***Found this as a draft, written almost exactly a year ago. I guess I intended to finish it, but it bears posting as-is**
A dear friend of mine (London) worked on a fantastic theatrical piece recently, part of which addressed the value that our society places on women getting married. She wrote a satirical piece wherein a woman in her 20s announces she has gotten a fabulous new job. Her friends swarm around her, cooing and cheering and trying to get in on the action: "Is there anything I can do to help?" "OH! Can I be your office BFF?!" "How are you going to decorate your desk?!" etc. etc. It is a beautiful comparison to the reaction women get when they announce an engagement (or, I would imagine, a pregnancy-- though most of my friends are at the "getting married" point, not yet at the "offspring" point). It is not, however, representative of how people respond when a woman gets a job-- even a job she really wants.
That's what makes this also delightful.
Two weeks ago, I started teaching. Like, actual classes of middle school students. Like, I am responsible for their social studies education for the next 9 months. No pressure. It is a joy and delight and a little bit panic-inducing. So far, I love it. This is something I have dreamed about for a couple of decades (just ask my poor younger siblings who had to sit through lessons taught by 10-year-old me) and worked on for a few years now. It's the fulfillment of a dream.
And my friends know that. Now, I have never gotten engaged, so it's hard to draw a direct comparison, but the number of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails I have gotten over the past few weeks has been tremendous and touching. I have gotten phone calls, text messages, e-mails, cards, Facebook contact-- even a few beginning-of-school-year gifts. I can't begin to express how this warms me from the inside.
It's a pretty poignant reminder that my community is really unparalleled.