Notes from the Field: 1 Year

There are some stretches I thought about it obsessively.  There are some months it never crossed my mind.  In a little less than a week, I will have been out of the classroom for one year.

This time last year I was attempting to have a complete and gracious ending, staying out of my head as much as possible, letting my time with kids and colleagues serve as reflection time.  Some moments I really sucked at that, but there were also picture perfect moments I can call to mind.  Now, I am sitting in the backyard of my Airbnb, watching birds, listening to the fountain, smelling citrus and jasmine, and feeling the sun on my shin bones.  Basically, perfection.

Taking a few days to roam, listen, and rest, has been the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ to myself for the hard work of this year.  And although Delaney Walkabout will go on forever, I wanted to try and put a few closing thoughts to this tumultuous first year.  I’m going to give it to you listicle style–seeing that I’m pretty fucking relaxed right now and transitions and logical flow seem too tricky to care about.  Also, these are in zero order, and may likely repeat each other.

My love goes out to the world as I write this, ever involved in its own leavings, beginnings, reclamations, and rewrites.  May this be a smidge of sustenance as we create beauty out of struggle.

  1.  I got my back.  It’s beautiful that I am coming to trust others more and more, butt the problem is I used to never really trust myself.  Now that I’ve survived and even thrived in this year, I have concrete proof that I can take care of myself, regulate myself, move myself when the time is ripe for moving.
  2. I am more than one thing.  In fact, the number of things I am is somewhat astounding.
  3. I love kids, always will.
  4. I no longer think of the choice to leave school as the “right choice.”  It was a choice I made, one that I mostly happy with on most days.
  5. If I wanted to go back to the classroom, I begin to see what the path back would look like.  It has to do with learning to leave before I’m exhausted, not squeezing the good until it suffocates, understanding where my innate desire to be generous stops and martyrdom begins, and getting way more comfortable with conflict and pissing people off.  As much as I love teaching English, I don’t think that could be my subject anymore.  I need more non-grading paper time than that subject allows–time to follow myself.
  6. As much as I’ve slowed down this year, think in fact that I am the Mighty Empress of Slowed Downness, there is room to go even slower.  This is something worth pursuing, although I fear it.
  7. Speaking of fear, I can tolerate a whole lot more of it than I thought, and not die.  I can sit in the unknown without running–granted, I may fidget a mighty piece, but I don’t have to run.  Instead, I’m learning to flex and bend when things don’t go as planned.
  8. Childcare is not my final career stop, but I really like hanging out with little kids right now.  I realize though that I am very concerned what other people think of it, me the almost 40 year old babysitter.  In reality, I’m probably the only one passing judgement on myself–selfish (to put myself first, take my time, expect to get around the icky parts of adulting), irresponsible (not to use my gifts to their fullest potential, largest good), lazy (even though 11am-1am the next day fits me a lot better than 6am-9pm).  I wonder if being ‘important’ was my way to get around people noticing I am weird–aka “She’s a little strange, but she’s great with the kids.”
  9. Vulnerability is not incompetence.
  10. Part of my shame, vigilance, lack of self acceptance is inherited from the family line.
  11. As I’ve come to trust myself more this year, I’ve been less scared of men and the masculine in myself.  Call it a truce, a healing, or a further step in integrating all the compartments of my life, but I like it.
  12. I can keep trying to earn love if I want, but it is such a waste of time as it is literally in everything.  Love is the physical substance this universe is comprised of.
  13. There is an abundance of time, energy, opportunities, provisions, everything.  Believing it is scarce is just an excuse I make to keep me from listening, following, change, and being scared.
  14. The more I listen, the better I get at listening.
  15. Nurturing your friendships is important and awesome.
  16. Just because I have more time, doesn’t mean I will use it wisely.  It also doesn’t mean I will not get tired.
  17. I actually really like surprises and adventures.  This is shocking considering how tiny I had my life pulled in around me as of a few years ago.

I’m sure there are more, and maybe I’ll come add them later, but now it’s time for a nap and then the beach.  Or the beach and then a nap.  Hard to say.  Happy UnTeachaversary Delaney.  As your friends from your last school said last night in your dream, “We are happy for you” (and they said it while throwing celebration candy up to me in a tree, which made it even more awesome).

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chelseadelaney79

I am a former teacher, writer, dancer, aspiring Taiko drummer, and artist. I am trying to listen to the journey, no matter where it turns, and pump out a whole lot of magic while I do.

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