Wednesday, May 28, 2014

To the greatest teachers

In seventh grade, my teacher read us a story about knots. Don't ask me what it was called, or why we were reading it (But I believe it was for some kind of book report) but I remember at the time thinking there was something crazy about the story of this boy who had a fascination with knots.
I also felt like I understood this boy.
When I was little I would tie my shoelaces into so many knots, and then race to see how fast I could untie them. I pretended I was the most amazing knot un-tier in the whole world.
This morning I sat down to write a practice English diploma on a source we had just read, a poem. The question was about how situations shape a person's destiny, and the source was about a woman who referred to herself as tangled.
As I sat there in the computer lab, I thought of this story, and my seventh grade teacher. I could almost hear his voice in my head as I sat down to write.

My days consisted of tying and untying knots, always trying to make something beautiful with the strands of curled rope I found lying limp between my fingers. When my seventh grade teacher read us a story about a boy who untied knots, I knew I finally had a name for my turbulence. I called it tangled.

When I finished writing, I turned on my phone only to find the news that Maya Angelou had died. I'm not a particularly familiar with a lot of Maya's work, though I do admire the courageous steps she has taken to create space in the world for women and artists and I think she is a very wise woman.
But I thought of a time last summer, when I was going through a particularly rough season, and I turned on a documentary on Maya Angelou on TV. There was one quote she said, about love liberating, that has always stuck with me. At the time, it inspired me to write my own little piece on all the different places my heart was living at that moment, and how while there were a lot of people who weren't with me in the present moment I could set them free because I loved them.
Still, when I think back on that night, I remember that quote.

I never believed that I wouldn't reach that place where I would stumble upon myself and reach out with open arms, saying "There you are" like all this time I'd just been a little backwards in my directions

Since celebrating grad this weekend, I've experienced the seemingly inevitable low that follows an amazing event. There's trying to become reoriented with my life once again. There's been planning for the future, and a lot of who I thought I'd be by now. In light of the recent shooting that happened, I've been writing a lot, and thinking a lot, about feminism and triggers and mental illness and abuse and the kind of world I want to grow old in.
More importantly I've been thinking about the kind of person I want to be.
I remember something one of the speaker's at my grad said, which is "May you be kind, may you be safe, may you be happy"
And I've always said I wanted to be happy
But I also want to be kind
I want to be loving
I want to always learn and teach and laugh and grow and maybe even cry some and keep creating beautiful things as long as I live
I want to always stay a little bit of the girl that Mr. Brown thought I was, how he taught me to believe in myself even when I didn't feel like it
And I want to always be a bit of the woman I felt like watching that Maya Angelou documentary, which is always speaking the truth and living in love and overcoming the things that wish to overcome you
And I want to always stay true to who I am
In yoga we say something like "We acknowledge all of our teachers, and we acknowledge the heart, the greatest teacher of all"
I have been blessed with amazing teachers, in all different ways. I have been given a heart, which has become my greatest teacher
All that is left is to never stop learning

I am poetry and hot coffee, falling in love too easily and using my heart as a metaphor for too many things. I am still tangled, always tangled, but I’m getting better at learning how to untie knots. And I’m learning which knots to leave tied because these are the knots that point me towards my destiny. 
I am walking towards my destiny at full speed and face first. Even if it means entering the dark for a while. I know now something I didn’t know the first time I entered the dark, and something that has made all the difference.
I now know how to untie knots. 

No comments: