I am not who I appear to be…

Elena Tucker
4 min readApr 19, 2019

This is not a complaint, but rather a confession — I am sort of flunking this life thing.

I am 55 years old, and honestly, I don't know how to do pretty much anything. And it's not like I'm so rich that other people do stuff for me, it's just I am flying by the seat of my pants. I've always felt this way.

When we emigrated to the States, I was a 12-year-old child who didn't know a lot of English, but made up for it by reading voraciously, and learning expressions and language from the TV, like everyone else. I was shaped by equal parts Bugs Bunny, Columbo, The Flintstones and Gilligan's Island. As I got older, I no longer had an excuse of having to learn a new language, but I have no idea how I graduated from high school - I still don't know. I talked to no guidance counselors, got no advice on scholarships or grants, and wrote no essays for colleges. My mother recommended that I study Respiratory Therapy, so that's what I signed up for, at Front Range Community College.

Classwork was easy - you are told what to study and you are told when you are going to be accountable for the things you've studied. However, when we had to do internships in the hospitals, real work with real people was terrifying. I had to administer medication, and be responsible for people’s health, and I hated it.

And later, when I got into graduate school, I lucked out - I didn't have to take GREs to get admitted - no tests at all like that - I applied and got in (I love you, Southeast Missouri State University, because you were easy!). When I started my Master’s program, I saw a flyer advertising a job for the school that came with full tuition. The job was working on university publication and public relations documents – like descriptions of programs, colleges, and special events. So, I could graduate with no debt, and get paid to write? I applied as quickly as I could, and scoured the campus to tear down every other flyer about this job, so I would have less competition. Ethics be damned - I wanted that job, and I got it. To this day it was, hands down, the best job I've ever had, with one of the best bosses I had the honor of working under.

Yet I felt, and still feel as though I got everything by luck. I fell into that or I found this, purely accidentally. I spent my days living by the seat of…

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.