asking a different question
When I started this blog ten years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do. I had just lost my teaching job the month before, and I wanted to be a storyteller. More than that, though, I wanted to survive. I wanted to survive as a mother, as a creative person, and as a human. The job I'd lost was our main income source. It was my sole professional identity. It was my community and my calling, I thought. And it was gone.
Within the next two years, I'd also lose my mother. We'd lose a business. We'd deal with vehicle accidents and illnesses, acute and chronic.
There would be so much stress, and pain, and grief.
I would also win a year-long fellowship to assist with my storytelling. I would get a contract to create a storytelling-based curriculum for an intergenerational childcare. We would start homeschooling our child, and I would move from classroom teaching and substituting, to working in a Waldorf-inspired preschool program and tutoring students from age 6 to age 20.
There would be so much growth, and joy, and beauty.
So, what if I didn't question it? What if I stopped expecting my life to look differently than it does. There are so many expectations -- I'm 46, so I should have this much in savings, this much status in my career, this much clout, this much... It's so quantitative.
I recently read The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Alpert. The stories that run through this book are both like and unalike traditional stories. They are bloody and weird, as many traditional stories are, but they are also wild and unpredictable and without an internal balance and center. They are driven by fear, as are many traditional stories. There were references in the book to so many of my beloved tales, and the re-workings that fed my adolescence. What I came away with, though, is how much I have missed the stories.
I still get to tell stories, sometimes. I tell gentle stories to the little ones in my care. But my telling-out opportunities dried up with the advent of the pandemic, and haven't come back in any strength yet. That's okay. I've been really busy-- haven't we all? -- but I am starting to miss them. The stories.
And I miss knowing my life as a story. I miss finding meaning, and finding hope.
Winter break seems to be when I start to find my way back each year. I hope maybe this time, I can stay a little more connected. A little more in tune with the stories. I hope I can find my way to writing, and thinking, and dreaming a bit more.
And I hope I can just let it be, my life, and look at its shape with a little more distance, and a little more magic. Not questioning so much, "Am I doing it right?" but perhaps, "What next?"
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Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.