Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Things I Wish I'd Known or Realized When I Was a Child

~Make friends with the things that go bump in the night. Doing so will make embracing the necessary balance or light and dark (both tangible and otherwise) easier. Also, it will save you money on future electricity bills.

~Don't be contrary for the sake of being different. We are all different in our own ways, so refusing to try something because you "don't like it" (even though you've never even had it before) doesn't do anyone any good. Try it once every seven years, too. Taste-buds change.

~Keep reading. Yes, reading aloud in class because you're forced to is embarrassing. That never changes. We were asked to volunteer to read something out loud at a work meeting the other day. No one jumped up for that, either. But keep reading. Even if you think you hate reading, eventually you will devour a book that consumes your imagination. That book will be your gateway drug into bigger and deeper stories. I promise, it won't be like reading in class or for an assignment. The only time-constraints will be set by you; no deadlines, no eyes of peers staring you down, no teachers telling you to "sound it out."

~Talk to your elders. Seriously. This is something I try to do every time I'm near the older members of my family (and did as a kid, but not nearly as much as I now realize I should have...) Ask them what life was like. Ask them to tell you stories that their grandparents told them. Ask if there are any family members that you don't know, and what are their stories? Embrace where you come from. In a world where we are told to embrace differences, but treat everyone like they are the same, having roots and knowledge of your own family can help you keep your bearings, and bring you back to yourself when you're confused.

~On that note...Get lost! Go somewhere you've never been before. Start small, though. Take a side road you've passed on the way home dozens of times, and have wondered where it lead, but never taken.

~Don't get into the habit of telling white lies to avoid hurting feelings only to turn around and talk about someone behind his or her back. It's a nasty habit (even if it was born of good intentions) that roots and grows as quickly as dandelions, and it's as difficult to overcome. There's no "weed killer" for this type of behavior.

~Stop telling everyone you can't, because your conviction is convincing your own self. My mother constantly told me that it was likely I got my inability to understand math from her, and it was my father who was the "math person" in our house. Making that comparison, and never wanting to be like him, I naturally accepted defeat, and grew up strengthening that belief as I told countless others that I couldn't "do math." When it clicked once in a while, I chalked it up to luck. Then, I stopped telling the world, and myself, that I was bad at math. What happened then was an incredibly uplifting and proud semester of Statistics in college. The same goes for my memory. It's faulty, of course it is; I'm human, but when I reduced the amount of times I told the world "I have a terrible memory," my recall was quicker and more varied.

~The world is not very big, but it will always feel HUGE if you never go anywhere.

~Everyone is weird. We all have our secrets. But there is at least one other person out there with the same secret, so you're not alone.

~Wishes DO come true, so choose those words wisely. Additionally, the rule of a wish taking 8 years for fulfillment is true. Be patient, but don't just wait for it to complete. Fill your time with other activities and things that you CAN control.

~You may envy others, but you are not the bottom man on the pole; there are others that want what you have. Similarly, realize you dislike that person because you see something in them that reminds you of you. Fix yourself, and you will gain that which you seek.

~Keep using your imagination. Just like muscles, your creativity can atrophy. Just like unused parts of your brain, like those neurons that have not been strengthened through regular practice, your imagination can dissolve. Don't let the harsh realities of the world embitter and jade you. Appreciate the wonder of the stars at night, keep the rusted gate song of the Red Wing Blackbirds in your heart, feel the warm embrace of the summer breeze, and see the magic in all that is within and without. There are always going to be people that don't understand and can't see it, but they are none of your concern.

~Above all, keep being you, in every incarnation. Change only for yourself.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Recovering My Soul

Teachers (proper teachers that take up the mantle out of self-curiosity and care for the education of others, not those that realize shortly after their first assignments that teaching isn't truly what they want to do) see everything. The collective knowledge through observation of the generations of teachers in our human world is astounding. They see what parents don't. They observe patterns students don't realize they display. Teachers are seers with the ability to help guide and mold us. Sometimes, their observations are so acute that one immediately dismisses the suggestion of a career out of fear ("That's too close to home." "That's too obvious, and would be too easy to achieve; there must be some sort of struggle!") or disbelief that someone known for a year or less can pinpoint one's destiny. Either way, one such observation has followed me throughout my life, beginning as far back as third or fourth grade.
What Miss Chaplinski, my art teacher, saw in me at such an early age I will never know. Yet, it was then the potential career of teaching was first put before me. How could a child inspire such a lofty thought to a grown up that one day she should lead inquisitive minds? All I wanted to do for the majority of school years was to be an artist or an actress. Why would I want to teach, having seen how disrespectful the majority of students were to every one of my teachers? I loathed school from second grade through junior year, and only found my happiness in acting, singing, or creating art. Why would I want to spend the rest of my life there, surrounded by others who most likely felt the same as I had? It was all very funny, as teacher after teacher tried to convince me it was the path I was meant to tread.
Now, I find they were right, in a way.
Sharing the random facts I seem to collect like so much dust in a cobweb softly clinging to the high corner of an old, closed-up room gives me joy nearly everyday at work. However, what I have come to realize is that teaching isn't always the drudgery of my formative years. Likewise, I have come to accept that my teachers and mentors were all right; I am a teacher. For better or worse, I share knowledge, guide minds, and (Goddess forfend!) lead people with information. They may all do what they will with the tools I give, as I have done. My library will swell (no difference in its life from its beginning), my adventures will contain comrades, and my solitary adventures will gain an extra bit of thought for the how and why to be added to discussions, my observations will be used for guidance of others' observations; which will morph as discussions ensue. For, now I have a small group of friends with inquisitive minds, asking I teach them what I know.
I don't know anything, though.
Life, experiences, and new information changes everything.
But I will gladly share what I have accumulated. My library is available to those who respect it. My experiences are open for discussion if they will assist in those of others. I will observe and guide and mold as those who have come to me with observations and guidance. And I will do my best to be present and true to myself throughout. For, what good is a teacher who doesn't even know herself? My experiences thus far in my short time in this life are varied and deep enough to convince me that I know exactly who I am. I suppose, now, I shall add "teacher" to this list of qualifiers.

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