Trust 30: Day 16
Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?
Write about that moment.
All my life I had wanted to teach. It was in my blood. My genetics. My grandfather taught and so did my father. My sister went on to teach and though my brother has never taught professionally he excels in teaching opportunities. It was only natural that I would be a teacher.
Of course, as a child, I entertained notions of accomplishing other ideals. I wanted to be Wonder Woman (red boots, who doesn’t love those?) and for a short while my heart was set on being a waitress. I was fascinated with waitressing. I loved the idea of taking orders and helping diners. Reciting daily specials and talking to all kinds of people. We didn’t eat out very often, at least if we did I don’t remember doing so. However, I do remember the waitresses and their nametags and uniforms — they all wore dresses back then.
I also remember when the realization struck me that I couldn’t do the job. It wasn’t the complaints of my mother who wanted me to have a “real job” — as if this made sense to me at the age of four years old. It wasn’t her insistence that it was hard job and this made no sense to her and irrational fears of my poor health. (y health was fine.) No. It was the time we went to Bob’s Big Boy and I slid into the booth and I noticed the waitress had “ugly shoes.” Then I looked around. They all had ugly shoes. Every single waitress had ugly shoes.
I was horrified.
From that time on, my life’s course was set. I would be a teacher just like everybody else in my family. And I wore many pairs of amazing shoes.
For most of my career I was happy and fulfilled. I loved going to work. I loved being in my classroom teaching. I enjoyed my students. I enjoyed creating curriculum. I loved it all. If I could stay, right there in that moment, teaching, I would. However, education has changed. No longer are we “allowed” to just teach. It was no longer my path I was on, and maybe it never was.
It first began as the path of my ancestors. It transitioned into my own. I forced it to be. I spent a great deal of my career pulling and tugging at a system, resisting conformity. And I was successful. But then the system caught up and was fencing me into and onto a path I didn’t believe in. Unfortunately, education doesn’t encourage path-cutters — it doesn’t matter how many Hollywood movies are made to make the public believe otherwise.
I’ve begun a new path. One I thought I wouldn’t be happy in and one I thought I would never find myself on. I have embraced where I have always wanted to be and have always ignored, and that is being home raising my kids. I teach at a university where I can design my own schedule around my son’s school schedule. I write when I feel like it. Sometimes former students who are now college graduates will contact me, and they will thank me for being different, for not conforming. And it reminds me why there is a time and place for events in my life.
|I also had a brief moment when I wanted to be a ballerina.|
When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new.
~~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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