So it’s after midnight and I’m sitting in bed. I just completed the finishing touches on my Homage lesson. Earlier today, I confided in a very special friend of mine about my struggles and fears of being an educator, and in response she reminded me of a very important block of time in both of our lives.
Last summer I realized there were other art educators like me. Last summer I was changed forever by the idea of radical hospitality, creative material, and encounters. Last summer, Dr. Christopher Schulte invited me to take part in beautiful conversations that have since unfolded tiny miracle after miracle in my life. Last summer, I lost any shadow of a doubt that this is what I was meant to do, every day, for the rest of my life.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember those things in the midst of chaos, confusion, huge life changes, lesson planning, figuring out what to wear, trying to have real and meaningful conversations with students… and then I was reminded that life itself is creative material, and each of those things — chaos included — is an opportunity for a new encounter.
What is it about words? Somehow they never seem enough, but sometimes, when you need them most, they do more than actions ever could. Rebecca, my very special friend, conducted research in this class over the summer. She interviewed nearly all of us (probably all of us) at the end of the semester. Today she sent my interview to me.
So I think Chris had a role in keeping us as a unit, and respecting us as future educators and as individuals. Who we are and what we had to offer, and being comfortable with acknowledging us. Sometimes he would look at me and after I would say something, I would feel like I had shared was profound. I mean, just looking at me with this like “Thank you, for saying that.” So much of the conversation I just wanted to be like, I just wanted to hug and kiss people and be like “You are genius!” This is incredible. Do you know what you are doing for my heart? Do you know what you are doing for my future? Everything that is happening in this classroom has completely eliminated any shred of a doubt that I would have had about what I wanted to do. Do you know what I mean? I feel in that way Chris’s role was definitely a unifier, a mediator, a contributor, a strengthener. He was like the backbone, and I feel like we would have gone several of the places, maybe we did, without him, but I feel like it would not have reached the depths that it did, without his contributions, and, and without him allowing us to speak. Maybe his role to was to teach us how to listen, and our role was to be supportive of one another, and to respect one another, and to be open-minded.
Tomorrow is a huge day for me. I know half the people that read this blog understand that this is what I want to do every day for the rest of my life, and I also know that a handful of that half know there are few things in my life I care about more than this. This is not a career to get me through. This isn’t the easy way out, a given gig, an obvious solution. This isn’t what I’m going to do “in the mean time.” This is ALL I want. These students, having a class room, making art surrounded by beautiful souls who fill me with joy whilst simultaneously making me CRAZY, that is what this girl lives for. I am so much less without the existence of this path, and there is nothing I could think of that I would throw my heart into as much as this. The struggle has been real and there have been days I have desperately wanted to throw that towel to the ground and stamp on it and walk away. But there are not enough bad incidents to ever outweigh the good, the incredible spirits I have met could never be ignored now that they have infiltrated my heart, and the passion of the art educators that have taught me shows me I am never alone in wanting the best for my students.
Call me crazy. Call me moronic, idiotic, foolish. You are wrong. I am proud. I am inspired. I am moved and I am moving. I am a believer in encounters and a supporter of radical hospitality. Wide awake… that is what I desperately always want to be.
So here goes nothing. I’m diving in, and I can’t wait to drown my fears. I know this will be everything I could ever dream of, because it already IS. I am only going to find more.
“You want to know what I make? I make a difference…”