The Empty Suitcase: A Journey into the Peace Corps
Most of my childhood was spent trying to comprehend why my mother wouldn’t just conform, make things simpler. I couldn’t understand her willful denial of all things normal. I vowed to one-up her. I would do it all, be it all. Creative and financially successful. Glamorous and intelligent. Adventurous and responsible. Above all, I would be normal. I would be everything I wanted to be and still fit in.
So, I studied poetry in college but always had a reasonable job. I got my M.F.A. in creative writing but started my career in advertising. I bought the car, the house, the clothes and wrote and volunteered in the few hours I had left. I clawed my way up. I managed people. I came into the office on Saturdays, and Sundays. I got phone calls from factories in China late in the evenings. I was a grand success. And then they fired me. I have never been so relieved.
Read about Alice Pettway's journeys at Women's Voices For Change.