Three Things That No One Has Ever Said About Me

From Jenny Offill’s Department of Speculation,

Three things that no one has ever said about me:
You make it look so easy.
You are very mysterious.
You need to take yourself more seriously.

In 2003, when I was at Duke, the school released a study about the experience of women at all levels of the institution. One undergraduate woman described the suffocating expectation of effortless perfection. The pressure to make it look so easy.

I laughed to myself about that term, as the exact opposite of my life—always, but especially in that year. Even at my peak moments, I am a bundle of nervous energy: untucked, untamed, untethered. Effortful imperfection.

Think of how uncomfortable it is to visit a perfect home. You don’t want get a dirty footprint on the white carpet or spill food on the pristine tablecloth. When you are in my classroom or office or home, I hope you will join me in being your imperfect self.

2 Comment

  1. laurakornish says: Reply

    Untamed hair is an occupational hazard: “I wouldn’t mind more of those stereotypical professor days, where you just have stacks of paper, and code on your screen, and you haven’t brushed your hair….”
    Smooth hair is overrated.

  2. Kristin says: Reply

    My office in particular is still a perfect mess. But I think it scares students that I may lose their assignments or stuff 🙂

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