Good Enough to Give it Time
I am a teacher and a vice principal, working in the inner city where the majority of the students suffer from severe behavioral and/or emotional disorders. It is a stressful job, but also a rewarding job. I have a tremendous amount of patience, and I am good at seeing the potential in people. As an English 30 teacher, I have an important role in seeing students graduate, and it makes me feel good. It also makes me feel good to see my students develop their potential as writers and critical thinkers. I am so proud of them, and I wish them all well in life. I firmly believe that education is for everyone, and it is especially important to educate those who may not have had opportunities in the past. It is never too late to learn, and it is never too late to bridge gaps. Some students come from families where education was not important, some students come from families that have been torn apart so the parent does not want to push them to attend school, and some students come from backgrounds that middle class people cannot even begin to imagine.
It is summer holidays, and I have been off work now for a week. My estranged husband and I have an arrangement over the summer where we alternate weeks with the younger kids. The first week was his, and it gave me time to reflect on some of the things I have learned over the past nine months since our separation.
To start, I learned that I like to dance. While dancing, I do not have to think about anything, and I can be entirely in the moment. Years back, when I was on maternity leave, I remember watching Ellen, and she always had a segment where she played Lady Gaga’s “Let’s Dance”. It was always fun and she was always right: dancing does make everything okay. So, when I do not have my younger daughters, I go out and dance. I like rock and roll and blues because the music is gritty and the structure is loose. I also like Latin dancing because I admire the rhythms and the smoothness in how the dancers move their hips and feet. I have no training as a dancer, and I have no interest in taking a class, because that would take something fun and turn it into work. I just like to hear the music and let my body respond.
I have learned to accept myself and to be present. If I need to cry, I will cry, and I will not be ashamed because it is good to feel. I am forty-four years old, and like fine wine, I do think I am getting better with age. Many blogs ago, I wrote about gaining weight and losing weight; I have maintained my weight loss, and I feel good. There is a certain weight range for every height, and I am towards the lower end, but I am still within the healthy range. I do eat more than I did in the fall, but I have maintained good habits: I rarely drink pop or eat sugary foods, I don’t usually eat after supper, I watch my portions, and I eat a lot of salmon, eggs, and vegetables. In addition, I have maintained my exercises from physical therapy: core exercises that eventually helped to cure my sciatica and leg exercises that helped to cure my damaged hamstring muscle. I feel healthy, and that has given me confidence. Also, I continue to read a lot, and I do feel that I am getting smarter and wiser as time plods along.
Along with being present in the moment, I have learned to try new things. I tried learning how to play the guitar, and I didn’t really like it a whole lot. Maybe with lessons I would; however, it got me back into playing the piano again, and I enjoy that. There is something therapeutic about the repetition of practicing technique and learning new songs. While learning guitar, I realized I had to sing. I recorded myself one time, and there were parts that were okay and parts that were not okay because I was off key and/or ran out of breath. So, I decided to take singing lessons. And, I am so happy I did. I have only been taking lessons for just over a month now, but I have learned exercises to help control my breathing and to use my whole body to sing. I had never thought of singing that way before, so it was an eye opener to me. I enjoy it because I can practice breathing and singing while I am driving in my van or when I am cleaning my house. My goal is to eventually feel comfortable enough to sing on stage because I have suffered from severe stage fright all my life. To conquer that would be an accomplishment for me. Tonight, I sang for my seven year old and eight year old, and they are a tough audience. If I can sing for them, I think I can sing for other people.
Finally, I learned to set boundaries for myself. I know that everyone has something they need to work on, just as I have things to work on, and I cannot allow someone else’s struggles to become my own. People will say mean things because they are close-minded or they do not know any better, and I, as a sensitive person, have learned not to take another person’s struggles to heart. I always do everything with the best intentions, and I am not out to hurt other people or get revenge; I just do not think that way. I have class, I carry on, and I try to grow to be the best person I can. At the same time, I do have a shell around me. When I go out, I do get hit on and asked for my phone number, but I do not feel the need to respond. I have a male friend who talks to me about his dates, and then he seems to feel bad as he asks me if I have been on any dates. I tell him that in time I will, but I just do not feel the need right now. I am happy being single, and I feel that I am good enough to give it time.