What is so offensive about the idea of a maternal instinct? Doesn’t it make sense of how I am so outgoing and gregarious and nurturing when given someone younger under my care? Even if it’s just a friend asking for advance? Doesn’t it sort of explain why I was so happy as a teacher, and why I felt a certain amount of fulfillment doing that which hasn’t been matched anywhere else?
I’ve always known that since I was bright and ambitious, I would have a career and was told that marriage and children would come along but wouldn’t be the highlight or the main goal of my life. I took almost for granted that I could “have it all,” as long as I was willing to be exhausted pretty much, and give up a lot of child rearing tasks.
I also always had in my mind that I would step back and get another degree or something when I had children, somehow dial back in my career.
Who knows what I’ll do? I am also told to just go with the flow, and stick it out, but when I look back in my life, all my leaps have been well rewarded. I’ve attained a ton of growth in a very short time.
I also thought of tasks like teaching as simple social reproduction, rather than making a change or doing something original. Now I see that there is real potential for social change in the younger generation just as much if not more than anywhere else.
A predominantly male Congress might make seismic changes of policy, but when it comes down to it they all had mothers and nearly all have wives. And will those changes really last?
These days I’m thinking that changing the world is most true and most rewarding on a person to person basis.
I feel like I change more by changing minds and hearts through my writing and personal experience than I would feel like if I had to compromise my integrity and join a political party. It also seems I need to watch my tongue more than a bit while working for a company. especially a large one.
And when it comes down to it, can a career- even one that lets you see all the wonders of the world in luxury, brings you fame and fortune and success and interesting people, puts you in control and gives you freedom beyond your wildest dreams- really be fulfilling in and of itself?
My body and my heart say no.
Almost as soon as I got here, I started looking at the little ones I see in the street with great interest and feeling curiosity and near envy when seeing baby bumps.
Now I don’t think that I’m looking for any of that just yet- but I think if I had the irght person, a person I would want to do those things with, that would be satisfying.
Not to mention that a right relationship is an opportunity to nurture and be nurtured. I wouldn’t want to “mother” my man, but I would want to take good care of him, and be well taken care of with all my needs in turn.
And I’d be glad for someon to see me as a wife as well as a lover and sex goddess and badass, and mayb someday the mother of their children. That is something I definitely want.
So I’m learning a lot these days.
I want to go home, to America.
Despite all the frustrations and missteps, I feel like I am doing fairly well on my job. I know I am a capable worker.
I’m not sure what God has in store for me, but I know that I really need to have faith in the journey, and faith in the discovery process.
There may not be a “perfect” solution out there, but I’m sure that there is a place for me where I’ll want to stay, where I’m really valued and appreciated and where I really enjoy contributing.
Even if it’s not where I expected and doesn’t fit in the box of my former hopes and dreams.
Letting go and letting God, and continuing to work hard and put my whole heart, body, soul, and mind into the process.