In today’s welcoming #solTuesday post, Kelsey Corter asked us to write ourselves an affirmation that could temper the swells of the rapidly passing school days that flood us with feelings of “not ____ enough”.
I have felt these powerful swells, and absolutely have felt like I’m at the mercy of this whole passage of time thing. That feeling of not being able to articulate and share thoughts amongst this swirliness is pretty present for me these days, so I think I have an affirmation for myself… but first I have to tell you about last Friday’s All School Meeting.
Our entire school community comes together in our Central Area every Friday morning for an All School Meeting. It’s important to us, and it’s part of our fabric. It’s what we do. This past Friday’s ASM was specifically orchestrated to celebrate the old Central Area of our old school (an old log cabin built in 1970) and to dedicate our “new” Central Area (in our new school that was built four years ago). I’ve been teaching at our school for sixteen years, and the old school was really where I cut my teeth and “became” a teacher. My principal asked me and two other teachers to write and share a little something about the old Central Area as we would dedicate this newer space to community, tradition, and moving forward.
So I wrote a little something.
I knew as I was writing that piece that I would have to read it out loud in front of (roughly) 135 students, 20 teachers, and countless invited and esteemed members of our larger community. I also knew that there was an 93% chance of me breaking down and fully crying in public.
“What? Really?” you might ask me, “You’re 39 years old, have been doing this teaching gig for 16 years, can manage to teach public yoga classes to adults, and you can’t even stand up and share some intelligible love for your school and your community?”
Yup. No way.
Public displays of gratitude are huge emotional triggers for me. Like, the biggest. I have yet to be successful publicly communicating my heartfelt thoughts to others without beginning to shake, knowing that my face is turning red, feeling that ominous sensation of heat rise from my chest to my forehead, feeling tears well up and cloud my vision, and hearing my voice hitch and bounce as I fight to maintain control. It’s just not a skill that I have, and it is an opportunity that I shy away from like I would a hot burner on a stove. No, thank you!
But, this upcoming gathering was important to my heart, and it was important to me to be personally asked to participate. In the comfort (and safety) of my own living room, I thought and I wrote. I jotted my thoughts, I organized my thoughts, I reread my thoughts, and then took a few rounds of revision and editing before being satisfied with the result. Knowing my proclivity towards public displays of blubbering, I practiced saying my words out loud again and again and again. When I could get through the whole thing without that hitching feeling rising in my chest, I figured I’d be fine on Friday morning.
Boy, was I wrong.
As soon as I took my turn and stood up in front of that packed circular space, I looked out at hundreds of smiling, loving, and expectant faces, and I knew I was a goner.
I started sniffling before the end of the third sentence.
Now, in my mind, I was a wicked blubbering mess throughout the entire ordeal, but lots of folks came up to me afterwards and asked for their own copy of my writing. It turns out that they could understand my message through all of the deep breaths and embarrassed laughter, and really connected to the love that I was trying to share. They thanked me for my emotions and they thanked me for my words. These really are my people, and I am beyond lucky to be a part of this community.
So. Back to that affirmation…
I have valid thoughts and feelings, and I can share them with others.
PS: If you want to read what I shared, here ya go…