Some weeks are shitty and this one has not ended yet. When I went to sleep last Monday night (a Monday that was supposed to be my one and only, much coveted personal day, but was instead wasted with a cancelled appointment and the flu), Quinn crawled in next to me, threw up on me, and then said, “Momma? I am sorry that I puked on your arm. And your hair. And your pillow,” and I said that it was fine and whatever and just sleep and he chatted for another forty minutes about how bodies must make throw up.
I have made several calls to doctors this week … A dermatologist for Lizzie, and orthodontist for Lizzie, the pediatrician for Quinn (an urgent after hours call once I googled the words “giant white poop” and fretted that his liver might be exploding). Today I called my own doctor because, well, because of this:
Last night, for the first time since July, I went to get my haircut and colored by my lovely Sarah. My hair was supposed to look like this one Pinterest shot of Felicity and even though Sarah did all the right things, my head started to burn and feel funny and then turned out completely red, which is fine, but unexpected, and also minor compared to what happened next. Sarah brushed out my wet hair and gasped a little bit. Apparently, the left side of my hair stopped growing in July. In fact, the left side has about half the amount of hair as the right. It was three inches shorter on one side.
This is concerning on several levels. First of all, what? Do I have a brain tumor or skin cancer? Is my thyroid all messed up again? Am I nuclear? Second of all, how does a person not notice this? How do I live with five other people, none of whom mentioned that I am lopsided?
My doctor’s nurse returned my call and did not have any answers. She did, however, scold me for not leaving my full last two names on her answering machine.
So here I am, Friday eve, sitting in bed with my red, lopsided hair, freshly bathed and feeling dejected.
It was kind of a crappy day at work because anytime I go to all day meetings about grading policies, I end up feeling deflated and sad instead of invigorated, mostly because of Luke and because I have watched first hand how tragic the wrong teaching can be and unless that has happened to somebody you truly love, then you have no idea what I mean. You might get it in your head, but not your heart strings… So, well, I get emotional about it all and I end up feeling like William Wallace, ready for battle, except that today three colleagues in a row dismissed my ideas as irrelevant because I “only teach an elective” and it took everything in me to not to say something snotty.
At lunch I went to a coffee shop, drew for an hour (met the deadline) and on my way back to work saw a sign that read, “Don’t take everything so seriously,” which should have just made me laugh and shrug, buy instead, pissed me off further.
I am trying to let it all go, but there is a walnut sized lump in my soul urging me to scream and shout and explain myself. Cue the Avett Brothers (“I’ve got something to say, but it’s all vanity”).
So before I can actually sleep, I just need to say this. Elliot Eisner said that the arts are one of the many ways in which we remake ourselves. They are not trivial. Creating is one of the most important things that any human can do. I am teaching because I am good at teaching. I would be good at teaching English or math or gym or how to pepper a steak. I am teaching because I am heavily invested in helping students create a life for themselves and to realize that they matter. I don’t teach art because it’s easy. And know what else, all of you who think that your teaching job is so much harder than mine is? Harder is not better.
So yes, vanity, I know. But consider that it’s coming from somebody who hasn’t looked in a mirror long enough to realize that half of herself is missing. Maybe my hair turned red to remind me to “be the spark that lights the candle.” A firecracker.