This fall was sort of a banner-semester for me.
I made it through the first three weeks of school without crying. I started three preps--like, teaching three different types of classes, for y'all non-teacher-folk--plus grad school, plus writing for a teacher blog, plus trying to be a sane human. Operative Word: TRYING.
I also attended my first-ever National Council of Teachers of English conference, and was honored to present with my mentors.
Even more so than a teacher-life changing event, NCTE was just a life-changing event. I had the privilege of speaking with Cornelius Minor, teacher-celebrity-awesome-person-extraordinaire, about the inner-workings of my classroom. Along with his infinite wisdom in that regard, he dropped a truth-bomb of a phrase into my mind that I can't seem to shake.
Who am I when I believe that about them?
It wasn't even in reference to what we were talking about, but the gaps in my emotional functionality latched onto this phrase that he quoted from a friend.
This idea pulls into question the fact that we are victims of our thought life. It causes me to ask myself, if my thoughts make me who I am, who am I choosing to be?
Who am I when I believe people are trying to hurt me? I'm someone who believes the worst in people.
Who am I when I believe people don't want to be the best they can? I'm someone who believes not everyone can change, not everyone deserves success. (Truth: None of us do, but that's another story.)
Who am I when I believe the only reasons my friends are my friends are because what I can do for them? I'm someone who only sees value in what I can do, not who I am at my core.
Who am I when I believe I'm in the wrong place? (Geographically speaking.) I'm someone who doesn't believe in God's sovereignty and ability to extract and sprinkle joy and purpose--EVEN IN TEXAS.
I fancy myself a mixture of Lorelai and Rory (Rory, pre-revival, of course), Jess Day from New Girl, and Hermione Granger with a smidge of Birks and flair pens thrown in the pot. Yet, how often does my fear and misconception of what other people think of me cloud my ability to be who I am?
What belief of others makes you someone you don't want to be?
P.S. In addition to dropping truth-bombs and providing great classroom advice, Cornelius Minor is a great model of believing the best in people. He reminds me of the male, hipster, Brooklyn-version of my Aunt Sandy, seeing the absolute light in everyone and proclaiming it to everyone he comes across. It makes me want to walk a day in his joyful, optimistic shoes--or at least to try and verbalize the greatness I see in others more regularly.