Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 17 2011


The past few days, or weeks, have been. Surreal. It’s not fair for me to keep using that word, because I have developed too many meanings for it. In the beginning of the school year, surreal meant I — I want to type had no concept of reality but that still applies to everything, too. In the beginning of the year it was surreal excitement and hope, then it was surreal anxiety- so intense I thought I would not make it past December. Now it is surreal-reality? What am I talking about?

Every day I feel more normal. Every day I feel more like myself. This, in turn, makes me feel more surreal. Why? Because it doesn’t seem possible that I can feel normal here, that that could ever happen. But today I was driving back from Greenville with Kanye singing to me and I could hardly see through all the fog in the black Delta winter night, and I almost couldn’t breathe because I was happy. My classroom seemed full of potential, I had graded three classes worth of tests from Thursday, I was on my way home after a night in Clarksdale, at a TFA ‘reunion’ where I spent time with peers (PEERS?!) for a night. Peers. A new friend added me on facebook and he went to Oxford. Oxford??? WHERE AM I AND HAS ANYONE REALIZED I DON’T REALLY HAVE ANY RIGHT TO BE HERE?

I woke up at eight today, in Clarksdale, and went running with Sally. Oh my, (or as Sarah would say, “Gol-ly!” emphasis on the “LY!”) it was incredible just to spend an hour with her. We ran just over two miles, which in itself is another wonderful thing that I am slowly entering back into my life (and is likely giving me all this energy that propels the surreal-feeling).

Additionally, and I will clear my throat for this, a-hem, I have acquired a new best friend AKA bestie AKA BFF who is Asian and lives in Chicago and whose name is Allen. Allen, do you mind me using your name on my Teach For America blog? Allen and I compulsively update one another on exactly what we are doing at most points during the day, which is oddly calming and has lead to me deciding he’s my human equivalent to a security blanket. This has lasted just over two weeks and perhaps I should hush about it before I ruin everything. Talking with Allen is interesting because he has known me since day one of college, which means this odd part of me from five plus years ago is resurfacing with some zeal. It seems like (and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before) the past year and a half of my life was a dream. A dream. Getting through the hellish last year before graduation, an intense relationship, losing my mother. I will repeat these things constantly in conversation and via writing just to remind myself that yes, they are real. Yes, they did happen.

My aunt casually mentioned Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on the phone the other day, in relation to me. Interesting.

3 Responses

  1. Allen

    No, bestie, I don’t mind at all.

  2. You DO belong there. No one else brings to the table what you do. TFA would suck if it were filled exclusively with stuffy Oxford and Harvard types.

  3. Wess

    I couldn’t be more happy that you feel like a human. Isn’t it wonderful? I’m having much of the same transition–and just feeing HAPPY, here, teaching, is something so unfamiliar but so, so welcome.

    Hurrah for 2011!

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