Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day One Hundred Twenty-Three: Ankle Talks

I've been laying in bed for an hour, hitting the snooze every nine minutes. It's almost seven am. I'm stretching my legs, arching my spine, rotating my ankles and then, ouch, it's like I've just twisted my ankle. I stand up, and my left ankle gives out. I hobble to the washroom. Hobble down the stairs. Pretty soon, I've forgotten the ache and it's rush, rush to get out the front door.

I've dug out my moose hide beaver lined gloves, with beaded pink flowers on the back hand. I've never worn this Black Lake treasure in Fort Qu'Appelle before. I am drinking strong Red Rose tea with Carnation condensed milk in the You Are the Person That I Love mug. I take pictures against the fresh snow from last night, hanging, sticking on everything.

I see Angie's footprints in the snow by the ski hill. Then she -- ahead of me by ten, fifteen, twenty minutes -- and I go our separate ways. I turn off at the cement yard, wave at Roy and Trudine's house. Angie keeps going straight. The hay field before the tracks is deep, but not impassable. My ankle is talking back a little, but once I'm over the highway, through the ditch, and behind the school, the uneven ground is really making my ankle sing.

The school day unfolds: students and staff like my gloves; one student and I have conflict in the office; two students and I drive to White Raven Healing Centre in the All Nations Healing Hospital to interview Margaret Keewatin for our First Nations and Metis Leadership Literacy Project but Margaret is snowed-in and we reschedule for tomorrow; students catch up on poetry, short story and essay assignments; students transcribe interviews, pull quotes, write introductions and conclusions. All day long as I treaty walk my school my ankle talks. Ooh. Slow down. Ouch. Ouch. Sit down. Oww oww. Put your leg up. After school the grades four, five and six come over for table tennis club. Kayla, the elementary after school coordinator, brings the kids. Dean, my grade twelve junior coach, takes charge. I hobble about, watching, giving advice.

Michael comes to pick up Arwen who has been playing table tennis. I am following her to the vehicle. "Mom, why aren't you going to treaty walk home?" she says.

"Mommy's ankle is really sore. I need to take it easy."

Just yesterday, Arwen treaty walked home with me. She's very proud of me. I can feel it in the way she says 'treaty walk'. She talks to her teachers about my walks. One of them always asks her if she walks with me. I think she wanted to be able to say yes next time.

I'm home in no time. I flop on the couch, leg up. Moira brings a granola bar. Michael puts lasagna in the oven. Arwen practices fiddle. Michael brings an ice pack. Moira is dj with the television, showing me episodes of Fringe and Castle.

I read Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection, snooze, watch tv. My ankle hurts, even to move it. Michael tells me it's swollen, even bruised. From what? I wonder.

It's almost midnight and I start writing an email to Cathy, my principal.

Hey Cathy,
I had a rough day today. I was already "fragile" going into the day, and then I had a run in with a student. And then my stupid foot getting worse all day long.
I'm reading Brene Brown's book called "Gifts of Imperfection". She's talking about living wholeheartedly with courage, compassion, and connection. The only problem with all this is that to live authentically, we must also be vulnerable. It's like she's writing right to me; she has ten "guideposts" subtitled as letting go: Letting go of what people think, perfectionism, numbing and powerlessness, scarcity and fear of the dark, need for certainty, comparison, exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth, anxiety as a lifestyle, self-doubt and supposed to, being cool and always in control.
I feel like I need a month to just be quiet and breathe, but I'll settle for tomorrow, staying home with a sore foot. (Cory is Career Cruising with my 10's).
So why am I telling you all this? Guess I'm fishing for encouragement, (connection as Brene Brown would say) as I often do. I had a good cry at Rod . He's so honest and supportive. Brene Brown talks about liking ourselves, and I think I do like the idea of me, but the reality... I'm not so sure. I'm feeling bad for the students who have to navigate all my "authenticity". As Rod told me, we've been training them that school means one thing, and then you're trying to bring a different way, it's almost unfair to the kids. So, this is my heart ache email, in tears, feeling like I don't know how to be a teacher who can make spaces that work for her students. I know I have success with a few of the kids, but what about the rest?
I'm a mess, feeling like a high maintenance teacher. I never see my colleagues like this. (there I go comparing...)
So, I'll be gone tomorrow, and then on Thursday I'm in Wolseley with our project meeting (Cory is Career Cruising Wednesday and Thursday) and Friday I'll be in PD, presenting as though everything is peachy.
I guess my question for myself is, is all this "putting it out there" worth it? And, I guess I'm the one who needs to answer that. I know what I would tell someone else, but why can't I give myself the same answer?
Okay, that's my cry for now. Thank you for listening, as always.

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