Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Let them fall beneath you.

Your pockets are heaving with the weight
of the words that you've taken to collecting.

Sentence fragments are threaded through the seams,
weaving in and out in the hopes that
something beautiful will come from what
weighs you down.

But not all words are meant for the arch of your voice
or the tilt of your shoulders when you whisper.

There is warmth when you speak,
and your mouth has room for nothing less.

Those words that don't fit in the crease of your smile?

You've carried them long enough.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Reflecting on Reflections

I am sitting tucked into a corner of a hotel conference center, allowing my INFJ self some space to decompress. The letter I wrote to myself at the end of my first year of teaching is open in my lap and I can already feel the string in my chest that gauges how close I am to tears pull tight. 

"I hope you're smiling more this year."

I remember sitting at my desk with my head buried in my arms during the last few weeks of the year. I would breathe into my arms and try to let each frustrated and exhausted thought pass, unsure of what to label whatever was going on inside of me. The day's events would spin inside of me and I would wait for anything to settle. Knots on knots on knots.

"I hope you're able to laugh at how seriously you take yourself when you read this."

Yep. That sounds like me.

I am, and always have been, hyperaware of my shortcomings. My thoughts loop in reflection of who I've been, who I am, and who I'm becoming. I reflect on interactions with friends, family, colleagues, and students. My internal dialogue doesn't quit. As a result, I take myself way too seriously.

I'm trying though. I have some wildly and wonderfully goofy humans in my life that pull me from the trenches of contemplation. I love them and thank them for that often.

"I hope you've found your footing."

During this morning's session at the Iowa Council Teachers of English Conference, Jenny Paulsen spoke about the deep insecurities we often hide as people. The remnants of last year began to spin again inside of me. I don't know what I'm doing. Am I terrible at this and no one is telling me? Why can't I handle this year with the same stride that others seem to be able to?

Insecurity runs rampant in this brain of mine. 

But this field of marigolds see something valuable in me. They see whatever it is that I want to see in myself, and this makes my heart hurt with joy.

ICTE tribe, you have provided me more than just a place to find my pedagogical footing.

You have provided me friendships, and I thank you so unbelievably much for that.