Grad School Dropout and the Emergence of Flame

Yep. I am now (unofficially) a grad school drop out. And why does the song “Beauty School Dropout” have to keep running through my head? It was always the moment in Grease where I really really could have used the fast forward button of a DVD player; I disliked that scene so much. And I didn’t even have the slow forwarding process of a VCR because I was watching it on TV, with commercial breaks. That is how old I am.  Perhaps this current in-head song track has something to do with the fact that my drop-out status coincides with my own hair-dye nightmare. I currently have purple hair because my former status as busy grad student, and busy mom, dealing with two boys now with two different chronic health conditions, and playing chauffeur to eighteen-year old who can no longer drive due to seizures that have yet to seize, did not allow time to get myself to any sort of proper salon. And being the queen of frugality (for own self, not my kids–no, my three-year old gets a $30.00 hair cut at a boutique kid salon that caters to the SPD child), I purchased a sort of purple-red color that was on clearance at my local food co-op, hoping it would look more red than purple in my hair. My hopes were deflated when Josh woke up from his nap and asked why I had purple hair. We then picked Ethan up at school, he looked at me and asked why I had decided to “go goth with the purple hair.” And it isn’t even well- distributed, with spatches of brown (and well, yes, some silver) showing through. This demonstrates that I cannot dye my hair when it is long as it is now; I can only manage a proper self-dye job when my hair is shoulder length or less. And, in any event, when I was in the shower rinsing the purple matter out of my hair, I realized that the dye, surely toxic even though supposedly “natural,” was running into ALL of my crevices.

Later that same day, Chris and I attended a Lucy Kaplansky concert–an anniversary surprise for him. During the concert, I had a huge chemical reaction, complete with brain fog, pounding head and burning throat. I knew it wasn’t good when I broke out in a rash all over my belly because the back side of the top button on my skinny jeans was touching my skin (I have a metal allergy that apparently worsens when when my system has been overexposed to toxins). I went to the bathroom during the concert, witnessed the swelling abdomen and the tell-tale patches of thrush popping up all over the back of my throat and groaned. I told myself that, from now on, I would embrace the natural color, silver and all.  Anyway, determined to make it through the concert, I hiked up my underwear well over my belly-button, and a good two inches over the upper edge of my jeans. Sexy. I know. Perhaps it was the make-shift appearance of “mom” underwear or the purple hair or my complete inability to focus on anything but the writing and research assignments awaiting me over the next two days of the weekend; well of course, except when Lucy sang Ten Year Night and This is Home and Mother’s Day; somehow it all made me realize that perhaps I just need to dive in and embrace my MOM-ness right now. Indeed, I remember Lucy talking about her own song-writer’s block after she adopted a little girl from China a few years back (probably 8 now—ahhh time flies; incidentally her most amazing album, The Red Thread, is about the adoption process). But once she fully entered into it and started writing songs from her mom-ness, she came out with these wonderful songs such as Manhattan Moon (“I used to travel in a straight line, now I travel on roads that wind”).

Last weekend, I still did my homework, writing and researching; preparing a joint-presentation with another more studious student; a more scholarly scholar. But the night before class, I heard the pitter patter of little feet calling me back home. It wasn’t Josh’s (or even Ethan’s) feet. It was my manuscript. The one that has been sitting untouched since I applied to grad school in early january. It called me back and let me know I had taken yet another detour to avoid it, asking me “when are you just going to sit down and write this mofo (manifesto of fettig’s ovulation?) instead of seeking (well-meaning) distraction after distraction? I am not saying that yoga training was such a distraction (I am not saying it wasn’t either), but perhaps the way I just dove into teaching, subbing for everyone, picking up class after class–maybe that was Distraction. I have wanted to be an author (which means the writer of a PUBLISHED book), since I was 10 or 11 years old. It’s time to fulfill the dream of that amazing pre-adolescent girl, so tapped into her intuition as she was. And I will. I will.

As far as grad school goes, even though I only get a partial reimbursement of my tuition, since I attended almost half of the classes before realizing that it wasn’t the thing for me at this juncture of my life, I at least got a two-for-one student discount on the Lucy Kaplansky tickets and THAT ALONE justifies my six-week stint as a grad student, don’t you think?

Speaking of movies and dropping out, while deciding whether to drop this class, I kept hearing Kevin Bacon’s character, Jake-aka Jefferson Briggs (and his friend, Davis, was played by Alec Baldwin–oh so handsome at that time in his life) , in She’s Having a Baby saying to his wife (played by Elizabeth McGovern–hasn’t changed a bit) “I didn’t learn anything in undergrad and I am learning even less in grad school!” He eventually dropped out and wrote his book, presumably “She’s Having a Baby.” Was this sort of an autobiographical sketch from John Hughes?

By the way, instead of paying someone to “fix” my hair, I am going to “act as if” my purple hair provides me with the “finishing-your-book” power (sorry, but I live in a world of super heroes–the little one plays with them, the big one draws them, and the husband–we’ll just say he knows an awful lot about them). I need a proper super hero name. Flame? Has that been taken? I’ll have to ask “the boys” tomorrow.

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