Flattery will get you everywhere

So, yesterday, I put on my sari and did my first run through of my slide show/visual walk through religious and Indian history. (We zoomed through the last 9000 years, the birth of all the major religions, the invasions, the empires, tribal life, etc.) I had taken my photos, added maps, artifacts to pass around, and music, and organized them in a way so that the presentation would be educational as well entertaining. It was about 100 minutes long. I thought it was a bit too long, but reports were that people were enrapt and would have stayed longer. In fact, a handful of folks stuck around afterwards to ask questions.

Yesterday and today, I have been flooded with compliments, requests for continued informal discussions, one request for some of my photos, two suggestions that I teach for a living, and a long letter from a woman who is so inspired that she wants to organize a fundraising effort for the women’s shelter I visited.

But, most importantly for me, I felt really energized afterwards. And at the end of the day, I went home and cleaned house. Which is so different from how I feel in the job I have now where I am exhausted at the end of the day and just watering the plants feels like a chore. How did I fall into this field anyway? I’ve been programming since I was 14 years old and have a frickin’ masters degree in computer science, and still when I give presentations on things computer-related, I’m still never totally comfortable with what I know and don’t know. I think it is because of the sharp epistemology involved and my need to feel like I’m seated at the core of what I’m saying. Plus, the levels to which engineers can split a hair can be alternately annoying and intimidating. People–mostly men (sorry, guys, but it’s true)–posturing like prima donnas to show off how much they know. It’s so dull.

Today was just a wonderful affirmation that my path really is towards teaching. And that I can teach religion and love it and be good at it. As I’ve mentioned in other entries here, I’ve been interested and scared of religion and ideas of the ultimate every since I was a kid. Funny how life drops us off at a starting line so far from the finish and, in retrospect, the finish line wasn’t so far off from the start.

I just gotta hang in there for a while, finish that thesis, and get myself going on the Ph.D. Who knows–maybe I really will have a book to publish by the end of next year. I’ve already got an offer from an editor and publisher just based on my idea and him knowing me and how I express myself.

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