With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, I have been fortunate enough to look back at my Facebook memories that inundate me with peeks into my past: my first turkey dinner, messages to my family while I was away at university, and public words of thankfulness regarding my health, my home, and the opportunities I was so fortunate to have.
I have a lot more than usual to be thankful for this year.
This year, I have had my family hold me together when I was supposed to break. They fed me when I couldn’t keep food down. They got me out of the house that was full of memories and wonder. They checked in on me when I wanted to just cut everyone out.
I had a small group of friends walk with me, and sometimes simply sit with me as I cried.
I had coworkers ease the anxiety of taking the time I needed to take care of myself.
And I had myself. I had my heart and my head pulling me in torentially different directions and I needed time and I needed to heal.
And I made a decision to love myself beyond the way I was loved.
So for that, I am thankful, today and every single day.
Today, I am going to Home Depot. I am a teacher on summer break and while I love my days of relaxation, time on the trails, and floating in the lake, it’s only fair that I do my part around the house too.
Today also marks three years since I got married.
And this week is the week that I file for divorce.
I didn’t wake up three years ago, wake up, and drive to the White Rock Pier with this week in mind. I didn’t put on a white dress and cute shoes and buy a ring and pay a damn officiant with this week in mind. I didn’t have my friends and family gather from around the continent to witness my profession of love for another person knowing that this week would someday come.
But it’s the reality. And the reality is that often, good things have to fall apart so better things can fall together.
It has been a hard year and a half and the best year and a half at the same time.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes cry. And it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still hurt. And it definitely means that I feel the tremendous conflict within myself screaming: “if it’s for the best, you cannot allow it to stay in your mind”.
I don’t know if I will ever truly be over it.
But do I have to be? Just because it is in the past doesn’t mean that it needs to be forgotten.
It has been a year and a half of doing the work. Of looking at myself hard in the mirror. Of making decisions that one would see as hard but are actually simple.
A year and a half without the person that promised to love me forever, and I am a better person for it. Exponentially better.
So today is a day. Today I am going to stain the patio set that my best friend made – at which we will share many meals and laughs and tears. For the home that we have fun sharing. For the life we are building. For the love that we are continuing to grow.
And the day will end. And the week will pass. And papers will be filed and the page of that chapter will turn for the very last time. With relief, readiness, and a deep breath, I’ll be free from the old life that I once thought was great. And I will continue to grow from the things I’ve experienced and I will continue to flourish in this next chapter that I will navigate.
And I will continue to become exponentially better.
Generous, strong-willed, silly
Partner to one, mother of none
An avid traveler, Sunday wanderer, spreading the love of life and learning to all
She tumbled hopelessly into love, overcome the excruciating agony of deflating defeat
But feared the lifelong regret in not pursuing dreams, the darkest places of her own mind, and losing the ones she loves most
Who bridged the gap between blood after loss, hurdled the high tides to chase her childhood reveries, and followed the broken compass to travel without aim
Hoped to make them proud, to well represent their name
Vancouver, Clarksville, Aubenas, Surrey – wherever the key in the door may turn
So today, I was an absolute gong show. Not my words, but rather the words of one of my 9th graders. “Madame, tu es un gong show”.
And I didn’t know how to react.
I’ve always known I’m a gong show. I’ve always embraced how scatterbrained I am and how my life goes 100 mph and doesn’t slow down for the speedbumps or crossing squirrels.
However, when I began my teaching program nearly two years ago, I knew that my “gong show” nature could be detrimental to my ability to succeed. It was all about trying to mask how real I was. If I have my life together in the classroom, it should all come together nicely.
Cue all the buzzers in the world here. Man, was I ever wrong.
What we need to be as teachers is real. Real human beings. I am not perfect. Should my students know that? Absolutely. I am a total gong show and I’ll be the first to admit it. I am the person that is stressing myself out right now. And is that normal? Who the heck cares.
So when my student called me a gong show today, I had to pause for a second, and then I said thank you. Thank you for acknowledging that I am as human as anyone else. Thank you for seeing my effort and knowing that some hurdles are beyond my control. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be myself in one of the most important domains of my life: school.
And among all the marking and lessons and handouts and analogies that were given out, I feel like being a gong show was the one thing I did absolutely right today.