Wanting to be a writer, but lacking the confidence or resolve, I determined that I should try teaching.  At 32 years old, standing in front of a class for the first time, I imagined a yellow puddle forming on the floor between my feet.  My students, most of them college freshman no older than nineteen, waited for me to speak.  I waited as well.  I had worn a dress, (with no waist because the new tattoo on my lower back had yet to heal), because they had told us in our training that dressing professionally would make our students respect us.  I was beginning to suspect that it wouldn’t matter if I wore a suit of armor, they could see right through me to the essential truth—I had no idea what I was doing.

It was my first day teaching CO150: College Composition for Colorado State University, and it was my second day of graduate school.  I hadn’t slept more than an hour total the night before.  I had terrible diarrhea, was so nauseous that I couldn’t eat, was sweating profusely but my mouth was so dry it was hard to swallow, my hands were numb, there was a sharp pain in the center of my chest, and I was having trouble breathing.

© Salahub 2003