This post is part of the Weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!
I’ve been waiting for this.
Dissonance is fine and healthy for a while. It helps me grow and push myself in new directions. It’s good to be dissatisfied, to want better.
But living in dissonance is all-consuming. It leaves me fatigued, wondering how long I can manage the push-pull I feel morally, physically, philisophically, wondering what sort of mom I am, what sort of teacher I am, what sort of human I am.
It’s why I’m glad and grateful to feel that tension begin to ease. Those reins, coiled around my wrists and held in a white-knuckled grip, are finally beginning to slacken. As they do, I can slowly unwind, unbind, feel the circulation and color coming back to my hands, shake out my fingers, roll my shoulders, exhale, feel myself stretch, lengthen…
Yes. My new One Little Word. Unfurl.
The act of spreading out from a rolled-up or cramped-up position or state. The act of stretching out to occupy new spaces, or opening up to the wind or the elements. Figuratively. Literally.
For a few months, I’ve harbored the hope that summer would bring unfurl as my next One Little Word.
I’ve needed this.
Even without COVID, it was a tough year – the kind that cracks my foundation, that drives me to check out just how many years there are until retirement (don’t worry, friends, it’s still a long while). The kind of year that teachers can handle once in a career. Once. Maybe twice, but never in a row.
So the possibility that I wouldn’t experience this release, the prospect of going back to school as pulled as I was, well…that was scary.
What’s turned it around for me? The moments in sunshine? The long walks with friends? The dozens of library books checked out, read, checked out, read? A vision of the next hours, days, weeks, of relative freedom?
I can’t really say. What I can say is that I feel the turning of a corner. I feel a greater distance between myself and this past year. Soon, I’ll start to miss my sticky notes, my Flair pens, my colleagues, my students, my work. It gives me hope that I can re-emerge next year content, energized, aligned with purpose. Stretched. Grown. Unfurled.