A very smart and creative person has an account on Instagram that I follow called Ambivalently Yours, @ambivalentlyyours. Anonymously this person explores the notion of ambivalence through various means including drawings, writing, video, notes left in public spaces, social media and something called “sound sketches”. She posted something yesterday that kind of gobsmacked me (to borrow a phrase from all my English friends) and that was the relationship of anxiety and laziness. Laziness is a way of hiding and keeping yourself safe. Wow…there it was.
After initial feelings of jubilation and excitement as I handed in my resignation and started to think about “What Now?” I began to have diffuse anxiety greet me each day and as the final day of my contract ended in August I could barely move. I did the minimum I needed to do to keep it all going but always in PJ’s early and being a couch potato including eating pints of a new ice cream that tells you that you can eat the whole pint because it’s way fewer calories than regular ice cream. Uninspired, stale and tired I started to force myself not to be anxious trying meditation and aerobic exercise. As the new semester was about to begin it only intensified. I really could not fathom the real source of my anxiety.
As late August came and went and the new semester began, I felt myself become unbearably sad and found myself thinking about getting yet another degree and going back to school. This time in something fun like performance studies. Finally, today when I saw that Instagram post it has all become clear. I have spent 48 of my 66 years of life in school. By school, I mean officially enrolled in an institution and its probably closer to 50 years if I count all the continuing education courses I have taken. I had a structure for learning new things that I am afraid I can’t replicate in my new reinvention. This, in fact, was the source of my anxiety. I am afraid to lose the other half of who I have been these past five years.
This realization also allows me to feel great sadness about not being a teacher anymore and having a classroom filled with new students. I miss designing a new syllabus (unlike others mine was always re-imagined every new semester and I would be goofily excited about it.) I miss thinking about how to do something really unexpected in the first class to grab the students right away. I miss seeing who they are and hearing their stories. I just absolutely loved being a professor when it came to teaching (nothing else I do have to confess).
Today with these epiphanies, I feel so less burdened and I comfort myself with the understanding that I can still be a professor though my classroom may now be a virtual one. And perhaps without acknowledging it, I have been a teacher in this world. I can still design a syllabus because at the end of the day it’s, “an outline of subjects in a course of study”. So I can turn my “What Now” into one and even better I can share it. So stay tuned as I take one small step towards my dream of having a magazine and starting next week I will be launching a newsletter called The Syllabus. You’ll see the return of my fashion bibliography in addition to other learning and growing opportunities I discover along the way. I will share interesting ideas, events, photos I have taken, visuals I like and of course always clothes that help us tell our stories. I will be looking for some “Guest Lecturers”, yourselves included my brilliant friends, so feel free to pitch me some ideas. And yes I am moving forward with the book proposal. If you are just joining and are not subscribed please do so, so you can be on the list for the newsletter.
So for the short term at least this is a “What Now” that leaves me happy and excited and filled with so much energy I accomplished a whole army of things today, including finally getting back in touch with you.