I hate coming up with titles. Blah.

So I was driving along by myself today, enjoying our most awesome Christmas gift (a 13-disc collection of 80s songs our friend Mike made for us. 150 songs! Huzzah!) when REM’s “It’s the End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” came on. I promptly started doing my car dancing shoulder-roll move, complete with rhythmic fist shaking – the one that gets me openly mocked by people known and unknown. (I’m a thumb away from being Elaine Bennis if that gives you a visual.) And it’s been a fair amount of time since I’ve been able to really listen to it with no interruptions, so I was surprised when I found myself becoming competitive (with whom I have no idea) in singing the words properly. I must have started the thing over a half-dozen times in an effort to master it. No one cares if I know the words. But it’s always been such a point of pride for me.

This captaincy of dorkdom began in 3rd grade when I won a tongue-twister contest against Mark Birkinshaw (he of S+ for SUPER satisfactory gradecard prowess) and my teacher gave me a ribbon to wear. For a whole day I was the shit in that class, and I was certain I was the smartest person who ever lived. In truth it was that I can enunciate pretty quickly, but nonetheless it was my first scholastic success.

[It was a short reign: I nosedived soon thereafter in 4th grade when I got a D in math for long division. Too bad they couldn’t still use the “Needs Improvement” like the lower grades. So much more ambiguous and forgiving, that one is.]

And unfortunately that pattern started early with me. I simply didn’t care about getting good grades in school (thanks to besting smarty Mark Birkinshaw, surely), but I knew I was supposed to. So when I was voted Book Worm in junior high I figured that was a good enough niche. I settled into that identity and developed a really horrible trait of never attempting anything I didn’t know for certain I’d succeed at. If it involved words I was money. And if it involved math I was never going to get anyway, so I didn’t study. Basically I never taught myself to work hard. And because I never found any self-fulfilling reason to do well in school (i.e., try), my grades got worse and worse the higher the level. I barely wriggled a degree from college, and I still have dreams where someone informs me we have a final in a class I’ve never once attended. Seriously. It sucks, because the feeling of panic is still sharp somehow, probably because it wasn’t too far off from the truth.

And I mention all this because I’ve had a niggling reminder in the back of my brain that I need to get the Bradley academic work done. It’s been a month and I haven’t even started. I bet in total it would take maybe 7 or 8 hours to do – but I just can’t seem to make myself do it. And that’s dumb because I know the material. I love the topic. I chose to do it because I’m passionate about it. I mean, hell, I mentioned how my type-A woke up during the conference and I finally discovered the joy of being the teacher’s pet! Imagine if I could have taken my ribbon in 3rd grade and created a goal to win everything from there on out! I don’t know if I would be in a different place now, but I bet I’d have less regret (and less school loans. Damn.). So what’s been my problem? My behemoth notebook just sits there and mocks me, and I know I can’t teach until I get it done.


And then it dawned on me today that I think I’ve been subconsciously avoiding it because I’m scared I won’t really be able to be a successful teacher. Like the old pattern is slyly coming back and I hadn’t realized it since it had been so long since I’ve really had to try at something. If you had told me six years ago I’d want to do this I’d tell you you were crazy, so it’s when I stop and really think about it that I get nervous (or I guess if my subconscious thinks about it). I’ve never been lazy with anything else concerning this passion, so I really can see fear of failure being the reason. (Is it odd that I speak of the subconscious parts of myself as if they are another person I don’t understand? Did I just put myself out there by saying that?)

Anyway, that’s the point to this long winded, train-of-thought ramble. That I had this quasi-epiphany while singing a song with lots of fast words. I am being lazy because I’m scared and that’s crizap because I know I can do this. The end.

So I think I’m going to challenge my inner 3rd grade self to a tongue-twister battle. Here’s the song if you wanna join us. Me. Whatever.

I’ll let you know when I do the work.