A few weeks ago, over coffee with a friend, our conversation turned to our shifting opinions on approaching political issues with others. I had left the fundamentalism of certain Christian theologies to join the fundamentalism of certain social justice practices. Eager to join the cause, I lost sight of my own habits of engaging the world and began to mirror the popular ones of the day, particularly on social media. Forgotten were the words of activist Angela Davis, who wrote that we need a “constellation” of alternatives to oppressive structures, rather than a one-size-fits-all model.
Almost two years ago, I made the decision to leave my role as a middle and high school teacher to pursue a Master’s in Theological Studies. It was both a difficult step to take, and also one I felt was necessary in order to follow a dream I had to research religion and music more deeply.
If I am being truthful, I regretted the decision almost immediately. As my first semester of classes began in the Fall of 2016, I found myself struggling to justify why I had left a job which had given me purpose to earn a degree that would just require another degree to get me as far as I believed I wanted to go. I started to experience the feelings I felt when I was 12 and 19, those feelings that became the days themselves and cast their long shadows over months. It didn’t make sense: I was privileged enough to study for my Master’s, something few people get to do, and I was about to propose to my then-girlfriend, whom I had loved for years.