Friday, April 17, 2009

The Shock Value of Self-Discovery

Anybody that knows me in reality (and there are some of you here, although I've had the great pleasure of getting to know a lot of people through their blogs and their comments on this blog ... isn't technology grand : )?) is aware that I have some self-esteem issues, that I view myself as a very weak person.

I have just had the hardest week of my life, and (again if you know me in reality) that's saying a lot. However, I've somehow found steel within myself that I had no idea existed when I had to be the person that someone else was leaning on instead of constantly leaning on other people. I am very proud of myself, and while part of me feels that it's arrogant to write that (and part of me can't believe that I actually feel that way), I think it's an important lesson that I need to share.

The thing is, it's really easy to depend on other people to get you through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, though, you are forced to be the rock. I have to play that role all the time in my professional life (and I think I do it pretty effectively) and of course with my children, but my personal life has always been characterized by me being the weak one, the one always screwing up, the one not knowing where to turn or how to dig out of the myriad holes I fell into (and more often than not they were holes that I dug myself, usually unaware).

This sounds almost creepy, but it's like I'm suddenly on a higher plane of existence. I don't know how else to describe it. It's like looking at the world a different way, of realizing that I have control over a heck of a lot more than I thought and that I can help fate (or ka ... or destiny ... or God ... or whatever you want to call it) out.

I guess what I'm saying is, I always thought of "growing up" as being something that happens all of a sudden when you're eighteen or so (I of all people should have known better, since I'm pretty sure I was less mature when I was twenty-one than I was when I was twelve ...). It's nice to know that maturity is constant and evolving in the same way that learning is, that you can gain value from every single mistake--yours and others'--, and that the person that can surprise you the most is often you.

And it's an amazing feeling to be proud of what you've found within yourself. Just amazing.

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...