The statement, "Change is not easy." seems to be an understatement this week.
In life, "to change" yourself refers to the act of transforming, or transferring, one's original state-- whether it be an a physical aspect, mental or emotional mindset, or job/role in relation to others and/or society. As creatures of habit, by nature, most of us are well aware that it takes a great deal of effort to make a change in life effective, smooth, and positive all at the same time. It is common for others to provide some sort of support or encouragement that usually involve the phrase, "It will take time." Typically, time does help alleviate uncomfortable change-- however, when paired with a plan of action to move towards positivity the movement of time seems to assist in the settling of the change.
Back in January, leaving my role as a teacher, after almost six years of experience plus years of schooling, seemed to be the climax in the plot of my life (at least so far). Prior to the decision, months of anxiety, thoughtful decision making, physical illness, and lots of prayer slowly acted as the rising action. I've mentioned this before, but I don't really have a problem saying it again-- putting in my resignation was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life so far. To resign as a teacher was more than just quitting a job-- it was more like capping off a huge part of who I was. However, as challenging as it was to hurdle over, leaving my classroom and school behind was an essential step I needed to take towards emotional and physical recovery. It was like ripping off a bandaid that is so tightly adhered to a bad wound-- you know it will hurt tremendously, but at the end of it all...it just had to be done.
As the weeks and months passed and my students and school continued on without me, I truly felt encouraged. I missed relationships and the children, but I was relieved to know that my life was really getting better and putting my career behind me didn't cause as big of an earthquake as I thought it would. In fact, my health continued to improve drastically and I had time to work on hobbies and other passions all while growing more into my role as a wife. Additionally, an admittance into The Art Institute of California to pursue a degree in Baking and Patisserie also came into view. I felt extremely blessed! This life of mine was just moving along and I could feel the change start to smoothly transition into something I was comfortable and proud of. Time really did make a difference. I had, and have, so much to look forward to.
As the plot starts to wind down, the climax has passed, and what seems to be the resolution starts to move on in-- I really felt like I was in the right place in life. However, this confidence, started to get a quite shaken during this last weekend and into this week.
Preparing for the start of my first quarter en route to being a pastry chef includes finalizing transferrable courses and testing out of some. This week, I was preparing a speech to give in front of an Effective Speaking course at the Art Institute in hopes of passing and not having to take it (thus saving me hundreds of dollars when we all know I can speak in front of people...that's just what I did for most of my adult life). In the meantime, while I am preparing to speak to a crowd of strangers, the last week of school for my former students and colleagues has arrived. Since I have a hard time avoiding social media, I see pictures, statuses, comments-- you name it-- relating to end of the year field trips, classroom cleaning, graduating 5th graders, and the excitement for summer break. In the middle of the week, I found myself feeling like I was right in the middle of my past and my future-- I peaked into my new culinary ventures and looked back at a world that seemed so close to home, yet so far away. Initially, I felt some interesting emotions, but didn't think anything of it since...well, time had passed, changes had been made, and there was nothing to be emotional about. Well, too bad it wasn't that simple.
Two nights ago, I was practicing my speech in front of my husband. My content was great, but my delivery needed some work. I realized that it had been awhile since I had to prepare such a speech in front of people-- but I kept reminding myself that I used to do this all the time...no big deal, right? Except, after stumbling over my words repeatedly during a fifth rehearsal, I lost it and broke down into tears. Yes, I was frustrated, but this moment was deeper than that. I suddenly realized that it wasn't just the speech I was upset about. In that moment, I felt completely lost as an individual and person. The thought of losing my finesse in regards to public speaking made me feel as if I was losing more and more of the professional educator I had so much pride in being. I felt like a piano out of tune that had lost the melody that so strongly defined it before.
I sat on the floor of my living room as my poor husband tried to console me. A flood of emotions filled me up as I thought about how much I missed parts of myself as a teacher. Although, truth be told-- the burnout was nothing to be desired again-- I missed how important I felt doing my job. That may seem quite egotistical, but I don't intend it to be. As a hard-working teacher, I was driven with strong motivation to help encourage, lead, and foster young children with the skills necessary to become more brighter and better individuals-- something that not everyone can do. Teachers do this everyday and anyone who thinks that running a classroom is just arts, crafts, and circle time is a fool. I realized that I missed being a part of this tremendously important group of people. I missed shaping lives and having their lives shape me.
What will I be now as a career woman? A future pastry chef? The pride I take in this is strong, but it really is such a different kind. I sat there realizing that as a pastry chef, I would never be as meaningful and important as a teacher is to a child. I hope that my creations and my work truly do move people and I can help be there during life's greatest moments to celebrate and build memories. Although this is something to be confident in, it just won't be the same. Truthfully, it breaks my heart a little bit. It's also so complex to leave a profession that I put so much time and my life in to move to a new career where I am starting back at square one-- it's humbling, but challenging.
With that said, I have no intentions of retreating in my move forward at in the field of baking and pastry. I can't wait to explore new horizons and allow the passionate seed I have in me to grow and prosper in ways I never expected or imagined. I just have to accept this backlash of making the change in my life and move on. Transitional phases are tough!
In the end, I picked myself off the living room room and carried on with my speech preparation. Last night, I confidently presented it and feel quite certain that I will be able to check that class off my list. It just felt like it took a lot out of me to get there.
A good friend and former colleague told me, "You will always be a teacher. Your students will always think back to 4th grade and remember you, always, as their teacher. You won't lose that place. Later on, you'll be a teacher to your children, too. You can't just erase the significance of being an educator from your life." She's right. It's just a little hard. Even though I know that everything is going to be just fine and glorious as I find myself in the middle, of the past and future, it's just a little hard.