Today is the first Monday in weeks that I haven’t had a pile of school work to do, or haven’t had to actually be at school. Mondays are my day off, but the joy of being a teacher means that your days off are all too often filled with mountains of work.
So, today was filled instead with cooking for the week ahead and some much needed cleaning. And now I finally have a small window of time to sit and write.
Last week went in a blur. I curated our school’s first Art Show – this entailed lots of climbing ladders, fingers covered in pin pricks from hanging work, cleaning, shopping, welcoming, liaising, and everything in between. But it was definitely worth it. Seeing the pure joy and excitement on the faces of the students as they sneaked peeks into the hall to see what was going on was wonderful. It has been very well received but I am glad it is over (well, almost – have the packing up to do this week).
Like any big event, the lead up causes much loss of sleep and takes up lots of brain space. One thing that did hit me though, was the huge different between this Art Show event and the musical events we put on. For one, I actually got to stand back and enjoy the art and talk to people and observe. Musical shows require me to be up there performing, helping, conducting, directing. You don’t really get the opportunity to just be an audience member and get the buzz that that brings. These big events are both incredibly rewarding and incredibly draining – but I love them. I love being able to create them, to visualise them and then turn those ideas and images into reality. I love the joy it brings others. I love when they are over and things can go back to normal, knowing that the memory and emotion of the event will stay with people.
As I sit here today – returning to ‘normal’ and enjoying the ‘normal-ness’ of my day – I can breath and relax and drink tea. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with only 5 days till the end of term. And I have survived. I have survived the extremely high intensity of my job. I have survived putting on a big school event. I have survived being a mum and wife.
As I reflect on these things I survived though, I am left wondering which ones I did well and which I could do better. And the answer is clear – once again my teaching came first. My family has to live with me being exhausted and grumpy at the end of the day. My husband has to hear me in tears from pure exhaustion as I drive home and has to stand by while I race around when I get home unable to have a proper conversation or say a kind word until I finally unwind.
But that’s just part of it, isn’t it? I should just settle for this, shouldn’t I?
But that’s not what this journey is all about.
On Friday, I made a conscious effort to go to yoga before I headed into work for the Art Show. It was a battle of wills getting there – my brain kept filling up with all the things I needed to do instead of yoga, but my heart won out and I went. It was wonderful. I was still, I stretched, my brain was quiet for one whole hour. When I spoke to my husband after, he commented on how calm I sounded. I was surprised because I thought I sounded exactly the same – but he thinks I am much more centered and calm and relaxed after yoga. And maybe I am. I certainly feel more grounded. I can feel my feet firmly on the ground as opposed to feeling unbalanced. My shoulders and back don’t ache and my breathing is deeper and more even.
As I continue on this journey, I really hope that these insights and discoveries I am making help me ‘see the light’ and help me recognise the things that help me and identify the things that deplete me. I really look forward to the day when I am in the place I truly want to be. The place where I feel like there is a better balance. I know that it will never be perfect because that is life. But I do hope to improve what is now.
So, with all of this in mind, I come back to my one of my favourite Disney films and the song – “I See the Light” – from “Tangled”. What a gorgeous and truly scrumptious song this is. And like “Naughty” from Matilda, it speaks so much of the hope that I am searching for. That day when I can say to myself:
“…at last I see the light
And it’s like the fog has lifted
And at last I see the light
And it’s like the sky is new
And it’s warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
All at once everything is different
Now that I see (me*).”
“I See The Light” from Tangled
*The original word is “you”.
PS… My other favourite song from “Tangled” is this classic – “Mother Knows Best”! Mother does know best! If I ever get around to doing my dream of writing and performing a Cabaret show, I will definitely have to include this one.