I took a magnificent trip this summer.
It was not without its own difficulties. It was my first time leaving the country. My first time leaving my family for more than two or three days.
There were a lot of firsts.
I did not know how I would handle this trip. The growing, healing part of myself was ready to take this adventure head on. To prove to myself that I could.
The scared, anxious part of myself was worried. The What ifs?? were loud and present.
And a funny thing happened. The trip was not as idealistic and perfect as the growing, healing part of myself pictured. It also wasn’t as horrible or difficult or scary as the other part of me feared.
It was a realistic mixture of the two. I did this scary, hard thing. I had a great time. I had a few anxiety attacks. I dealt with them. I had fun. I was terribly homesick. I made new friends.
It was not until today, however, more than two months after arriving home, that I thought about something.
Tomorrow, I am kicking off my first year of teaching.
I am a perfectionist, and I struggle, daily, with insecurity. As I have imagined my first year of teaching, I find myself asking, How can I be more likable? How can I measure up to what this district is looking for? Will I be GOOD ENOUGH?
I was actually walking down the hall the other day, reflecting on a few people who always seem to have friends and whom every seems to like. What is it about those people that I lack?
You have to smile more! Stop trying to make dumb jokes. Look friendly. Don’t complain!
I walked down the hallway and saw someone approaching…Smile!! I told myself.
Today, I sat in my car, thinking about this moment. Well…more accurately, I was beating myself up over this moment.
And, that is when I thought about my trip.
A special, special thing happened on this trip…one that I really didn’t even recognize fully until this moment.
On this trip, I was uninhibitedly myself.
I did not encourage myself to smile more. I did not try to fit in. I just did. I had a good time. I was honest with others about my feelings and experiences. I didn’t overshare but I also didn’t hide or pretend.
I did not spend too much time worrying how to be enough for this group. I simply believed I was.
Ordinarily, I do not have that. …Not for myself.
Since my trip I have, on the whole, been feeling a lot better. Things have not been perfect.
My marriage is rocky and makes me sad. Empty. Lonely.
I struggle with the mess that is my home life. Kids who fight. A husband who nags and is never happy. I worry that I resent it all.
My little guy is recovering, finally, from a rough surgery and scary complications.
I’m starting a new job–one I am excited about, but one that also feels, at times, overwhelming and nerve wracking.
But, throughout all of these feelings and events, I have felt better. People have helped. I have had a person in my life who helps ground me. Who just reaches out and lets me vent and process if I need to. No strings attached. Just a genuinely caring, open friendship. This person has made a big difference to me.
(Never forget how powerful the actions of one person can be!)
I have others who I love, truly, and who I know love me. I am learning to trust and worry less about their commitment to our friendship.
So, as I start on with my new school year…a fresh, first year teacher in her second career, I need help remembering that I am good enough. I want to treat my new workplace like I did my trip–no need to hide who I am…just me, authentically good enough for the job I was hired to do.
I don’t want to get into my head. I don’t want to worry about what others think of me.
I know I will.
But I will strive to do it all a little less. Because now? Now I know it is possible.