As we tiptoe up on October, I'm trying to shake my brain free of all the cobwebs that built up over the last year. I still remember the weather early October of last year. It was bright sunshine, blue skies, and warm. It never seemed to make sense to me that the weather was so beautiful while a storm was raging inside my head.
I suppose that's a blog post for another day, though, because I can't quite think of that anniversary yet. Instead, all I can think about is how my mind is finally clearing. I never, ever gave less than 100% in the classroom last year, but it was hard. 8th graders aren't known for empathy, so when I came back from a week of hospital visits, tests, and no real answers, one said "We thought you got fired." Another said, "Finally, you're back. What'd you do, go on vacation?" And my personal favorite, "We thought you were gone because you killed yourself." I know that 8th graders are tactless and I'm pretty good at reminding myself that their cognitive reasoning skills haven't fully developed yet, but to my heart that was already broken in so many ways, each of these hurt and irritated an already so fresh wound. So I had a school year where I gave my all in the classroom but hardly had a relationship with my students. I hated it.
This year is already better. I'm redoing my short story unit plans in a way that is tedious for me but is very beneficial to my students, especially those who struggle with reading. It's been good to see the lower readers really grasp the concept of a story. And yes, it's been good to form relationships with the kids and know that they'll last.
I'm shaking off things in other ways, too. I've been struggling with running lately, but finally, this last week, I felt myself getting stronger. It's been so long since I've had that feeling that I embraced it cautiously. When I set out for a run yesterday, I told myself I had to go two miles without stopping. I made two miles and felt fine, even after conquering a big hill. I told myself I'd run until I reached the main road, then I could stop if I wanted. I reached the main road and didn't need to stop. I kept going until just after mile three when I had a nasty cramp in my leg. I stopped for less than a minute to stretch and shake it out and thought, "This is it. I'll end up mostly walking from here on out." Except that I didn't. I took a new route and enjoyed the sights. Before I knew it, I was at four miles and didn't need to stop. I felt strong and for the first time in a long time, I thought, "10k? I can totally do a 10k!" I pushed myself to a faster pace for the last half mile and ended at five miles out of breath but smiling. Running is so mental. I knew I could go five miles without doing intervals, I just needed to clear the cobwebs and forge the connection between my mind and my body.
This October is going to be good. I can feel it.