Monday, May 16, 2011

Balance: 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = Me

I had an epiphany at a teacher retreat I went to last weekend. It's easy to dismiss it as kind of "touchy feely" (the candle in the center of a circle doesn't help the argument), but it's been a great opportunity for me.

I feel like I've finally gotten to know myself, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Simple. Mathematical, even. I've tried counseling before, both for attempting to get over a major trauma and in an ultimately fruitless effort to save my marriage. Counseling didn't help one iota ... but the teacher retreat just *wham* did it for me.

Suddenly, I realized who I am.

1/3 Mother
This is, of course, the most important part of my life. Addie and Belle are absolutely the joy of my existence, and I strive to always be the best mother I can be for them. I'd say that I do a pretty good job here, and my children get the very best of me.

1/3 Teacher
The part of me that is a teacher is also pretty impressive. I convey knowledge about reading, writing, and thinking to my students. I care about my students, and they know this. I strive to present lessons in interesting, memorable ways that students will remember and carry with them as they (hopefully) become lifelong learners. My goal is that no student will leave my class unarmed in terms of that "lifelong learner" thing, and I think I'm pretty successful there.

And then, of course, there is that final third, the piece of me that allows the other 2/3rds to be so fine and noble.

I have a self-destructive, impulsive, daredevil, utterly ridiculous streak a mile wide accompanied by a devil-may-care attitude that does not show up in my life as a mother or a teacher. I hate these things about myself, absolutely hate them, and for a long time I wanted to destroy this part of me.

But then, in the midst of the "circle of trust", I realized that I would not be the mother I am, would not be the teacher I am, if I was good and calm and so on and so forth in that third part of my life.

When it's just me, myself, and I, I court trouble. I totally do. I flirt with danger. I push the envelope. I'm not proud of it, nor am I happy about it. And I've actually gotten infinitely better over the years, believe it or not.

Oh yeah, one other thing ... that final third of me? That is the writer.

And I'm not sure how I feel about that ...