This post is really just for myself, I think it’s something where “you had to be there” but it’s been on my mind so I’m letting it out.
I think I’ve been thinking about this because the upcoming MOPS theme is Be You, Bravely–and since I write for our group’s newsletter I’ve been pondering that subject. When was I myself, bravely? And I think of the Contracts final in law school. I can’t really give you a backstory–it was the first semester of law school, it was about 3 months after my college graduation. The professor was scary as heck and his final exam was 6 hours long! I was 21 years old.
I don’t remember much about the exam itself, or the questions, I think there was a scenario about quahogs. Um, what? (Just googled it, that’s a type of clam.) But here’s my story–there were times throughout the exam when I quoted language from the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)–and I did what I’d learned to do in college. When I came across “him” or “his,” I changed it to gender-neutral language. Ex: “and until [s/]he receives such assurance may if commercially reasonable suspend any performance for which [s/]he has not already received the agreed return.” It was a natural as breathing, when you come across he, make it s/he. No brainer. Except I did this knowing full well that my professor, the one who would be reading my exam answers, was one of the authors of the UCC. I was basically correcting my professor on his own exam.
Some of my classmates were surprised when I mentioned what I’d done, but I felt great. I look back at that moment as my most self-actualized. I had spent 4 years at a liberal college and now I was out in the world (haha, hardly) and I don’t know, illustrating what I’d learned, staying true to my values. I don’t know.
And then the postscript of that story is that I got an A-. Which is huge because I spent most of that semester beyond confused about Contracts and completely befuddled when the prof would call on me in class. So it was a triumph of all my cramming and a tribute to Professor White that he didn’t hold my editing against me. (Or maybe he was afraid of giving the feminazi a bad grade and being charged with discrimination. LOL)
So that was my “Be you, bravely” moment. Too bad I can’t think of another from the last 15 years.
Another random story along the same lines (that somewhere inside me is a latent intellectual)–I had a dream the other morning that makes me smile. It seems to have been about choosing my college courses at the beginning of a semester. I went around to different departments to see what classes were being offered. At one point I had an argument with a professor about racist mascots. Next, there was a women’s history class being offered about women’s magazines from the ’50s and I asked if the professor would be talking about race and class and the women excluded from these magazines. And finally, I enrolled in a class about meal planning and grocery shopping. I believe we were going to go shopping as a class. And the professor told me that some students like to focus on side dishes, and I got so excited and said “Yeah, let’s focus on side dishes!” In the dream, I had that feeling of “this is the right course for me.”
So I woke up from this dream and I got such a kick out of it. How funny that one minute I was debating intellectual issues and the next I got excited about a class on meal planning. And it was affirming. I chose, among other things, to do what I’m doing–planning meals and shopping for my family. And I was excited about it.
No grand conclusion, just some introspection. Kicking butt on the Contracts final, meeting Walter (we sat next to each other at that exam, by the way–he holds it against me that I finished (10 minutes) before time ran out), using my brain, being acknowledged for my accomplishments–in some ways those were the good old days. Or it can seem that way when I’m pulling my hair out as a stay-at-home-mom. But (in the words of 10,000 Maniacs) these are days. These are the glory years. We only get 18 summers with our kids (Leo will, I assume, leave for college in 10 years). I get to spend every day (sometimes all 24 hours) with my three favorite people. I am so blessed!