Who knew that my 25th cycle around the Earth would leave such a lasting shadow?
I took a social media break for three weeks because I had reached rock bottom and looking at yall’s lives wasn’t making it any better. My goal on my break was to take full advantage of the silence that already surrounded me. (Well, that was my second goal. The initial goal was just to go away.) I wanted to sit in the place of uncomfortable reflection that moving abroad has given me. Who am I? Where am I going? And how the hell do I get there? These questions have arrived in a time and place where everything seemed to be crumbling in slow motion.
And God has made sure that I am alive and awake to feel every inch of my growing pains; Every moment of dissatisfaction at work; Every insecurity, from my body to my writing to the way I talk; forcing myself to find similarities in a world of endless difference; fear of being alone; not being worthy of love. These growing pains have heightened my impulsivity.
My first tears in the desert pushed me to use my impulsiveness for good.
I enrolled in TalkSpace therapy. I needed to talk to someone. Professional help is truly unmatched. Here I’ve learned to start reframing my thinking. I’ve practiced gratitude. Most of all, I’ve vocalized a lot of inner thoughts that were deep inside. A quick reminder…Therapy is for everyone.
I stopped thinking about myself as a teacher. I stopped thinking of myself as a teacher and started to think about myself as a human. What are my human needs? This question brought the most clarity. I had lost myself in the performance of teaching and the pressure to perform that I truly forgot that I was a human being.
I was honest with myself and everyone else. People have reached out and sent messages over these last few weeks with a common question, “How are you?”. And I’ve tried my very best to respond honestly: not so good, aight, blah. And each time I was honest, I cringed a bit inside. People are used to cheering me on; not supporting me through the rough times, I’ve always done that by myself, for the most part. But this honesty, has allowed me a little bit of freedom each time.
It’s been three weeks. And I feel…better. I still have some big questions to answer:
- Will I return to teaching for a 5th year? If I do, will it be back in the United States or abroad?
- How do I reach my new long-term goals?
- Who is Patrick now that he has decentralized teaching from his identity?
I didn’t write this post to offer advice, just experience and perspective. I don’t desire to have it all figured or or appear that I do. I’m in the midst of transition. Yall gonna have to realize that. Taking these steps of being honest and vulnerable with my self, for myself will always push me forward. My future is translucent, getting clearer each day. Most of all, Intention has set me free.