Imposter Located

If I’m so smart, then why is making friends so hard?

If I’m so smart, then why haven’t I been able to get a job since Grad School?

If I’m so smart, then why do I feel like a failure so often?

I did everything right. It was all so easy before I became an adult. The lines were all laid out and everything was perfectly presented with instructions.

1. Get good grades so you can go to college. Check. All I had to do was give the teacher what they wanted, even if it was boring or I knew it was stupid I did it anyway…most of the time. I wasn’t one of those gifted kids who had a hard time in school and I wasn’t one of the ones who got straight A’s either (because that only invited bullies and I was already strange enough). I knew just how much I needed to participate in order to keep the adults happy…practically drowning in societal expectations of what a good girl should be.

2. Choose a good college. Check. I chose a State school. The school nearest to me with the best stats instead of applying for the ivy leagues…honestly I was afraid that if I ended up getting accepted by some freak chance then everyone there would realize that I was a total poser and not nearly smart enough, so I didn’t even try. I specifically chose only one school. I had no back up because I knew there was no chance that I wouldn’t get in. I didn’t get excited or happy when I got my acceptance letter, I knew it was coming. My test scores were well above the average for the school, I was in the top 10% of my class, I was a double minority… the odds were in my favor.

3. Graduate with a good GPA. Check. Yeah, sure I officially changed my major 7 times in my first two years, but my overall GPA was still above average…no where near my best but good enough for what I thought were still mostly easy classes. The classes were so easy that I probably should have had higher grades but I didn’t because the social stuff was hard on me, really hard on me. I still hadn’t figured out how to “apply” myself, even if that had been on every single report card since kindergarten!

4. Go to Graduate school. Check. Okay, maybe this is where I messed up. I will admit that I did not study for my GRE’s. I was in the middle of a really bad break up and rebound and had completely forgotten about the test until my computer alarm went off the night before. My scores were decent… right around average and for my frame of mind, fairly good. My parents were really worried about my mental health and current boyfriend/fiancĂ© (they refused to call him that) so they coerced me into staying with them in Japan under military orders for a few months. I went, we broke up and in order to stay on the island I needed to be a full time student… long story short, within a week I was enrolled and accepted into a graduate degree program that was offered on base as a military extension (full time professors were brought on island and everything). This extension challenged me more than any other set of coursework had. I got to know my professors and I challenged them with my thoughts (which were, for the first time,  welcomed) and the exchange of ideas that were held with current military officers, who brought in professional points of view, were tantalizing. I looked forward to every single class and assignment.

5. Get your first real job. Check. Full time grad program and a full time Middle school teacher. It was a very busy year and I loved every minute of it. Those 7th and 8th graders challenged me to think more than any professor ever had. This was when I knew for sure that I would always want to teach. I was challenged with teaching Social Studies, Bible and English at an International Christian School to a mixture of nationalities, starting two weeks after school had started and with curricula that I had used in middle school myself (ancient!)… and I thrived off of the challenge.

Then I got married and had kids. I was happy, excited, and completely ready for everything life would through at me!

Then it all stopped. All of a sudden social stuff was being thrown at me, not work challenges or school deadlines. Things like making new friends as an adult and deployments. I kept trying to find my way back. Every application was denied, either for employment or studies. Every single door slammed in my face. Making friends became harder but I started finding other misfits along the way. Which is fine and good but what about my goals and dreams. 

I still didn’t really fit in with the other wives, I couldn’t find a job and the schools rejected me when they heard that I had children. Apparently, “you can’t really balance four children and this kind of program.” Yes, in this day and age I was actually told this by two professors at two leading universities, to my face: both meant it kindly, …I’m sure. Here I was, too well educated to get a job and watching people I knew with less education getting hired on the spot while I was told that I was over qualified. 

I’m over qualified for an Internship or entry level position, but don’t have enough experience for a higher level job. I am qualified for an adjunct but competing against people who were more qualified, so not really qualified. In order to fix that dilema I apply for grad school, only to be told I have too many children …and now I can’t even get an online tutoring job. I suppose I could always create my own business but that’s not my point.

For eight years I have been rejected for every single application I’ve turned in.

I don’t know if this is a commentary on being gifted or just being a woman with children, who chose to stay home for the early years. I don’t know if all these doors slam in my face because my “calling” (please imagine those are full on air quotes because if there was a sarcasm font available it would be used here!) is to “just” be a stay at home and homeschooling mom. I know these are hard jobs, I love them both, but I really thought I could do more…isn’t that what we tell our daughters? “You can do anything!” Can I, really? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

I don’t know why I go through this, but I do know that every single rejection feels like a stake through the heart. With every hit it’s as if I’m being told that I am not smart enough, social enough or just plain good enough. Like they’ve finally found me out and kicked me out of the group. After years of hiding among the smart kids, the smart police have caught up with me and the imposter has been found.

The last rejection was harder than the others, I had a gut feeling it wouldn’t work out but at the same time I was perfectly qualified for it so I just sat there and cried.

If I’m so smart, then why?

I know things happen for a reason. I know doors shut and windows open, I know its all about timing and I’m still young… blah, blah, blah… maybe my expectations were just set too high. 

Why do we tell kids that life is like a formula? Life is not an If, Then statement… I don’t live in an Excel sheet or the Matrix. There is no logic out here and to my logical mind If I did A, B, and C then D should occur. Well D didn’t occur, R did and I had not planned for it. R is wonderful. It’s a crazy beautiful life filled with random everyday blessings (ok that made me laugh!) but it is not what I had planned and right now I’m mourning the loss of D. I’ll be ok tomorrow and heck, I may even rise with an idea or two of my own… maybe even think of myself as witty or maybe not.

 So, while the sirens scream and the search for the located imposter continues I will just sit here in my very own pity party, analyzing all the why’s possible because that’s what I do and that is how I cope with disappointment. Just in case your looking too,you’ll find me with a book or a pencil and if you need more help…

Here I’ll even hold up a sign.Imposter Located

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When Plans Fail

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Remember this photo? Yep, that’s the hallway from my bedroom to the kids rooms. It has every toy we could find in any of the three rooms stacked about two feet high… Ok fine I’ll be honest, thrown about two feet high.

I have struggled for years (since my oldest was born) with my OCD nature and the sheer amount of messes children…even newborns… Create. What is it about these little creatures that causes such chaos?

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Everything gets destroyed, including my plans.

As I lay in bed this morning I created my mental to do list:
– wash the dishes
– get started on the laundry
– organize the toys
– give the kids a bath (this a morning event for us, mom n dad are way to exhausted to handle this at night)
– go to the library
– go to the lake
– fold the laundry (not even put it away, just get it folded)

So that was my idea for the day, I didn’t even plan any “school” because I figured that was enough to fill our day, and going to the library and lake really ends up being enough school for a day.

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Well it’s quiet time (230 pm) and we went to the library and the lake. Oh and baby girl got a bath. That pile of laundry has been staring at me for almost two weeks. The three oldest were told at 0830 over breakfast of the days events. They were told to take quick showers and get dressed. I then took my shower and bathed the little one…we were bathed and dressed by 0945…the three oldest were naked playing in their rooms. Showers were canceled and I told them to get dressed. 1015 rolls around (breakfast has been cleared from the table, diaper changed, kitchen wiped down but dishes are still in the sink) two kids have on clothes but no socks or shoes and the third is in panties running around like a chicken…seriously, she was clucking. By 1030, with mom standing right there, all three were dressed and searching for coats. We left the house at 1055.

This doesn’t happen every morning but it happens more often than I would like to admit. We have all gotten better about time management when we have a time limit, but if it’s just a whatever kind of thing, like the library, then this always happens!

Anyway, we finally get underway and find to our great surprise four huge Turkey Vultures eating something in the field around the corner from our house! I should have taken pictures but we were to busy analyzing the situation (and watching for cars as we blocked the road).

Who knows if we would have been able to view such an amazing sight had we left any earlier! It was wonderful and fascinating! The kids spent the rest of the ride asking questions about birds, scavengers, predator/prey relationships and about the anatomy of vultures! We have spent hours bird watching and in nature but to see a scavenger that they had only seen on Wild Kratts only five feet away and interacting with other scavengers was a great start to our day!

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The Library was even better! The girls met another homeschooled little girl (in first grade) and played for a full hour while G and I found every book he thought we could use this week as we learn about birds and pirates (he felt that we should break up winter animals into bird and mammals because they probably act differently during winter).

Jo and Ana had so much fun playing that they actually asked twice to stay longer! It’s such a rare treat for them to get real play time in with a girl their own age so it was fantastic. As the kids said their goodbyes, I decided we would do something totally different from our norm.

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Picnic Lunch at the Diary Farm! We had never been here before, and it is not a working dairy farm anymore but there were parking spaces, playful horses and cows in the distance to watch as we ate our lunch.

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G decided we needed to know all about the latest Captain Underpants book he had read so he divulged the parts he found hilarious between mouthfuls of hot dog.

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Jo moved from one side of the car to the next giving her stuffed kitty a nice view.

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All while the youngest two are to their hearts content!

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We headed towards the lake and found a gaggle of geese! The were everywhere, and the kids loved exploring the lake while looking for signs of spring. According to little G it must be coming soon because there are so many more birds out than usual!

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By this time it was almost 1400 and mommy was exhausted, even though the littles were ready to explore some more, so we headed home. After a beautiful bluejay, four young white tailed deer and countless scurrying squirrels, the children and I were shocked when one of the vultures was still in the corner eating!

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Mesmerized, we sat there watching this vulture eat what was left of a squirrel! We were three feet away from him and we were able to see some amazing details. No cars came our way for almost 15 minutes as we parked in the middle of the road to watch nature take it’s course. It was better than any movie and even little Ellie was ecstatic!

So here I am exhausted, with half of my to do list unchecked… Yet completely comfortable with how our day has progressed. Sometimes, life has plans of its own and you can choose to embrace the ride or complain and miss out! I’m so glad that for once I embraced the chaos today and experienced the unadulterated joy of just choosing to be content!