A few weeks ago, I posted a poll asking what I should blog about next, with the third choice being the sarcastic, “How Diva Does It All” and guess what won? (Y’all are cheeky monkeys so….)
I recall Maria Shriver being interviewed once on Oprah, and she said something to the effect of the Having It All myth is BS; she said you can have it all, but not all at the same time. This has stuck with me as profound and liberating.
I do not have it all. I have a good career that I enjoy with tenure and a solid paycheck. I have kind and largely amenable colleagues. My students are wonderful, kind and interesting people who work hard and struggle. I have people outside my academic community who are willing to read my work and seriously engage it, and many of these people are not academics and this pleases and surprises me everyday.
I have a small, but loyal circle of friends and fam IRL and a larger and just as loyal one through social media who are willing to listen to my ramblings and be my support. I have romantic, quasi-romantic and who knows what kind of relationships and interactions with gents since my divorce which have ebbed and flowed (and spun in occasionally) as these things do, and I have learned that online dating is just not my thing.
I have two beautiful children who are healthy and strong willed. We recently changed custody agreements and now I am a full time parent to one and the other lives with his father; to say I miss my Monkey is an understatement. But I called him my Buddha Baby and he was always an old soul, so I knew I would be letting go much earlier than most parents.
On the other side, I am a divorced philosopher and Diva who little tolerance for BS and games. I struggle financially and scream at my children. I get frustrated with my students and colleagues and have days when I really hate writing and just do not want to submit my work and ego to any more judgment. I swear. Alot. I buy too many shoes and watch too much TV (especially football!) I forget to call my mother and tell my father I love him, even though they are and have been an unfailing source of support. I should be closer to my brothers and other friends, but I also know they have their own lives. I struggle with mild. chronic depression in a male dominated field, in a place and time when misogyny seems resurgent and I have less and less patience to deal with it.
At times, it feels divorce is a kind of leprosy in that people do not quite know what to do with you. What category do you fit in now? And of course, my marriage and divorce taught me that I am constitutionally allergic to conventional categorization; I tried it and it nearly killed me. (Literally. Knives. Vodka. One bad day.) So now I am trying to carve my own path, which is also greeted as a form of leprosy and I get why. And I have two Barbarians to raise, a largely civil, if weird, relationship with my ex and a shrinking circle of ‘friends’ as I try to figure out what relationships mean and which ones are worth the time and energy.
I will never be the Dean of Military Ethics. And conversely, he will never be me and have the outside perspective and experiences that I do. (And one of us looks great in heels. #jussayin’) I think I have things to contribute to my field, but that too now has to take an unconventional path. You will notice a theme here?
So I do not have it all. It is interesting that some of you think that I do, and that is flattering in a way. I have some things together on some days, and on rare days more than one thing comes together. I also have days when nothing seems right – I cannot teach, I am a terrible parent, and a worse writer/thinker, I will die alone and I have a failed marriage. Even the cats are mad at me. (Ergo, time to get a dog!) One hopes that when I look back at some point, I can say I was authentic, caring and did my best. More importantly, that I was a kind, gracious person my sons could look up to and admire. Not as perfect, but as good.