So It has been a long awhile since I have written an entry. Actually, I have made several attempts to start an entry on various topics that crossed my mind in the past…let me think… 8 months. All attempts were valid but I have decided to start, complete and publish this entry because this subject matter has been a constant theme for the past 8 months.
My last entry dealt with applying for jobs while teaching art during my summer vacation. A somewhat bittersweet season that pushed me to cling to God and ask for guidance on a daily basis. In this quest, I did receive revelation via a dream. I had a dream I was talking to Hispanic young women, teenagers, and I only remember the words I told them in the dream, “You must know your worth.” or something along those lines. In the dream, the girls simply listened and had the utmost respect for me. When I woke up, I felt empowered that I had this task to take on and then, of course, I asked, “Why was I only talking to Hispanic young women.” It simply goes to show that God gives you information little by little because by the end of the summer I had received a job at a high school, teaching theater and dance, along with being the drill team dance assistant director at a high school that was predominantly Hispanic.
The position took some getting used to. Especially coming from working at a catholic school in The Heights, and then a magnet school nestled in the lush South Hampton neighborhood. Then on top of that, having a private school education majority of my life… well, I experienced public school education during my middle school years, which gave some street cred but not a whole lot since the school resided in West University.
So I accepted the position and in the first couple of months, I had to “man-up” and be quite stern with my students. I was given this advice from a fellow educator who works in the infamous Aldine school district. It proved to work because it is now spring semester and those once troubled students are now participating, wanting to do better. And there is an overall sense of respect in all my classes. No longer do have that one student that changes the whole dynamic, in fact, that one student has now become interested in pursuing theater. Somehow this overall peace in my classroom is present. Now, I give no credit to me just me putting my foot down but simply to God. Since my first day of school, I have been praying over every desk in my classroom. I do a walk through every morning with my hands extended on the desks, praying my students are able to release any pain and/ or anger in the process of participating in my class. I guess I was aware at some point in my life that the arts has the power to heal, but it has become quite clear now that I am now the facilitator of this emotional release.
I remember when I first got the position. When I had the interview with the principal I knew I needed to be there. The school was nowhere near the utopian school with involved parents or students that did above and beyond but I knew my presence was needed in this moment. I knew I needed to share the arts with THESE students. I remember the week before school officially started, professional development week
for the teachers, as I was introducing myself to the teachers, and getting my classroom together I had a smile on my face but was suppressing the very fact that I was super nervous and felt… well, inadequate. I knew God had planned this … this was the next step towards the bigger picture. I held in a lot of what I was feeling. I was “Faking it, until I made it.” Now, of course, when you hold stuff in they are bound to come out eventually… well mine came out in tears while in church. The perfect place, right?! I went to church and I don’t particularly remember the sermon but near the end the pastor wanted to do a special prayer over the teachers. The teachers had to stand up while the others had their hands extended towards the teachers in the church. Right when Pastor Jeremy recited the first line of the prayer, tears started to roll down my face, and all that frustration I was holding onto flowed out. This was my emotional release.
I am now in the thick of it. The school year is about to come to an end and I survived dance competition season! My theater students are pretty comfortable in expressing themselves, of course in an appropriate manner, and have gotten to know the girls pretty well on the drill team. The teacher role has certainly crossed over to mentor role. And yes that “worth” lecture has come up in some various conversations with my students… especially my female students. Yet, more than ever I have even seen that “worth” lecture crossover to my circle of friends and family, and even strangers on my path. This bringing up of women, in general, has become a trend in my life … I am starting to have more clarity on how to go about it now.
Throughout my life, I have allowed my light to get dim in certain areas of my life. In comparing myself to others, in looking for men to give me value, and simply not adhering to God’s guidance. I have been so caught up in seeking outside myself for value and instead of seeking Him to know my value. At this point in my life, successfully being single for a whole year I now know where my value lies. I now have boundaries and have shed some “fleshy” attributes of myself. Of course, this process calls me to pray to Him on the daily to stay on course. I am not a finished product but I do see a change and that makes me smile… chin up and chest out
How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.
Psalm 119:9-16 MSG