Tracking Truth: Slice of Life

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I am processing the change of leaving one place for someplace new. Still. Here I am writing about it. Again. How long is this going to be necessary?

Until I find more clarity.

Until I no longer feel that this is not that.

Until it seems like I have nestled into a settled sort of feeling.

I am not even close.

Nowhere near. I have hidden from writing because it forces the most honesty. When the words start to come, the truth arrives. Steps out from around the corner. It stares me down, reminding me that it is always there and won’t be ignored. It insists on being told. It stands firm and strong. There is no going around. I need to walk right up to it and embrace what it shows me. Nothing is a surprise. It is my truth after all.

It is forceful. Unrelenting. It dares me to tell.

Truth recognizes its own power to move us through. It doesn’t protect or fuss. It doesn’t hold hands, soothe us with comfort words or do half the work.

It holds up the mirror, makes us stand up straight and look carefully.

“Talk,” it says. “There is no hiding or easing in. Just begin.”

Begin.

There is a lot I miss. Relationships. Deep connections. Knowing what is next.

I miss feeling home. I miss being needed. Even the desperately needed that left little for me. Somehow, at the end of the day, I could always breathe again. I always found the energy to come back and do it all over.

I miss never doubting that what I did mattered. I didn’t need to fix it all. I just had to be willing to try. That counted in big ways.

“Imagine if I could just teach,” I used to think. But it’s always been the who and not the what in what we do that has meant anything to me. It’s still early days and I haven’t completely figured out who needs me how and if I know how to give that thing instead of another.

It used to be mostly about love and attention and care. Those things first. Never judging the crying or the upset or the wild and the wooly. Being consistent. Being there. Showing up. Being strong.

The things I need to do now, I needed to do then but it’s different. Plan. Teach. Organize. Somedays, there has been a lot of teaching.  A lot of learning. Amazing learning. Exciting engagement. But I feel alone when I turn around to share it. I love to celebrate at the end of each day. I miss having the adult in the room who has weathered the storm with me and who agrees the smooth stone we hold up is completely beautiful even though we stepped through a lot of muck to find it. The muck made the beautiful parts all the more special. That we saw the beauty and not the muck made us all the more human.

These days, there are not always storms. Sometimes though I am distracted by rocky edges. Sand that itches. Wind that turns me around.

Sometimes, I kind of need a fix. I find myself drawn to any available chaos. The child not managing in the hall. The melt downs. It’s not trauma I seek. Or wish on anyone. It’s the formula of the challenge of deep inner city schools.

Upset + making it through = reminders of how human we all are. Vulnerable, not perfect but trying our best for each other.

(Calm + care ) x multiple occurrences = immeasurable rewards

Those rewards nourished me for years and years.

It’s not about wanting to go back. I am truly gone. It is about recognizing what I miss. About trying to find new ways to give. It’s the giving that counted.

I feel richest when I give deeply and celebrate often. Lately, I have been feeling a little empty.

Truth sets a high bar. It reflects but it doesn’t tell. It shines but it doesn’t explain. It waits until we muddle about collecting the words, setting them down syllable by syllable willing them to tell the story of what we see. It won’t even nod its approval because we know when it’s right. When we can barely bare to say it without pulling it back or rushing to cover it up, then we know. We’ve laid it out. We’ve been brave.

I am still tracking truth.

Word by word, I find myself more on the road.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

17 thoughts on “Tracking Truth: Slice of Life

  1. Wow Carrie, this post will tug at any heart. Change is so challenging and we always hear how amazing it is to make life changes. Yours was massive and the truths you honor are what make you such an insightful teacher and person. Isn’t this what we want for our children…to track and seek what is true?

  2. Carrie, sending you virtual hugs.
    I went through many of those same thoughts, so know that the TRUTH that is stalking you is, while very particular to you, a universal TRUTH. For years after my move from 20 years of constant intensity to a setting in which life wasn’t perpetually “on the brink” I would be asked by friends (from my “past” and from my current setting) how much “easier” I was finding it “to teach”.
    Two things I realized early on- my challenges were every bit as difficult, but in different ways. And… The lives at stake were every bit as dependent on my choices and actions, but seldom in the same ways.
    Perhaps some of what empties you now, or signals an emptiness, is the physicality of your distance/absence from your prior “family” of learners. What you so often reflected in your writing is how much the kids taught you… how palpably you felt yourself learning and growing on a daily basis. Like a death, there’s a tendency to probe away at that gap in your life, like a tongue obsessed with a missing tooth.
    Now you are earlobe-deep in your own learning and growth, but are necessarily obsessed with “head” growth rather than “heart” growth. As you say, the past is behind, but there’s no hole in your life… only a transformation from sensing the physicality of your daily past into an emotional or spiritual sensation/presence that’s always there. As the concrete changes surrounding you begin to feel like skin, and eventually like soul, you’ll find the heart of your past lurking and staring at you as the TRUTH you need most.
    And, yes, write. Your writing matters, to you and to many others.

  3. I am so, so glad to hear your voice here this week. I have missed your poetic posts. I love your honesty and you are right- there is no escaping our feelings, but writing helps us process them, explain them to ourselves in ways we might not have been able to before. Thank you for this Slice. We are with you.

  4. So very, very powerful, Carrie. My favorite line is “I have hidden from writing because it forces the most honesty.” Come out from hiding. Keep writing. Keep searching. Keep believing. Soon, you will find your ‘flow’ and all will be good again.

  5. You’ve changed both the demographic and the age plus the school’s climate can be different too, and welcoming a veteran and accomplished teacher might be hard for some adults already entrenched in the school. Three challenges to face and learn about and from. I admire that you are sharing that the niche is not there yet, and the relationships are wanting. Hugs to you in this new stuff, Carrie.

  6. Oh, I do understand missing the relationships you had before! It’s so hard to go through a major change. I always find inspiration in how you think, write, and teach. Even though you are in a difficult place right now, I still find it inspiring because you are seeking the light. Carry on, warrior!

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