I’ve been avoiding writing lately. Why? I do not know. Other than, it is always easier for me to write–or really, necessary, for me to write, when I am depressed or hurting.
And, perhaps, that it is it. I am not depressed and hurting any more.
Don’t get me wrong. My stress level as of late has been pretty incredible. There is no tired like end of the school year tired. My days have been a blur of field trips, field days, graduations, assemblies, parties, and behaviors.
It has been EXHAUSTING, and I have been in total survival mode.
But, unlike years past, this feels like a fleeting moment in time, not who I am, and not because of anything I have done wrong. Nope. It’s just a crazy, end of the teaching year rite of passage.
Today, I hugged all of my students goodbye and told them how special they have all been to me. And, it is true. They have challenged me in ways that I didn’t know possible. I have doubted myself, cried, felt overwhelmed and like a failure. But I have also grown, learned, and laughed more with them than I ever thought I would.
It was a HARD year, in so many ways.
First year teaching. Relationship turmoil and an almost-divorce. Not to mention the gaping, open wounds that led me to counseling in the first place.
I am so proud of myself tonight.
I survived it all.
I was not perfect. Not always graceful. I drank more wine and ate more chocolate than I should have. I made bad choices this year. I struggled and bitched and complained.
But, I also made it.
Everyday, I kept going forward…and trust me, there were some days where forward seemed too hard and too far away. Some days where I just wanted to fucking quit.
…but, I didn’t.
I kept going. I kept sitting on my counselor’s couch. I kept plowing through my work day, even when I felt alone and unsupported. Even when I had to pretend I knew what I was doing.
I kept treating those childhood wounds. Poking at them. Asking, Why are you so stuck? WHY? Why can’t you let go and move on? Why is your pain your identity?
I never found those answers. Nope. Instead, I gave myself permission to just be OKAY with who I am. With me.
I gave myself the permission to sit back and realize that I am no longer living a life that requires me to walk on egg shells each and every day.
I have a special group around me. A safe group. With time, I have come to realize that these are the people who I can talk to, vent to, cry with, and hurt with. They are safe–but everyone else does not automatically deserve that level of trust or intimacy. Why would they?
And the most powerful part about that is that I also realize that that no longer has anything to do with me. It is about those other people–their reactions, values, and loyalties.
This year, I have discovered my own worth. My own power.
My pain is no longer my identity.
While the last month of school has been about survival and has been chaotic and HARD, I have not internalized any of that.
And, that is where the real power is.
Days can be shitty. They can be hard. They can make me want to cry. But those days? Those days don’t define who I am either. They are fleeting feelings. Feelings that I am allowed to feel…and then release.
Yes. I have learned so much this year. I don’t think I ever thought I’d ever really be at the point I am at now.
But, I am.
I am here.
I am free.
Tired, but free.
And, I am more me than I have ever been.