It’s been 126 days since I blogged last. In that time, I have…
Taught approximately 360 lessons
Graded nearly 800 exams and quizzes
Used four of my five allotted sick days
Attended at least 40 hours of professional development
Spent about 60 hours preparing and submitting my edTPA
Written a 42-page, single-spaced, original research paper
Backed 23 new campaigns on Kickstarter (while not funding my own)
Listened to “Sky Full of Song” and “Hunger” over a hundred times, and
Worked out a lot less than I wanted to.
But all of that is merely the minutia of being a grad student-math teacher-advisor-TFA corps member-writer. Except half of that is suddenly behind me.
The fault in my stars made me a Gemini. Not only was the sun in this sign on the day of my birth, at the minute of my birth the earth watched as Gemini rose on the horizon. Expanding outwards through the solar system, three of the other nine astrological planets also stand in my first house.
I was destined for duality from the start.
In its most basic ailment, this often manifests itself in my having clearly delineated inner and outer selves, one known only to myself while the world witnesses the other. But as my particular brand of fate would have it, it doesn’t end there.
In a moment I was called a bureaucrat and a dictator. I was told I’ve spent so much time up top I’ve forgotten how the people at the bottom still think. How they feel. How they live and die and prosper and are crushed, decimated, dessicated, turned to poison and ingested in the cannibalistic universe we live in. All these things in fewer words, but all these things nonetheless.
The truth is I haven’t forgotten. My hide has grown thicker. My skin has grown harder. My muscles, stronger; my bones, impassioned, have turned to steel. And my mind–that precious vestibule of unarticulated prowess–my mind has only sharpened in these days of misery as I live life. But I have not forgotten.
People don’t know me. Even when I see a man a hundred times a day, even when I share my deepest thoughts and my most hidden inclinations and my most obvious and embarrassing faults with him, he does not know me. Maybe I don’t speak as clearly as I think I speak. Or maybe, as is more probable, I’m simply deeper than I think I’m deep.
There’s something inside me you’ll never know. Its depth, its breadth, its implications for existence and its presence in the underneath of the world itself–these things will forever be a mystery. To you. I, of course, know all of this. I, of course, possess of all this knowledge and shall forever keep it to myself. If I release this, I will cease to exist.
Secrets may be an odd sort of thing to be thankful for, but in all honesty, we all have them. And, as I said before (until I erased it, hahaha), my secrets define me. But how can what no one knows make me who I am?
Sometimes it’s not enough to try. Life beats us up, throws us down, tramples us dead on the ground. Sometimes it’s just not enough to try. We falter, we fall, we fail. Once we’re there, bathed in darkness, it’s hard to swim to the shore. Sometimes I think it can’t be done at all.
But even in the deepest darkness there’s still light, and when we’re on our knees, it’s to that star inside we must turn our eyes. Listing the things we admire in ourselves, recalling our strengths, can draw that light nearer, and with our strength returned, we can finally swim ashore.