musings on Alternate Tess {or: too much time sitting in traffic}

first, this is a Universal Rule: opposites attract. not romantically, but i mean, when you’re in a rush to get home, you’re guaranteed to be behind a school bus and then a semi that is going as slowly as it can.

second, that Universal Rule will lead me to either blinding rage or to wandering down uncharted paths in my brain. today, i went with the less homicidal option.

i’ve been watching Fringe, and wondering about what Alternate Tess would be up to in other universes. there’s this idea, which sort of starts out at Point A and then veers off to Point 39489D, in the show, that our lives may be running in parallel to other versions of our lives, and each version kind of branched off at a particular choice. (then the show just sort of goes bonkers, and i love it, and i love joshua jackson). i think it is safe to say that these choices aren’t like “do i buy the sparkly nail polish or not?”, but more “do i take this job/date that person/move to that place or not?”

given that i am about to both take a job AND move to a new place, my traffic-bound brain started wondering: what could the other versions of me be up to? here’s what i came up with before i got home and then the dog was howling at me and i had to go say hi to her.

1. Marine Biologist Tess: when i was a kid, i badly wanted to be a marine biologist, because dolphins. somewhere, there must be a version of me who got way into science and went to…marine biology school. and for some reason, probably because i was five or so when i had this mental image of my life, i think MBT looks like marine biologist barbie, which is a thing, and here is what she wears:

i'm pretty confident all those shades of neon would attract like, every predator in the sea

i’m pretty confident all those shades of neon would attract like, every predator in the sea

2. Linguist Tess. i am a fan of languages, partially because picking up new ones comes easily to me, and partially because i enjoy being able to say i can speak another language. i also tend to nerd out over the history of words, and i find the nuanced nature of language fascinating. however, i don’t think there’s a linguist barbie. i do think there’s a Linguist Tess who is in her, oh, 5th year of a doctoral program somewhere in new england. YOU GO, ALTERNATE ME.

3. Nurse Tess. good god. i did seriously consider applying to the nursing school in my first year of college. and then i realized (and i vividly remember being near the building that most of my graduate courses ended up being in when this dawned on me) that i HATE blood and vomit and generally anything the body puts out in liquid or solid form. if i get hurt, whatever. if a person other than me is hurt, i get real woozy. i have no mental image of this version of myself, because i really don’t think i had a chance to make that choice. all versions of me get fainty about blood. but maybe one version was persuaded because LOOK:

she is so stylish. and has a diploma! and i could never get my hair to do that.

she is so stylish. and has a diploma! and i could never get my hair to do that.

4. Psych Research Tess. the final version of me could have been a psychologist. not like, lie on this couch and tell me your worries. but a research psychologist, probably in the field of educational psychology. i was a psych major in college, and was pretty interested in research (hello, worked in it for three years, would not necessarily say no to going back into it one day). i suspect there is no psychologist barbie, but that version of me is so close to who i am now that…well, yeah, she is me minus the master’s in teaching and plus a master’s in policy work of some type.

at any rate. i am pretty sure that my choice to go into teaching is the right one for this universe. grad school has not been easy – it meant that my manfriend and i were agreeing to do mid-distance for the duration of graduate school after already being mid-distance for nearly the first full year of our relationship. it meant loans, and not saving a lot, and doing fewer fun things. but it also meant meeting one of my closest friends, and realizing how much i love being in a classroom and working with kids. SOLID WORK, THIS VERSION OF ME.

what would your alternate selves be up to?

to close:

for real. i love him.

for real. i love him.