If anyone asks me what my winter holiday plans involve, the first thing on my list is always reading. During this break, I treasure time to read, time to peruse book lists for the next year and time to blog about my favourites from my year of reading. So when I sat down to celebrate this morning, my fist thought was to celebrate something to do with my relationship to books.
But then I decided to be a little braver and celebrate what has been new for me this year – writing. Writing to make sense of everything. In the last few years, I have used writing to communicate, to unravel and to guide. But I held the word “writer” far away from me, afraid to connect it in anyway to my identity.
This year, I joined a writing community by participating in the Slice of Life challenge through March and wrote and published a post every day. I continued writing regular Celebration posts. The Slice of Life Community hosted by Two Writing Teachers and the #celebratelu community hosted by Ruth Ayres give me support, comfort and inspiration. And lots of permission. Permission to just write. To write for myself.
Slowly, I have realized that writing is becoming a part of who I am. Necessary. Something I turn to when I am most lost. Writing settles me. It steadies my step. It shines a light and slows the muddling about in the dark. It lets me breathe.
And so today I celebrate some of the writing I have done in this past year that has been the most meaningful for me. This year was full of challenges and change. Ironically, I have not been able to share openly all that this means. Yet, somehow, through my words, I have shared more than the actual details. The most important aspects of the truth make themselves known.
I don’t expect any readers to follow all of these links back through my year. This celebration is about my personal journey – acknowledgement of how my own writing helped me through. This is about honouring. About journey. About all of my words. About what they meant to me.
The Kid on the Piano reminds me of all that I learned working for 21 years in the deep inner city.
A Mom theme tells the story of how sometimes it was just so very hard to do the work I did.
In Hey Little One I attempted to process what it is to stand beside a child who is deeply grieving. Some children leave a forever mark.
Letting Go was all about making sense of the truth I wasn’t supposed to tell.
I wrote This Writing Thing at the end of a month of daily writing to try to make sense of my relationship to/with/around writing. I wrote:
Writing is ridiculous faith.
Writing brings clarity. Highlights confusion. Writing releases. Reaches out. Closes up. Pulls the world apart. Some pieces are written to be released. Imagine them floating away. Give them your blessing. Others are gathered close and protected. There is so much fragility. It doesn’t feel safe to relinquish them and imagine them unraveling before an unknown reader’s eyes.
In Not Enough Feet, I celebrated the unknown ahead.
I celebrated my survival strategy of being in the moment in Going with It The secret? Have faith in the end point and enjoy the small moments in between.
In Standing in the Middle I celebrated that I was finally ready to begin imagining goodbye.I wrote:
I celebrate that I am loved. I celebrate that I love this whole school right back and then some. I celebrate that even though I stand in the middle of my long history here and somewhere new and unknown, I can now get on with saying goodbye. I can be, in the moment, sad and sentimental or happy and full of hope. I can enjoy these next five to six weeks with my students with all of us being a little extra gentle with each other because this is it for us and it means something.
It is time for big hugs. Bright smiles. Lots of gratitude and lots of care. It is time to celebrate what we have and how much we treasure it. Teaching is about relationships. These relationships have deep roots, strong branches and glowing leaves. Our metaphorical tree is especially beautiful.
In Giving Away the Guilt I began to truly say goodbye.
In Knowing and Not Knowing I admitted my vulnerability in starting at a new school. This piece helped me soften the fear and let in the possibility.
I am now beginning to feel like I have a new home – a new here – I shared it here. I know that my future words will help me place roots, look behind and imagine ahead.
I have much gratitude to everyone who reads this blog and offers me so much – encouragement, perspective and care.
Happy New Year to all of you!
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.