Sunday, November 16, 2003

I’m Standing Exactly Where I’m Supposed To Be
The feeling, and it’s been with me for a few weeks now, is that I’m exactly where I should have been two years ago in November. For the past few months I’ve been volunteering every morning in a Berkeley elementary special education classroom for children with mild to moderate disabilities. Additionally, most of my afternoons are spent interning at a youth development organization in Alameda, working with a group of teenagers to get a languishing sound recording studio up and running again. I doubt if I've given half as much to either of these two endeavors as they've given to me.

There are very good (albeit entirely unfortunate) reasons as to why it’s taken me so long to get here. I wouldn’t wish what I’ve gone through over the last couple years on anybody. The best analogy I can think of is to imagine being in that archetypal tunnel whose terminus, at best, offers light and, at worse, holds only promises unfulfilled. I've caught flickers of that light from time to time, in interviews that went well or during those times when I felt giddy with possibility and potential. I was ready to turn off the headlights and join my peers in doing work that was going to have an impact, however subtle, dozens of times. I have craved the discipline that work imposes, the social validity it offers and, most importantly, the self-sufficiency it allows. With the internship and volunteering, I have the first two covered. Monetary compensation is the last piece of the puzzle.

This isn’t ideal, where I’m at right now, but it’s something, a small victory against odds that have only been there in part. I shouldn’t downplay it either. It’s, in all honesty, a tremendous step in the right direction. If that fucking light isn’t going to come to me, I’ll go to it.

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