I am incredibly blessed and humbled. After my last post about leaving my beloved classroom and school, I expected a lot of guilt. I expected a lot of resistance from everyone telling me not to leave, the kids need me, etc. I didn’t get any of that.
Not. One. Single. Person.
Instead I got a lot of “Good for you” and “Congratulations” and “You’ll be so much happier,” and my favorite, “Welcome to the rediscovery of YOU!” What???? After 20 years, I guess I thought that it would be the end of the world if I left the classroom. That I was indispensable. Not that I think the education system would collapse without Ms. Arnold, but that there would be some resistance.
I ran into my former principal at Costco (our regular running-into-each-other place), and she had seen my post and gave me the biggest hug and said how happy she was for me. If you know Connie Gwinn, you know that she was a strong leader for Hill for 9 years. She retired almost 3 years ago to stay home and be “Grandma,” but her heart and her support and love for the school are still felt throughout Hill and the cluster. She also taught in that same area for over 20 years before becoming a principal, so many of the families had already known her from when they were students themselves. There was a wonderful family feel to the school and the staff, because even if she was upset with you, it was like you were dealing with your own mom, you knew you were still loved and supported. So there in the middle of Costco, I got a big Connie Gwinn hug and I knew she understood. I knew I had made the right choice. Tom supported me. My Mom supported me. Connie Gwinn supported me.
It’s difficult to trust your gut, at least it has been for me.
I’m currently reading a lot of Brene Brown. She’s similar in age, but I don’t know that it matters. She is well-known for her TED talk on shame, but her book The Gifts of Imperfection has spoken to my soul. I have spent a lot of time striving for “perfection.” The right answers, the best mom, the best teacher, the best partner, the best daughter and it has stifled me and not fully allowed me to be myself….my flawed and imperfect self. In this book there is a chapter about letting go and the need for certainty (not something I have been doing). She says,
“I found that what silences our intuitive voice is our need for certainty. Most of
us are not very good at not knowing.”
I am horrible at this. I want to know the good, the bad, the hurtful…I absolutely HATE not knowing! However, my drive for “knowing” has been drowning out that intuitive voice, that little voice that talks to you and makes you feel vulnerable. If I feel vulnerable, I might fail and then maybe I won’t be the “best” anymore.
Have you ever said any of the following to yourself when making a decision?
“I’m just going to do it. I don’t care anymore.”
“I’m tired of thinking about it. It’s too stressful.”
“I’d rather just do it than wait another second.”
“I can’t stand not knowing.”
This is how my life was sounding on every decision I was making. I no longer trusted myself because I believed I wasn’t “enough.”
[Yes, this is really good stuff and I’m really working at being vulnerable and it really scares the hell out of me.]
Brene goes on to say a couple more important things about trusting our intuition,
“When we charge headlong into big decisions, it may be because we
don’t want to know the answers that will emerge from doing due diligence.
We know that fact-finding might lead us away from what we think we want.”
It’s scary to put yourself out there. I’ve been really comfortable in staying in the same place and in the same room and at the same grade level for 20 years. Comfortable is HUGE when you’re a teacher (including shoes!). It also made me very complacent. I knew it and my gut told me so and I was really trying to ignore it. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t being “the best.” It became really scary when I wasn’t sure if I would be disappointing the ones I cared about. I can’t tell you how uplifting it has been to feel and read the outpouring of love and support. My gut and intuition were correct.
Brene’s definition of intuition says,
“Intuition is not a single way of knowing–it’s our ability to hold space for
uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed
knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason.”
The possibilities are endless and I just needed to realize that I was limiting myself when I refused to let go.