I never had big plans for my future. I had vague ideas of “it would be nice” but no real sense of what it would look like. I didn’t envision my perfect wedding or my perfect groom. Occasionally, I envisioned children (bright and lovely smartasses with varied interests). I was a little sad to realize I would never have those children, but I never wanted to be pregnant anyway, so that was easier than expected.
I was completely relieved when I discovered (about seven years ago) that my lack of dating wasn’t just due to unrealistic expectations of others or something being wrong with me. After a decade of having students, distant relatives, and occasional friends question my sexuality, I discovered the term demi-sexual. What a revelation! The reason I can’t point to anyone I’ve felt sexually attracted to is because I haven’t had anyone stay single and in my orbit long enough for me to trust them to that degree. Trust is vital to my sexual experience (or lack of). It was awesome to realize that there’s nothing wrong with how I see the world or interact with people. I still have friends who think I should just go have sex; they usually can’t grasp the concept that not everyone has instant sexual attraction.
I’d love to have a snuggle buddy, to have someone to travel with, to have a companion that might get sexual at some point. Despite occasional bouts of loneliness, I’m fine being single. I can and do go to the movies on my own if no one is around or interested. I go out to eat all the time by myself. In fact, I’m the chick who will open a full bottle of champagne, have Brie with half an apple and half a baguette, all by myself in public. When things go wrong in my life, there’s a solid chance that the fault is due to my poor decision-making. When things go right in my life, there’s a chance it’s due to the rare completion of A Plan.
I didn’t love my childhood or my teen years. I was scared all the time; people were awful and untrustworthy, youth group was full of hypocrites who already had a closed clique, and my few friends weren’t always sure I was worth putting up with considering how annoying I was. I loved college. Working food service forced me to expand my horizons and pop out of my comfort zones. I didn’t love my first five years of teaching—they were trials by firebog.
I learned from my childhood about the power of stories. I learned in my teen years that not everyone is as scary as I thought. I learned in college how to pretend I was outgoing. I learned in my first teaching job a whole bunch about what not to do.
In my twenties I finished college, changed locations, wrote terrible fanfic, read and read and read (serious book debt). In my twenties I ate my pain and bought things to fill the holes in my life. In my thirties I fixed some of those problems, but I didn’t push myself too hard, because I was busy coming to terms with the person I turned out to be. I was busy figuring out how to make the best out of some difficult work expereinces so my students weren’t poisoned by my anger and frustration. I also spent some quality time making my own wiggle room so I could teach the way I wanted for the best results with my students.
In my forties, I got the itch for tattoos and I have read a metric ton of questionable fanfic. I still read voraciously, but lately sleep has stolen that time. Sleep is a beautiful thing (in moderation). I spend time with the same friends I’ve had for eighteen years and I spend time with new friends. Most of my social group is related to teaching or education. Most of us get each other in ways those outside of education choose not to.
We vent, we don’t complain.
We help each other figure out how to do better.
We understand that this is a passion for us, not just a job.
We exchange ideas all the time.
We try to navigate all the reforms coming through the world and figure out how to pull something out that will actually help our students.
We embrace the lawyers. We are thrilled by the musicians. We love the home cooks. We appreciate the Brew and Pub crowds.
We try to be there for each other.
We try to be there for ourselves.
The Fear never went away and I’m constantly creating or adjusting my Big Plans. I have pills for the migraines (a solid thirty years and counting). I have pills for The Fear.
I even have a little motivation.
I’m still not sure about this adulting thing.