My Leap List

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Growing Pains and Mary Poppins

      It's hard to have growing pains.  I hated them as a child, and I hate them now.  Even when I know the pain leads to better things.  The past few weeks have been some of the hardest I have been through.  I let two events in two days get in my head.  I felt like a failure.  I got stuck in my head and let the voices convince me I wasn't good enough or strong enough or smart enough or any enough.  I started my comprehensive exam and found myself at a place I have never been before.  I was frozen.  I couldn't do anything.  It seemed better to fail because I didn't try than try my hardest and fail anyway because failure seemed inevitable.  I tried everything that worked before, but nothing helped.  Mandy told me about her experience with the same thing and the regrets she still had because of it.  It was actually a blessing to truly understand what kids go through when they feel this way because this was a part of life I never understood as a teacher.  It will make me a more compassionate person.  
     I finished it, and I failed.  They gave me one last chance.  2 weeks.  Rewrite and revise.  Get a 215 or be done.  Give up a lifetime dream.  I was scared.  I was stressed.  No sleep and so many responsibilities at work and home.  I decided it wasn't meant to be.  I told my family and my friends it was time to give up.  John came back enough to beg me not to give it up.  I wasn't sure if I could even finish it at that point.  Luckily I work for two amazing ladies that gave me time off so I could finish it.  I got my score last night and got a 215 from one evaluator and a 218 from the other.  Mandy said I must have angels looking out for me to get the exact score I needed to pass.  She also said she didn't know my teeth had skin since I passed by the skin of my teeth.  It made me laugh.  I meet my dissertation chair later this morning.  I was hoping for a day or two to just rest and breathe, but life has other plans.
     Next week I am leaving two schools I love.  I'm old enough to know that some friendships stay with you for life, but most slowly fade with distance and time. It makes me sad to start again when I just felt like I found home, but I am trusting in a bigger power than my own.  I am trusting these growing pains will lead to new adventures with new friends, new challenges, and new rewards that I can't yet imagine.  I am also trusting that everything will work out exactly the way it is supposed to be because it always does.  The darkest hours bring the brightest dawn.  John told me I am Mary Poppins.  When the wind turns I fly off to help the next children who need me the most.  For some reason, that image makes the growing pains seem worth it all.   

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Let it Go

      There is nothing worse than being unable to help someone you love.  It is even harder when the hurt is on the inside where no one can see it.  The boy I love has been fighting this battle for so many years.  He is so tired and so lost.  I don't know what to do to help him and neither does anyone else.  So many doctors and so many medicines.  Nothing makes it better.
     The little girl in me wants to scream and run away.  She wants to leave all of this behind and start over in a new place.  The grown up part of me is trying to hold us all together.  I know something has to give.  It looks like it might be time to let go of the dream I have been working on.  I have known this for a while, but haven't wanted to face it.  But every time I try to push through it, things get worse.  It's probably time to let it go and focus on the people who need me.    

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Woman's Worth

     Tonight my daughter read me online comments about Elliot Roger.  I was horrified at the things people were saying about women they didn't know.  Of course online comments from anonymous people are not reliable sources of information, but it makes me sad that their comments mirror so many news stories lately.
     I want my daughter to know that she has worth because of who she is, not because of how she looks, who she chooses to share her body with or who she chooses not to be with.  I want her to be strong enough to make her own decisions and be proud of who she is.  I see so many people her age defining themselves by men.  Some are marking time until finding completion in a man.  Others have sex thinking they are controlling their lives and calling the shots while living with the harsh judgments of both men and women.  Others are called horrible names because they don't want to have sex with anyone.
     I want her to know that she has the power to decide what is best for her in her own time, not anyone else's time.  It doesn't matter how rich, handsome, polite, or how anything a person is.  That doesn't obligate her to sleep with anyone.  She has value because she is smart, funny, talented, caring, empathetic, and so many other qualities that have nothing to do with her body.
     I can't change the world's view, but I can give her the strength to keep from being broken by the world's misogynistic views.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bandaids Don't Fix Symbolic Blisters

     Writing has always been my solace.  Processing life lessons instead of rushing headlong into the next big adventure.  Sometimes I avoid it so I don't have to feel.  Sometimes I avoid it as a punishment for the things I do wrong.  This week reminded me that hubris is still my fatal flaw. Trying to be perfect so no one needs to question the real me.  Kind of a Dorian Gray thing.  When Luke's mom told me I wasn't enough, it hurt me really bad.  Not just because she saw me for who I believe I am, but because I love Luke so much. 
     Reliving this experience over and over this week shows I need to embrace the process, not just the final results.  This is really hard for my perfectionist side, but it's a lesson I have been sorely needing.  So, I am sharing the process even though it is still painfully raw.  This is an imperfect version of me.  I am willing to do things for others that I would never do for myself.  I need to work on valuing myself.  Loving people so much is a strength, but it is a weakness when I let my value rise and fall with others' opinions.  Conflict is hard, but it is devastating for the other person when you make a final decision before they know things aren't okay.  I need to deal with conflict openly and with firm love so I don't cause more damage for someone else later.  Some teachers don't stay in our lives once the lesson is taught, but that doesn't make your love less real. 
      I have been trying to wear all kinds of different shoes the past few weeks to find some that will stop hurting my poor feet.  My feet are covered with blisters - the bottoms, the tops, the heels.  No matter what I do or how many bandaids I wear, nothing has helped.  A sign I can "run" all I want through life trying to be everything to everyone, but in the end, it hurts the people I love and it hurts me.  I get so busy saying yes to everything that I forget it means I am saying no to the most important things in my life.  I am literally hobbling through life, so I better learn this lesson before I can't walk at all.  Irony loves my life, but I never expected my Snoopy bandaids to join in.       

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The In-between Moments

    Today there is so much suffering and so much celebration for my friends.  There are reasons to celebrate today - birthdays, anniversaries, babies, weddings, and survival.  There are also reasons to mourn this day - deaths, struggles, illness, and injuries.  My friend's little grandson fell into a campfire a few days ago.  His injuries are so severe, he will go into surgery tomorrow to amputate part of his hands.  As I am thinking of her and the baby, I am thinking of all of us.  Spinning in space together on a trip through the universe.  Any moment can be the moment we dread or the moment we hope for.  And in those times, we turn to each other to help us celebrate and to help us mourn.  If only we turned to each other in the in-between moments.