It is late. I am still in my classroom, trying to put all the puzzle pieces together to create the picture that I don’t fully see in my mind just yet. I think I know the edges, but the image is still wrapped up in the pieces scattered all about me. And, for the record, I hate puzzles.
I am, still, my own jumbled mix of diametrically opposed thoughts and ideals. There does not seem to be a middle ground; there is no balance. I seesaw between knowing–not just believing, but knowing–that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, and wondering if I will ultimately put down my resistance and accept my fate like the wife in The Road. Exuberant promise of renewed life or dismal, grey slogging to more of the same. I’m telling you: I have lost all ability to see the proverbial glass as either half full or half empty….it is either overflowing or bone dry.
Maybe this is leftover from the winter break, which was full of emotional contrasts: the juxtaposition of cheery, holiday warmth against the backdrop of masked loved ones sitting more than an arms length away; the freedom from daily attempts at teaching alongside the constraints that come from living in pandemic isolation; the need to rest and indulge in comfort foods holding hands with the promise of resolutions and new beginnings. Every moment seemed to offer me a choice and that was exhausting during a time that typically is full of restoration.
When I settled down to think about my One Little Word, I gravitated to the word Joy. I need joy. I seek joy. I crave joy. I was going to immerse myself in joy and find it in all the smallest moments. I was determined to make this my sole focus. My determination, while not what anyone could consider joyful, was laser focused. I need joy.
But then I came across another word: unfurl. I fell instantly in love. I breathed an audible sigh. I pictured myself…unfurling. Stretching out all of my parts and showing what is inside. Rising up to my fullest height and owning the space all around me. Unfurling 50 years of growth, 50 years of good and bad and everything in between. Embracing the child, the awkward teen, the years spent wandering and the years when roots finally began to emerge; the years of rebellion and the years subsumed by others. I am all of the contradictions and contrasts and opposing forces wrapped up in this body that has carried me this far. I think I may just be beginning to understand what Mr. Whitman was trying to say….I am large. I do contain multitudes. And yes, I do contradict myself.