So Much Goodness: Negotiating Multiple Identities


The three pictures above reflect some of the identities I’m moving back and forth between on a daily basis: scholar/ professor/ researcher/ teacher/ student/ mother (not included, Asian American woman, mentor, student teaching supervisor, person of faith, choir member, ministry leader, runner, wife, friend, etc.).  All of these identities, in and of themselves, bring me so much joy.  I’m so grateful to have such a full life, embracing who I am and doing work that I’m committed to, but let me be honest, for a moment, on this blog — negotiating these multiple identities and occupying these different roles is exhausting, and sometimes the intersections of them make me irritable and less than my best self.

This week, I jumped off the plane from AERA and back into my life: figuring out Tae Kwon Do/daycare pick-ups and drop offs, planning my daughter’s 4th birthday party next month, realizing that I was 2.5 hours behind on required lab hours for my Chinese class and feeling super unprepared for my Chinese test on Thursday, inspired by the research world and ready to delve into the multiple concurrent studies I’m working on, building up mileage for an upcoming half marathon (after coming off of an injury), facilitating multiple student teaching midterm evaluations (some of which are challenging situations), encouraging some of my Masters students who are taking their comps while reading and giving feedback on thesis & dissertation drafts for my other graduate students, planning for our Faculty Inquiry Group meeting on Culturally Responsive Teaching in Teacher Ed, finalizing and sending out agendas for a Faculty Council meeting and a Social Justice Ministry meeting, attending Bible Study, doing two loads of laundry, transcribing interviews, coding data, setting up powerpoint presentations for an upcoming conference, planning a new project with a remarkable group of fellow teacher educators.

So much goodness.

But, SO…MUCH…goodness.

I woke up this morning to e-mails from cooperating teachers, coding to be done, observations and a mid-semester evaluation meeting to be had, Tae Kwon Do & daycare pick-up this evening (and not knowing who exactly will do the pick-up based on the timing of my afternoon meeting), dirty laundry to be done, a silly (almost) 4yo (also up early) with made up words to a song she knows, who changed her “treat” for school choice 3x, a slightly sick teenager, inspired to make himself breakfast, but moving slower than a snail in molasses to get out the door to catch the bus.

I sent them out the door and felt my irritation, combined with general apathy and UGH.

Why was I so grumpy? My kids were being their normal, charming, though sometimes frustrating, selves.  The e-mails were nothing unexpected.  I knew the laundry had to get done.  I’ve been excited to get this coding done. I need time to get the powerpoint set up.  I think I did fine on my Chinese test and get a bit of a break over the weekend.  Most days, all of the things don’t get to me.  And I actually got sleep last night!

But, it is perhaps because of that sleep, because today is a rest day from running, because I have a moment to write and pause that the multitude of goodness in my life feels like a flood.  It is a lot.  It is nothing I regret. But, it is so much.

I will not drown.  I will stand. But, I will also breathe and be kind to myself.  It is a lot.  Sometimes my community is my life raft.  Sometimes, I am drifting with a life vest in what feels like shark infested waters.  Sometimes, I am tired of keeping myself afloat.  Sometimes, I can stand on the shore and watch the waves crash around me.  I can make space for it all, gratitude and overwhelm, love and frustration, work and rest.

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