Last week, I mentioned that I tried therapy during my early years of teaching in Chicago; however, I didn’t stay with it long because I didn’t feel my concerns were being addressed. Basically, my therapists were leading me to look at my life as if there was something severely wrong with it and with the choices I had made, rather than helping me recognize all I had gained. Peace Corps experiences and living in Los Angeles? They felt that I had some kind of hidden family trauma that led me to leave my Michigan hometown. Working in a struggling, underserved Chicago high school? Not my fight.
Even my choice of reading material was questioned. While not a huge Jimmy Buffett music fan, I loved his book “Where is Joe Merchant?” and have read it a number of times. It is a fun read to me simply because of Buffett’s love of the Caribbean and decent writing, but my first therapist considered it troublesome. She totally went off on how Buffett reportedly had a serious drug problem and in turn looked at me as if I must also have addiction issues. It didn’t help that she took a call from a troubled–possibly suicidal–patient while I was in a session with her. Regardless, this was definitely not a good therapy match.
However, I did leave with one take away from this therapist: the idea that we need to find ways to nourish ourselves as we are going through our lives–especially when times are tough. A mother can not provide for her child if she herself is not being nourished. As a helper–as a teacher and educator–I can not be there for others if I am not taking care of myself.
I was reminded of this fact at Monday night’s ROW support group when Dr. Mike urged us to ‘fill our balloons’ as we are navigating our new realities and shifting through the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s 5 recommended phases of dealing with COVID-19. It was a nudge that I definitely needed to hear.
I’m tired on a very deep level and ready to be done with this crazy school year.
Basically, living through history has been intense during the 2019-20 school year. New school, students, and colleagues; teaching a subject I haven’t taught in nearly a decade; a two-week long Chicago Teachers Union Strike; the COVID-19 Pandemic and ALL that this entails; and the current wave of the Black Lives Matter movement have all had a significant impact on my life. With one day left on Monday for teachers and staff at my school, we are almost there.
And then it is time to seriously seek rest and peace and ways to refill my partially deflated balloon.
My dear ROW teammate, Mary, shared this video below with us and was totally into letting me share with you. It is a great visual to have as many of us are refilling our balloons; however, I do have to add a warning: Mary’s laugh is infectious!
How do you refill your balloon?