Monday, March 16, 2009

Who am I Without You?

I read somewhere one time that the reason Emily Dickinson was such a recluse was because she wanted to keep her art pure. That is to say, she cut herself off from the world because she believed everyone you come in contact with has the ability to change you; to influence you in some way. She was not willing to take that chance with her craft so she stayed home. And wore white. And wrote.

You'll have to forgive this rare unsubstantiated claim as I have no idea where it came from. Interestingly enough, I find myself pondering this trivial tidbit of information all the time. I'd say almost daily. Who am I without you? The collective you. You all. This is a loaded question I will attempt to answer now:

My grandmother talked to me and lectured me about things I couldn't understand until I was grown. My aunt showed me that the center of the home is the kitchen and that the love omitted from a kitchen was universal. My mom was a pillar of strength until she wasn't, but remained present to help sweep up the pieces where they fell. Mrs. Wilson was the most incredible teacher I ever had in 3rd grade. I thought she hated me because she refused to let me settle for mediocrity. The woman broke her leg and was in school the next day with an assistant and a wheelchair. Mrs. Blaetz knew I struggled with math, but gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in leadership roles. She helped catch some of those pieces as they were falling. KP got me to declare English as a minor because at 17 she saw the writer in me. Mez. My dear Mez kept me from considering suicide when my rainbow was enuf.

Being around other people is so important even if your experiences are less than stellar. Who would I be without help? Who would I have become without preemptive lectures? What if I'd have settled for that D in math in third grade? If I would have let the fact that my world was crumbling impede my desire to overcome my circumstance? Truth is, I don't know.

I do know that I probably would not have ended up a teacher. But I am. I teach because I love. I teach because I want to become what these women became to me. I teach because each and every one of them has taught me something vital. And sure, I'll never be as famous as Emily Dickinson, but my impact will stick with someone and resurface just when they need it. Kind of like how my memories just resurfaced for this post.


  1. Beautifully written! We all have those people that for a reason, season, or lifetime come into our lives and make an impact. It's interesting to stop and think of the role we play in the lives of others, too. I'm a big sister, friend, confidante, etc... It just makes us stop and be thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon us.

    Great post!

    (p.s. I added you to my blogroll)

  2. Well said Nina....I appreciate the gratitude you show towards those who have had a visibly positive impact on you being the person that you are.

    Every experience is truly a learning experience.


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