In which our hero makes a potentially life-altering decision.
Is this what parenthood is? Today is my first day in a job that is, as far as I can tell, a step down in every way except that it will provide the consistency my employment has lacked for the last five years. I am starting as an assistant manager of some kind at a student apartment complex in Davis. This is essentially the job I had 9 years ago that inspired me to go after my PhD in economics. It was a smaller property, but I was the manager, so step up? Step down?
It feels like a step down, like a sacrifice. Like something I should be ashamed of. Like moving back in time, like I am erasing the last nine years of my life....big years, by the way.
Years in which I fell in love, got married, got divorced, fell in love, got pregnant, realized my dream of becoming an Economics professor and loved every painful second of it, lost and regained my sanity, became a subject expert on Native American voting rights, experienced a pile of death and life and found strength in myself that I thought could only be reached through the worst conditions necessitating survival. And thrived. And now...
And now I am back. In Davis, the town I went to high school in. Doing the job I did when I was 25 years old. Sort of. It seems like the smart choice, though, because there is a baby coming, and babies need things like money and food and health insurance and consistency. But I can't shake the feeling that I am letting go of a piece of myself, a piece of myself that makes me strong and proud.
And I don't even know if I'm supposed to be here today. All I know is everyone around me is happy for me, congratulating me, and inside I am screaming, "NO! This has to be some kind of mistake! Can't you all see how wrong and backwards this is?!" And no one can hear me.