July 8, 2019

STILL A STUDENT.

kid chalk art is the best art.
I've deemed July the month of writing in current time. It's still something that I hesitate doing (mostly because I don't want to seek out sympathy or make it seem like I'm posting for attention) but I know that it's these vulnerable posts that often help me grow, heal, and process the most.

I had high hopes for this summer. Plans for adventures with friends. Hopes for developing and deepening relationships. And desires to make things happen.

I know it's still very early in the summer, but this summer has played out much differently than I expected. Truthfully, so far, all of those things have actually happened, just not in the ways that I thought they would.

But along with all of those experiences and behind all those social media posts, there have also been very real feelings of loneliness rejection, and disappointment as well.

And for the first time in my life--no exaggeration--I've realized that I have every. single. right to feel these feelings. To sit in these emotions. And to validate them as well.

I laughed at all of this at first because I am so used to validating and talking through emotions with the kids at work--yet when it comes to myself, I often feel guilty for having negative feelings. I mean, I'm an adult and I should have things "put together," right? And yet, these are the feelings we're all allowed to have (which, in preschool speak sounds a lot like "it's okay to be mad" or "it's okay if you're frustrated).

Another one of my common teacher phrases is "I can see that you're sad because..." or "I can see that you're excited because..." which helps the preschoolers express their emotions and see how their emotions are expressed physically as well. When it comes to me, however, I'm the one who masks those emotions; so you'll rarely see me cry openly or express anger, too.

I'm slowly learning that it's okay to sit in the raw emotions--positive and negative ones. It's okay to be upset just as it's okay to be excited as well. Neither emotion is wrong and we need both of them to be our real, authentic selves. We wouldn't be human if we didn't have the spectrum of emotions and we wouldn't be human if we didn't show these emotions, either. There are healthy ways to express them, but we need to let others into our hearts, no matter how messy they are.

Because if you ask me, the messier, the better. 

So yes, I'm a preschool teacher who has so much to learn from the littles in my life. And this week has been one of those moments when I realized that I'm a kid at heart not just because I like to run and play tag but because I have so much to learn and grow from as well.
© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall