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3 years ago

957 words

Photo: I rushed through my errands this morning so that I could spend some time at the Old North Bridge because I’m officially and hopelessly in a writer’s block. It’s actually physically painful–I sit to write fiction and I get a monstrous headache. I battle and get nowhere… I thought the scenery would help. While brisk, beautiful and empty, I’m sad to say that it didn’t seem to do much. And so I keep seeking solutions…


Did I tell you that the first big kindergarten meeting is tomorrow, Dear Reader? It’s the first of several… but tomorrow is the first, and that’s a big freaking deal. I’m gonna miss the State of the Union and everything to be there and I’m pretty nervous.

There are many reasons to be nervous, in my point of view: I’m going to be sitting there as a mother of a child, but also as a former teacher. There is stuff I want to hear, stuff I want to know, stuff I want to feel after this meeting tomorrow night’s meeting. Of course, there are things I want to see, too, and I’ll talk about that in a second. Ultimately, though, tomorrow night will represent the beginning of a long-form answer to a question we’ve been asking ourselves since we put down the money to purchase this home:

Did we choose the right community?

This town was the best intersection of what we could afford and a school district with performance up to our standard. We tried our best to pick a diverse place, but we knew that was too much to ask for. So basically we picked the best school district that we could afford to live in (for the unfamiliar, in Massachusetts, the school districts are determined by the town you live in, not your county, so there is a lot less real estate in coveted districts, making property values astronomical), and it just happens to be a top-performing place. But, there are still a lot of variables and we are now leaving the stage of big, pretty statistics and about to wade into the deep minutia of the day-to-day, level-by-level, lesson-by-lesson learning that my boys are going to do. We’ve made a big investment here and have, in essence, taken on all the risk. We can’t afford the private schools in the area and my sanity would not survive homeschooling. So… this is it.

I will either love it, will be able to live with it, or hate it.

And then there is the little thing about probably being the only Black person in the room. I’m sitting here praying so many prayers that I won’t be the only Black person in the room tomorrow. And I have to be very specific: I don’t want to be the only African-American in the room tomorrow. There are African immigrants as well as immigrants from various parts of the Pacific region who live in my town and I’m really excited that my boys will get to go to school with a solid group of kids from international backgrounds, but their experiences are very different from that of my boys. For the most part, that’s great, because my boys need to learn some stuff. On the other hand,  I’m just hoping that there is one child who will see my boys and know them because they are experiencing the world in a similar way. Just one. Two would be awesome but I’ll just take one. Just one family, Lord, please! Don’t want to do this completely alone!

That’s my reality. It’s comical, but it’s where I am now: I’m sitting here coming to terms with the very strong possibility that I’ll be the only African-American person at the big kindergarten enrollment meeting tomorrow.

For so many of you dear, wonderful readers, that paragraph above probably answered the question that I posed at the top of the post. Did we choose the right community? Some of ya’ll are screaming a resounding, NO. I get that… I make it complicated while, in many ways, it doesn’t have to be. Longtime readers have been with me every step of the way as I looked for this community, found a house in it and basically went to the mattresses to purchase it. So if I roll up on this meeting tomorrow and I come away disappointed, I’ll only have myself to blame.

maybe that’s why I’m so anxious. I don’t want to be wrong. And if I am wrong, I don’t want to be deeply and profoundly wrong. And what if I am? I’ve been living in this house that I love for 2 years now, finding little ways to love the surrounding the community and being challenged by it from time to time, but the context of this love affair has the potential to dramatically change if tomorrow night doesn’t go well.

And don’t even get me started on the potential implications I’ll be making for Major’s (and Minor’s by proxy) experience in this school system by the simple act of showing up tomorrow with my shoulder-length locs and brown skin! Damn my master’s degree and all those classes on the intersections of race, class and education! Every study is going to be crossing past my vision  as I listen.


cool head, reasonable expectations. Make a good impression, allow others to make good impressions of their own. I’m not a teacher tomorrow, I’m a mother. Different mindset, different attitude…

Everything is going to be fine.

My treat will be getting back and watching the State of the Union. Hope ya’ll will be watching, too!

I’ll tell you how it goes on Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed for me, Dear Reader!

Until then, take care.

10 Replies to “I'm Probably Overthinking It…”

  1. wow.
    deep breath & sending prayers.
    not for any specific outcome…
    (okay, maybe i’m also praying that there will be at LEAST TWO other mothers/fathers of color who will look your way & connect…)
    but mostly – that no matter what, even if change will come from this (well, i guess change is afoot no matter what, with each and every “chapter”) – that you will trust the unfolding & find whatever courage needed to continue walking your truth path.
    (and i HIGHLY recommend listening to the recent podcast of Another Round & their interview of Valerie Jarrett for inspiration…)

    what would it be like to simply allow yourself to not write fiction for a spell? i mean, if it’s giving you a headache?
    (is that terrible for me to even put out there?)

    1. You know how I am… I set a goal, I make the plans, I budget the precious time and then…nothing. So frustrating! I’m pretty convinced that I just get blocked during the winter. Something about the cold and the endless snow-wastes..colorless life for 3-4 months of the year… I need to choose to read and craft during these months instead. Of course, that puts SOOO much pressure on the summer (useless because little boys not in school) and Fall (so much going on with back-to-school, then NaNo, then holiday) that losing huge chunk of the year is discouraging.

      And of course, that just makes the block worse.

      But… I didn’t even look at my notebook this morning when I got up. I did some doodling for an embroidery project instead. Hopefully I’ll come out of it soon. 🙁

      Thank you for your prayers and the podcast suggestion. Gonna listen to it today while I prepare bread. Can’t wait!

      1. i get it & i also applaud that you make goals & head towards them! (this coming from mostly a highly distractible meanderer…) Aaaaaand, winter IS a time for going in, for dream-time… all the natural world (in the northern hemisphere) does this… just watch any tree or plant.
        i dunno, i’ve had teachers who try to remind me of this, because in the face of the massive tide of culture, it’s like swimming against a powerful force.
        all that said, maybe it’s the tiny steps, through each day, writing SOMEthing (even if it’s not what you envision it to be, but more like a practice…) i’ve been trying to do this with drawing.
        even if it’s 5 minutes. even if it doesn’t complete something. and even if it doesn’t meet up to my s0-called-standards.
        i guess i understand about the schedule, seasonally.
        what do the writers you revere & respect do?
        i’m a big fan of Mary Oliver & listening to the interview with Krista Tippett (On Being podcast) was helpful in regards to the creative practice/work.

        one more thing (i know i go on & on sometimes…) i remember reading about the sculptor Alexander Caulder – and whenever he got into a creative rut or felt stuck with his sculptures, he would work on his toy circus.
        i think he called it his bailiwick – and by switching gears, it freed up something in his brain so he could return to the sculpture work.
        i’ve found this method to be helpful for me in the past.
        i guess we all have to find the method that works for us.
        i see that i jump into blog responses with people when i hear any being hard on oneself…
        so, i hope it’s of benefit, and not annoying (which to some it can be!)

        wishing you warm toes & a relaxed belly and mind around knitting & reading, and your bright writing.
        blessings on all in your world

  2. I don’t know what advice to give you for writers block other than to keep exercising and something will hit. It is the awful when your brain freezes and the voices stop speaking to you. You feel abandoned.

    Good luck with the school meeting. I totally understand. When we moved to my neighborhood we were the first AA on the street and there were no other brown children of any group. Then an African family moved in a few blocks away I almost feel ashamed the glee I felt when he rang the doorbell . Their culture was different and I never warmed up to the mother who didn’t want her children with African Americans BUT loved all the Italian friends…go figure. Her children and my children have been friends and thick as thieves ever since…going on ten years and she only just accepted it. that colonialism/white supremacy thing is a monster, huh?
    Good luck and the beautiful thing about children, if they have good hearted parents, is they are always open regardless of race…well, until the world starts to extend outside the play area.

    1. Wow, really? 10 years and she is JUST now accepting?? Good Lord! That’s frustrating.

      You are right about children and race. It DOES change eventually, but for now, everybody is everybody and that’s wonderful. The boys really haven’t had any trouble at this preschool. I know that they won’t, with their peers anyway, when we start in “real” school. It’s not the kids that I’m worried about, as you well know. It’s the adults. I need everybody to be on the right team, but I’m fully aware that not everybody will be. Gotta keep myself under control, keep my guard up but my heart open. I’ll take a few breaths before walking into the building tonight. Other complication: they are talking about snow here. Hopefully things won’t be cancelled.

      As for the block: it’s the weather, I swear. The cold, the absence of color. My hair gets dry and unruly while my creative mind takes a vacation. I have wonderful characters, a cool setting, an interesting plot, a message or two…. but they just won’t come out to play. The words just suck. It’s utterly frustrating. As I was writing above, I really don’t have time to lose 3-4 months out of the year to writer’s block. I don’t know what I’m going to do… I really wanted to write this story and try to apply to a writer’s conference this year. 🙁 I’m going to read and craft and see if I can get out of this.

      Anyway, how are you? How are your own projects coming along??

    1. Thank you. I know that you’re right. When it comes to the precious babies, though, it all feels so high-stakes. I have to keep an open mind and open heart.

      Ready for the State of the Union!? I miss being home and feeling the area all electric for the big event. My (not married/no kids) friends are already on facebook talking about which bar they are going to fall into to watch it. *sigh*

      1. LOL. Since I will be on mommy duty I will be watching it from the comfy of my bed as I put my son to sleep and listen to the President’s last State of the Union. Sigh!

  3. Clearly I didn’t think about school districts when I moved 3 years ago (probably because I didn’t have an adoption timeline) but I just registered my son for Kindergarten today and applied to 5 Magnet Schools. We don’t meet any of the priority critieria so if he gets in it’ll be on a wing and a prayer. While diversity would be nice at this point I just want him to get into my #1 choice so he can still attend the same Daycare and keep some sort of familiarity. Basically I’m more worried about Kindergarten than I ever worried about school (including Grad School).

    1. Wow, 5 magnet schools? They are run by the district, right? Not charters? I’m super curious. I’m also looking at a lottery situation: there are 5 elementary schools and I get to choose one. There is also a lottery for full-day kindergarten! AND, if we get full-day kindergarten, it comes with a $4,000 tuition! Isn’t it crazy? For PUBLIC school! Never move to Massachusetts!

      Are you satisfied with the choices that are presented to you? What are the differences between the magnet schools?

      I’m asking because I used to teach and I specialized in school choice. I used to teach at a charter school back in the day (don’t get me started). The landscape is so incredibly complicated.

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