A little less than four years ago, I wrote the first post to what I hoped would be the blog I finally shared with people. I’d started and abandoned several. As I reread it today, I still feel just as strongly about my work with gifted students as I did then.
And here we are, eons later, with the second post, at a time in my life when I’m trying to move beyond classifying myself as the label associated with my profession and figure out who I really am. Spring Break affords the time to think, to write, to publish.
I tend to put my thoughts about a lot of issues, education-related or not, on Facebook or in my paper journal because depending on what I have to say, I either want to spark a conversation or make a point or I want to just get it out of my system so I don’t carry it around with me–sometimes my thoughts are heavy. But several times in the past week someone asked if I had a blog…and thought I really should.
I follow a number of blogs relating to personal development, spirituality, mindfulness, and a theme over the past few days has been the story we tell to the world. I began to wonder, what’s my story? What’s the story I share with the people in my life, and those who randomly show up?
Is my story the one about the only child now trying to be a caregiver while holding down a job I love and trying to have a life of my own at the same time full of guilt for not giving enough, being there enough, doing the right things enough?
Is my story the one about the grown woman carrying around word-seared scars from long ago that still ramble around unattended in her head, reminding her she’s less than, not enough, fat, and far too stupid to accomplish much who just wants to be what makes people happy.
Is my story the one about the almost mid-40-year-old woman who has to check the box for “single” when filling out forms, but really is for all intents and purposes married to someone she never wants to be apart from?
Is my story the one about the teacher turned pseudo-admin who has to walk a fine line between friendship and work while navigating the rocky coast of finding friends at 40?
Is my story the one about the pseudo-admin who cringes at the words “assistant principal” because the connotation of those words imply that my role is to punish and discipline kids and not support them through a learning opportunity?
Is my story the one about the woman buried beneath a mountain of student loans, enduring judgment from well-meaning friends when she declines offers to go out, while trying to make it seem like she has her shit together but is selling off belongings to make it to payday and internally jealous of people who can leave work to take three week-long vacations to Europe without a care in the world, planned on the spur of the moment…or hell, just the person who can call a repairman to fix the oven that died the night before?
Is my story the one of the gifted education session presenter who worries that she was chosen because there was an extra opening and nothing she has to say is really all that important or will be taken seriously, who glides on ribbons of happiness for days when people actually show up to listen to what she’s sharing, nodding in agreement with faces upturned and bright with the words “preach sister!” on their lips, who waits on pins and needles for feedback about how everyone else thought the presentation went that never comes?
Is my story the one about the woman trying to figure it all out, trying to make time to meditate, practice yoga, and walk a little more, seeking support through reiki and acupuncture because they don’t judge her for being a bit fluffy and don’t prescribe drugs that never get to the heart of what’s going on, masking the symptoms and letting me think that everything’s fine when it’s still so very much not?
Is my story the one about the introvert who is kind of afraid to leave the house sometimes because it’s so much simpler and safer to binge watch West Wing because at least there, people are invested in their work for all the right reasons and crises are solved in 43 minutes and I know how it all ends?
More than one friend has brought up the idea of the “masks” we wear in our everyday lives and how we change them based on who we are with and what situations we’re in. Mine? I have a whole trunk-full, and they’re awful heavy to carry around:
The daughter, the girlfriend/wife, the teacher, the coach, the pseudo-admin, the friend, the yogini, the skeptical-yet-hopeful meditator, the 10-year-old-girl with 30-year-old scars with voices, the presenter, the couch-potato-Netflix-binger…
The stories and masks we choose to share with the world matter because they define who we want to show in a given moment and how we are perceived…and they determine the direction that our lives take, whether we’re always the victim or sometimes the hero or usually the good guy.
So what’s your story?