Storm clouds gather…
November’s rolled in with its cooler nights and damp mornings. I find myself wanting to go to bed and sleep for days; I am so bone weary. The dark night. The fertile night. The howling soul. My longing for hibernation has begun.
It’s Sunday, a day of [supposed] rest.
I long to settle into the quiet, reading and sorting and writing, as a kind of sabbath for the week.
However, at this time of year, I often work six or seven days a week to keep up with the tsunami of papers I must grade and get back to my students.This fall has been particularly tough. Home is chaotic on a good day; a total madhouse on a bad one. My mom’s still unpacking, but we’re gradually developing a rhythm. However, everything this past month feels off kilter, out of sorts.
Even the dog is restless, pacing and digging and whimpering.
As I graded this last round of papers, I fell into a state of utter joylessness I haven’t felt in a very long time. I’ve never exactly enjoyed grading papers, but I didn’t loathe it.
Now, I hate it.
Now, I find it difficult to motivate myself to start reading and marking up papers at all. I feel demoralized by the clear lack of effort I see. It’s depressing.
As a teacher, I feel I am failing to motivate my young charges. I know in my heart of hearts this is not the case, but I wonder if I could do more.
At the same time, I am certain I have no more to give.
I am wiped out.
This, too, shall pass…
So, into this malaise, I pour my frustration and sadness — my feelings of uselessness — and I wonder if perhaps my talents could be put to better use elsewhere.
In another six weeks, this batch of students will move on, and I will finally rest over the holidays. I imagine I will regain my sense of purpose.
Or, I certainly hope so.
I admit I want to be a writer who teaches, rather than a teacher who writes.
Falling through the page…
When I write, I find my way back to myself. The words may come in a tangle, or burble up from somewhere unexpected, but I feel most like myself when am writing.
As I write, I feel plugged in, alive, certain (even when I am uncertain).
Don’t get me wrong; I still love teaching. I love mentoring young minds and seeing them develop, open and engage with the world, life, and other people. Absolutely, I love that.
But grading English papers has become drudgery. What. Is. The. Point.
I hand the paper back — carefully marked with notes and advice — and find it dropped in the trash at the backdoor of the classroom when I get ready to leave.
I do in-person conferences and no one takes a single note.
My careful consideration of each person’s work seems unjustified and unappreciated.
I find myself thinking: there must be something more than this.
What’s next for me?
I think what’s arising from deep within me is a desire for soul growth. I need to stretch my capacity, yet again. I need to dawdle and draw and dream. I need to find a like-minded tribe of soul fools, tricksters and mad muses.
Whenever I start to bristle when faced with my current surroundings, I know I am experiencing a growth spurt that’s pushing the boundaries of my life. I know it’s asking more of me. It’s demanding I become what I came here to be.
I cannot stay put. I cannot be fenced in.
Like most artists, I hear the wildness of life calling me with an insistence that makes me ache.
I hear a she-wolf howling under a white moon.
She’s got her hooks in my tethered soul and she’s pulling hard to free me.
I know this from experience. It won’t be long now. I will break what binds me.
I will follow my soul out into the moonlight.
I will howl under the Taurus moon. I will see where the book of my life goes next.
© 2014 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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