i suppose things have changed for me over the past few months. for all intents and purposes, not six months ago, i was on the tenure-track job path, looking to be a professor and a book writer and a scholar and all of those things.  from the outside, especially to those that didn’t know me well, perhaps they thought that was my ultimate dream.

it really was what i had been working on for ages.

if you look at what i’m choosing now, i suppose it may seem like i am giving up on that dream, like i am sacrificing it for more traditional choices of marriage and family since i’m choosing to find a job that will support my family rather than choosing to continue to pursue the tenure track job market.

i’m trying to play devil’s advocate here because i had an experience yesterday that i’m not sure i’m interpreting correctly, except that i have known this person a while and experienced the sociopolitical attitudes that color this person’s world.

i haven’t seen this person since i got engaged, haven’t really expressed my change in plans. i’ve had some experience in explaining what i’m planning to do–it is a question most people ask–but this time, when i was explaining that i was happy to get any teaching job and that the bff would be in school for a while and that we’d be staying here until he was finished, i saw something happen in this person’s eyes.

judgment.

i’m not sure how to deal with that, really. i do not apologize for my choices, nor am i trying to incite a debate about what women can or cannot do. i know what i want, what i believe, and i know that the bff and i will navigate life with very similar goals for our family. but i guess i don’t understand why anyone would judge me for those choices.

i’ve encountered this all up and down the academic world. somehow, you are less smart, less brilliant, somehow a tragic sacrifice to antiquated values if you choose to focus on family rather than yourself.  since when did being unselfish, even a little bit, in the choices you make for your family become a bad thing?

i do not walk around judging women who pursue their dreams.  it’s not my place. i grew up the daughter of a single mother who worked every day of her life for everything that she got. i have spent many years seeking the most education that i can. women are just as capable as men in pursuing and working for what they want. i am the beneficiary of the opportunities that are now open to women.

i guess i just wish that i would receive the same respect for my choices.

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One Response to “”

  1. This girl sure does!! I have an incredible amount of respect, admiration and JOY concerning the choices you’ve made and the life that they will lead to. As for those that don’t “get” it, be sad for them. They are so busy being wrapped up in themselves that they have not been able to experience the feeling that comes from sacrificing self for the betterment of the whole. It’s sad, but in the University system, it happens a lot. Everyone’s so buy worrying about themselves and THEIR problems that they forget to look around them and, oh, HAVE A LIFE. Congratulations to you for your strength, courage, and ability to say “yes” to a future that includes more than just yourself. Twice as many people make it twice as fulfilling.

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