I have thought "Break me on life's wheel," would be a good adage for my life, and I have tried to live that way-- so much so that I thought for a long time I'd paint a giant canvas full of cogs and wheels, to remind myself. I try to live as fearlessly as I can-- for my students and for myself. Live so hard, so outside the usual, so big-- that the calendar, the wheel of events itself runs right off its post.
It's good to break. It's good to lean in to pain and tragedy. I'm trying, when things from outside and inside just pulverize me. But it's so much easier to redirect pain into something nicer.
Today I was in a really low place. I left the Library, to go see teachers and kids, who were excitedly setting up for an after-school Halloween party. I thought I would stay, but I couldn't even manage to help them. I was down, actually heartbroken. Too much tragedy in my kids' lives, a story that I have become aware of that feels too close to home. I took my sour face out of there, and was walking back to the Library when a colleague needed a break in the ISS room. It was on my way. I stopped, went into the ISS room, while he ran out for a second.
A kid said something dumb. I redirected him. Another kid said-- "Don't disrespect Ms. May. She's like-- the mother of the school." And then the kids started to argue over which powerful, beautiful colleague of mine was the "real" mother of the school, along with me. One kid, the one I had initially redirected, started to passionately argue that the "real" mother of the school is Mrs. Sharon Brentley-- an African-American woman who remembers being spit on, when she and her husband helped to integrate Perry as school children. The one arguing for her? He's been known to use the "n" word toward kids who don't look like him.
I'm not going to say it made everything right. But it reminded me-- there is light in the dark. Much love.