Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 06 2013

Moving Forward

There have been pretty dramatic shifts in my universe in the past two weeks. I know that the last three years have been a culmination up to this point, and now I sit, split. Half of me so totally aware of my surroundings, waiting, finding and shaping everything in front of me into a gorgeous and so necessary staircase forward. Since moving to Little Rock three weeks ago I’ve been full of momentum and bursting with energy, enthusiasm, productive conversations, giving and gaining support from the structures around me. Building something out of the pieces handed to me.

I went to yoga for the third Saturday in a row this morning. A tiny little studio off JFK with kind hearts and little laughs in every class. Half the yogis were my friends, and all the positions were the comfortable and gratifying kind of strenuous. The build up and focus for every yoga class everywhere is savasana. Ultimate meditation and “being one with your mat”. I breathe in, I breathe out. I search for the quiet corner of my brain and hide in it, try to expand it out like a balloon, try to get it to naturally press every other thought out of my ears.

The more successful I am at savasana, the more heavy-hearted I leave the class.

Related to this: in the past three weeks, I have had one solid night of sleep in my provided apartment. This is especially weird for me because I am a SLEEPER! I tend to sleep anywhere at any time, gladly. I can sleep for 16 hour stretches. Here, though, I sleep for maybe five hours at a time and never get through an entire night waking up less than twice. Why?

Today, leaving savasana to journal in a different Starbucks (oh the gluttony that is temporarily living in Little Rock… two Starbucks’ a day is the norm!), I was trying hard to sort out what is going on with my personal universe.

Halfway through work I might have figured it out, and (surprise) it’s the most obvious thing.

I’m in a huge time of transition. Significant relationships I’ve had all year are all but obsolete– all the teachers I live and work with are spread through the country, and I no longer have the significant other that defined so much of my year. I don’t have the students I saw every day, nor the home, nor the community or country roads to run on.

Moving from that, being pushed out of that, I’m thrown into a construction site with a hardhat and a blueprint covered in holes. This just happens to be the perfect situation for me, where I thrive and feel purposeful and qualified and confident, but it’s also something that absolutely consumes my brain. Like my independent study from college was titled and the perpetual feeling I harbor: I Can’t Stop.

I haven’t stopped.

I’m not going to stop any time soon.

But the closest I come is savasana, where I push what I can out and look at what is left.

A lot of it is loss. Loss I have given myself exactly zero time to stare in the face. Zero time to make decisions about, to file away, to understand what kind of impact it will have on my ever-moving-forward-pace. What do I do with the holes? Right now I have huge slabs of thick concrete– I can run across them, draw all over them, believe they will hold firm for a long, long time. But these holes! I can’t decide if they’re under the foundation, or hiding somewhere in the woods of the property next door. I can’t decide if I’m running headfirst into them (might be– Mom’s anniversary of passing is looming, the end of the summer crash, where chaos and calm heave in and out like waves).

There’s also a very serious internal debate about one calendar year from now. I am almost 99% positive that, contrary to my last post, I won’t be working for Teach For America next summer. I’ll be working for the Arkansas Teacher Corps. And after that there’s super serious consideration for shifting out of teaching, shifting out of the Delta (!), and giving myself a chance to move to Little Rock, take on a considerably different leadership path, and shape my career in education in a very different way.

No final assessment of good or bad, hard or easy. Just moving forward.


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