A year ago I sat in the district offices receiving “orientation” and “instruction” in preparation for the upcoming school year.
I was excited. I hardly paid attention to the district instruction–ideas for class and teaching buzzed through my head as I planned out my first week. (And let’s face it, “instruction” and “orientation” could have been handled via an online content management system and done in three hours, rather than three days.)
I had been in volleyball for three weeks and I was enthusiastic about that. However, I had some inkling the season was going to have some hard times.
I had no idea.
I had no idea the stress my two responsibilities would put me under. I had no ability to plan or prepare for that.
Less than six months later, I quit teaching, wanted to quit volleyball, and wanted the ocean to cover me and blot out the sun.
I struggled. I’ve written a lot about that. There are three takeaways, though.
- I’m more vulnerable than I thought. This isn’t something I expected to learn. I was brought so low, I had to rely on other people extremely heavily. Contrary to what I expected, they were happy to help. Along the way, I asked for help from more people than I would have, had I been healthy. It opened up doors, and it gave people more insight to what I’ve been through. I wrote on Facebook a few days ago that I like to believe everyone is thinking it, and I’m just saying it. I hope by writing and being publicly vulnerable, others find strength through my experience. I never tried to hide anything. And I don’t recommend doing so. But I’m starting to realize I should be more selective about whom I completely open up to. Having strong boundaries is crucial.
- I’m stronger than I thought. Shitstorm is the only word I can come up with to describe what I went through. There are other, religiously-based words that come close, but they are indicative of things that are the pinnacle of trials, and possibly not applicable to what I went through. I hope this experience was the pinnacle of my trials, but I doubt it will be. So although I’d like to be less vulgar, I am not sure “Abrahamic,” “Job-like,” and “my Liberty Jail” really even apply. But I made it through. It was a very Vygotskiy-type experience. It takes a village to raise a child, teach skills, and heal a member. But I made it through. I made it through even though I did not think I would.
- I’m closer to God. Through all this, I prayed. Hard. I did things that would allow me to come closer to God. I’m probably less perfect in action than I used to be, but I am far more understanding and empathetic than before. I still struggle as I am rebuilt. There are still things I want to be done with. But even those serve as reminders to focus on my need of atonement and Jesus. What He sacrificed for me restores all I lost. Belief in that and hope of fulfilled blessings keep me moving forward.
I’ve struggled. I’ve overcome. I continue to struggle. I will continue to overcome. One day at a time.