November 2009, Muscatine, Iowa
I met my dad at a little family-run restaurant near the municipal airport in my hometown to have lunch and talk about social work. Though I was positive I wanted to do it, I had a strange fear — a fear founded on nothing but a lack of confidence — that he would think it was an unwise decision.
We sat down in a corner booth — he in his business attire and me in my Thanksgiving-break hooded sweatshirt and jeans. We ordered food and started talking.
And I just started crying. And I could not stop. My hometown is a small town, and there were most definitely people there who knew me and my dad. They probably thought something horrible was happening.
My dad made a joke about it, and I apologized, wiping my face with the paper napkin. I’m still not sure why I was crying.
I think it might be this: Even when it’s based on no reality, I have a high degree of fear that those I love and whose opinions matter to me will tell me I can not or should not do something I really want to do. I have an intense desire to please those I love, too. I don’t care much about acquaintances, but family and close friends? It makes my stomach hurt to think I would let them down.
I had spent three-point-five years at college, supported by my parents, taking every opportunity I could to advance my education and prepare for a job in journalism. It was well-planned, and every piece was in line to be successful in that goal.
My dad was, of course, fully supportive of my decision to apply to graduate school for social work. And he has been supportive at all other major turning points in my path and decisions I’ve made in my life.
I just wish I hadn’t cried in Good Earth off Highway 61.
the only picture I can find of myself from Thanksgiving break that year 🙂