I wrote yesterday because I needed to exorcise the residual bits and pieces of hurt feelings. And I have to admit that I felt pitiful. But I wanted to show that my son is an amazing young man but to do so I wanted to build in the context.
I edited that post over and over and over again, trying to find the right words that would reflect the fact that I’m really not that upset, just kind of staring at a bruise on my overly sensitive emotional skin. But that in order to process and then release the emotions, I needed to talk to someone. I didn’t want someone who was going to step on my feelings and tell me that I was being childish.
I already knew that.
And I didn’t want someone to gush over my feelings and try to give me a sugar-coated piece of love. Not at that moment. I needed someone who was going to hear me and then diplomatically remind me to realign my emotional axis and keep on spinning through my school-year-long-orbit.
And that person was my son.
So I wrote my post. And I felt really worried because this wasn’t one of my normal posts that is happy-go-lucky, all-is-great-in-the-world-post. And I fretted and fretted and fretted. Because I was worried that in shoving away my hurt feelings I might hurt someone else.
Instead, when I came home from school and turned on my computer, my Facebook world bubble of notifications had a double digit number beside it.
And when I clicked on that, the goodwill messages, the kind outpouring of loving thoughts, the likes and the loves…
They were so beautiful and overwhelming and kind and wonderful and….well…
Former students wrote loving messages that reminded me that allowing a few students to hurt my feelings was nothing in comparison to the love that others will quickly offer and extend. Friends and family members also penned compassionate statements, encouraging words.
All night, I kept on flitting between Facebook and my WordPress stats page (that was booming) and my email. I kept on waiting for the world to implode.
Instead, it kept on circling and I found that I was so humbled.
I just wanted to banish the silly-hurt-feeling-emotions that were hindering me from seeing beyond the silly-hurt-feeling-emotions. And my son effectively did this. And then my friends and family and former students just poured out the love that I didn’t know I needed to see.
But I did.
I tell my students that I believe in construction over destruction. I am quick to tell them that I care about them and that I believe that they can do great things. But it’s hard for me to hear something like this about myself. I like to live in the shadows. And last night, I was thrust into a spotlight I’m not used to inhabiting.
But I must tell you, all of you, how incredibly grateful I am. Because today, I flowed through my classroom inhabited by my students and I didn’t think about hurt feelings or the catalyst for hurt feelings. I thought about my students and what they were writing and how I could help them with their writing. I thought about the words they had written and the words I was speaking to them and chose to be who I want to be.
I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t want to be a twisted person because of a few words I wasn’t supposed to see. I had my emotional reaction. And I processed it. And I am past it.
But I am not past the outpouring of kindness nor do I want to be past the outpouring of kindness. I want, instead, to take the force of all of this love and compassion and pour it out on my students, on the people who surround me. Because the love that was given to me would do nothing if I held it closely, hoarded every good and kind word that has been said to me in the last 24 hours.
Today, as I was cleaning my desk, I found a note from Karina, a note I had written about a year ago when she brought me a strawberry banana smoothie. I kept the note because I wanted to have a reminder of this lovely young woman who went out of her way to do something kind and good for me. Yesterday, she wrote something lovely for me on her Facebook wall and I still don’t feel that I deserve such goodness. I taught her. I read books to her and with her. She told me stories and I listened. I treated her the way I would want to be treated.
But she, instead, turned around and just gave back to me so much more than I ever gave to her.
And then, Meg posted the picture I wrote about, the yellow chalk picture on cranberry red walls. And she posted the link to the blog post and the former students who were in the picture all wrote about how much they missed one another. Missed me.
I gave them a blank canvas on which to draw a picture. It was the end of the school year and it was chalk and nothing was permanent. But that picture was drawn on my heart, much like the words that exist in cyberspace are tattooed my arteries, on my capillaries.
So that the love that was shown to me yesterday and today will pulse through me and out of my fingertips and out of my words and I will do my best to improve my corner of the world.
Emily, dearest Emily, my Wendy sewed my shadow back on my toes this morning. She heard me and my anxieties and she validated my anxieties. And then I gave her my cell phone number. And we talked about hiking and camping this summer. And then we talked about literature and AP and summer reading assignments.
And the peace of the day waxed over me and I settled into my seat and knew that it was well with my soul.