Today I had as sort of spiritual awakening. Since December, and the last time I posted, I have been in a slump. I got so depressed about the events in Newtown that I felt like anything I could write was trivial. Then there was Christmas, busy and fun, then school started again in January. I am taking six classes, 18 credit hours and it is intense. I had been busy before, but I had made time for the things I enjoyed. In the last few months something felt different. I didn't feel like I deserved anything for myself. I felt like I had to do all those things on the list, on my syllabuses, and if I fell behind I would be lost. But I wasn't putting "me" into the work. The things I said and did were generic and, ironically, I was lost.
After not going to school last Thursday and a non-productive weekend, I decided I need to get it together. I reminded myself that I am in school and going to become an English teacher because it is what I love. English as a subject and the humanities in general are about helping people find out who they are and how they relate to the world. The last few days I have been putting so much more effort into everything I'm doing.
Then today happened. I woke up and had to write a rushed paper for my American Literature class. We had just finished reading some short stories and The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne and my response was due by 2:30. Luckily my teacher has this philosophy that "you are the writer" so we can basically write whatever we want as long as it doesn't suck. So I wrote my paper. And I put my heart into it. And I liked it. Until I got to school. Then I saw my teacher in the hallway and blurted out, "I wrote a really great short story in response to Hawthorne." And then she asked me to read it aloud in class. And I didn't think it was so great anymore. I started questioning everything I had written and got that dreadful knot of fear in the pit of my stomach. She said to think about it and we parted with an hour and a half before class.
So I get to class, and she looks at me. And it's that look. That teacher look of "You need to read your paper." I really didn't want to and I told her my thoughts on the matter. She asked me to come into the hall with her. There she talked to me the most honestly any teacher ever has. She said that she has been waiting all semester for the moment we had in the hall earlier that day. For the moment when a student gets it; when they connects with the literature. She said that I would be the axe that broke the thin layer of ice that had been covering our class. And I still didn't want to. I was terrified of rejection. She asked me "What is the worst that could happen?" and I replied that "the Earth could open up and I would fall into that deep pit." We laughed, and then seriously I said "People wouldn't like it." Which is a really serious thing to me. For some reason I strive for acceptance. But, in the moment, I decided that I liked my story, I thought it was good, and that was all that mattered. And so I read my story.
It feels silly writing about it now but I felt so empowered. I was telling my words that I had written with my heart and had come from my soul to these people. And they were listening to me. Granted, they were a captive audience, but they were listening.
I easily trap myself into comparing myself to others. Unfortunately it has gotten worse with blogging which partially another reason I haven't blogged lately. I felt like what I wanted to say wasn't important compared to what so many others were talking about. I decided that I don't care anymore. My words have power. Even if they are only read by me. My words are important.
I am me, and I am good.