The Beginning

THE PAST: I recently had everything I know and love ripped from my arms. I am/was devastated. Some people call this experience “graduation.” I’m still in denial and refuse to refer to it at all.

THE PRESENT: I am sitting in a living room in Jacksonville, Florida trying to compose what Teach for America calls a “story of self.” They want 5-7 minutes about a challenging experience, and how I overcame it. I’m sure that my peers/future friends will have inspiring tales of how they overcame racism, sexism, cancer, death, poverty, etc. Real challenges. The ones you can talk about for 5-7 minutes, that will probably inspire a book or a movie or the founding of a non-profit.

I’m writing about when my ex-boyfriend broke up with me. I am a white, female, heterosexual. I have been incredibly lucky. I’ve been in private school since kindergarden. I’ve always been either on grade-level or above. I never found school to be hard. My health, and the health of all my immediate family members, has been stellar. The only thing I can possibly turn into a motivational story is that I grew up in a liberal, Jewish family in the heart of the conservative Christian south. But even then, it wasn’t that bad. I brought latkes to school and taught my friends how to play dreidel and that was that. I am so lucky that I have grown up in this manner.

THE FUTURE: I’m moving. I’m moving to a low-income community in South Carolina, where I know no one. If we’re being totally honest, I still don’t really know why I’m going. I just feel like I’ve been so absurdly #blessed that I need to give back. I need to pay back the universe for everything it has given me. I need to go inspire someone to love the Pythagorean theorem as much as I do, because they don’t have a math major for a father or a mother who taught them square roots in the bathtub in third grade. I need to get out there and do something with my hands because I’ve spent the last four years in an Ivory tower (tehe get it?) and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a consulting firm cubicle calculating how to make the rich richer. I want to make a difference. I need to make a difference.

I’m leaving for training in Florence, SC tomorrow. I am an emotional disaster due to that earlier thing I mentioned at the beginning (not the ex-boyfriend, I got over that). I think I’m currently on that part of the roller coaster that rapidly accelerates downward and it feels like you’re going to crash into the ground and burst in flames but you just have to trust that they hired a great engineer to design it and it will pick up once you get to the bottom and then you’ll be fine and have the time of your life.


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