By Toni Bee
Two pens and a pencil stick out of my hair as I begin this piece. I am sleepy, needing to catch up on my readings, and I want to glance at my schedule book because I am antsy as to whether I did or did not put the right times and days in for the Writing Center.
Sounds like the basic rigor and roll of your “average college student.” Except average…I ain’t. I am trying to get used to a sudden and new world; a world where I am returning to Simmons after a three-year hiatus; where my 14-year-old calls me from her b-ball game asking about getting her “hair did” tonight; a world where I am 41—old enough to at least be your aunty (and possibly your mama). Yes–I am back juggling three classes, that home life, a job, and a teenager. Of course I am loving it. Except when it comes to my zombies.
My previous existence was being a poetic mommy with intellectual blather in the day. At night ’till one, two in the morning, I was up watching my zombie show. I had to see if it. Roberta and her “homies” were going to triumph; if the blond survived the bluish baby Z’s birth; and had to know were the Z’s still obeying Murphy’s every mind-melding move? Yasssss–staring at the flat screen sustained me…for a while.
Until a couple of things happened: I heard my mentors’ messages whispering to my brain matter, “Simmons, Toniiii…only a couple semesters left.”
The second thing that happened was my daughter Selena would come in and ask, “Ma, what did you do today?” When I had no answer back, and she responded “Oh, nothing, eh,” that straight broke me. I knew that I had turned into an intellectual zombie. I looked inward and was determined that dull state I was in had to end.
Yup—I gave up my zombies and replaced them with cerebral leanings. My one and two a.m.s are now dedicated to Gans-Boriskin’s news tests in the mornings and reading George’s 19th-century assignments with glee. I am trying and determined and…I want you to know I am not that much different than you twenty-somethings.
I am simply twenty (plus one) again and trying to write my way right.
I need you to know that being at Simmons means I am willing to expand and learn anew, and my presence here should give you hope that it is never to late to follow and achieve your dreams. Plus I even have gained a couple of “popping” mentors—Zuri who douses me with “you can do it,” coffee and fiery intellect, and Olivia who shares her poetic soul and tells me I am going through “cognitive dissonance.” Now that is a term I will ask about when I pop into the Writing Center…this Thursday.