When the dream catches up to the dreamer!
For the past few weeks I have not written anything… I have written absolutely nothing.
Actually, I have written here and there but have only posted and shared sporadically. The truth is that I have been experiencing some major developments in my life and living my potential.
I haven’t set many intentions publicly because I have been living with intention privately. Sometimes life calls us to do some internal introspection and reflecting. It is intentional my reasons for not sharing the most amazing news that has happened for me. Over the past month I have been training for a job I love. The thing about this moment is that in actuality I have been training, preparing and waiting for this job my entire life.
Finally the dream has caught up to the dreamer… my dream has caught up with me. These last four weeks have been intense with meetings and planning all in preparation for this new school-year. With that… I am thrilled to share that I formally accepted a position as a teacher for a Young Women’s Leadership School for Girls.
The title “Teacher” has always left a bad taste in my mouth a taste more like milk curdling. Teachers to me equated “enemy”. And I say enemy because one teacher in particular became my worst enemy and I was only in the 4th grade.
She would be that ONE “bad” teacher that stood out the most and all the “GOOD” ones stayed hidden in her shadow.
I hated this teacher. I absolutely despised her. I am glad I don’t remember her name but I wish I had learned the skills earlier to go back and tell her all she took from me. I hated her for the lasting affects she would have on my life and my ideas of education and my self worth. She took my love for learning… she took away my voice… she took away my power when she ridiculed and embarrassed me in front of my entire class. ME, a skinny nine year old girl with immigrant parents and hand me down clothing. SHE, this fabulously dressed white woman in a position of power.
On this day in 1979 she decided it was OK to make fun of me and my clothing. This moment in my life did more than mark me. She was the reason I hated school. I hated learning. I hated authority figures. I hated white people. I hated power. It changed me.
And I… was never the same.
Humiliation can do that. Humiliation and shame can paralyze. Being humiliated and made to feel ashamed of who you are and where you are from by your teachers, your friends, your mentors, and your classmates can change you!
So I did the only thing I could do… I FOUGHT!!!
I fought back! I gave her my fiercest fuck you in the form of a middle finger from the depths of my little girl body! An act that I hoped she heard loud and clearly because a girl my age during that time… my little self didn’t quite know how to communicate that she hurt me. What else could I say? And yes a beating did follow by mami and papi “porque las nińas no se compartan asi!”
We are taught that good girls don’t behave in that fashion! Good girls respect their elders. Good girls KNOW their place! Good girls are to respect our superiors. Good girls respect white people. Good girls are to play inferior and believe we are beneath everyone! This is what I was to take away from my well deserved and earned beating.
Fast forward to today 2014, 35 years after that experience, I would never have dreamed that I would accept a role of teacher. Something changed in me. I know it happened the moment I launched the New York City Latina Writers Group. There was something special about creating this space for women… women who were once girls… women who desperately wanted to find their VOICE… women who wanted to share their story and learn from one another. I have taught many women how to surrender to their story and tap into their own VOICE and in turn I have learned so much about my own.
I found power in teaching. I found inner strength in sharing. I found my spirit in guiding. I found my love for writing from love of self. And I discovered that I really love teaching… I AM A TEACHER!!!
I say this today with a little discomfort because if I say I OWNED this title I would be lying. I can admit that I am still very hurt by that one teacher because she abused her power and I will never understand why!
If teachers understood the power they possess.
Teachers are in a wonderful position to identify the gifts of their students and either nurture these gifts or destroy them. Several months ago I watched John Leguizamo’s “Ghetto Clown” and one of my favorite monologues was about him being in school and a certain teacher who saw something in him. That teacher saw his gifts and guided him to start taking acting classes!
It’s amazing what having one person, one teacher, one family member, one friend be that person that believes in you! I was cheering for his teacher and just a little sad because I wished I had that when I was a young girl.
The thing is…
I did have amazing teachers… I may not have known them all or acknowledged them as such at the time, because I was so blinded by anger and rage and hate and filled with so much disrespect for ALL teachers. It was hard to really see the GOOD ones.
My dream has caught up to me…
It is no coincidence that the work I do with women, workshops I facilitate, events I curate and the stories I write for and about girls have ALL brought me to this exact moment. So I am beyond thrilled and honored to share that I AM a teacher, I will be teaching girls in the Bronx! This is a position I take on with so much love and humility because everything I do is for girls like ME… girls who want to be heard… girls who want to be accepted and loved… girls like my daughter, her friends and all of my nieces. I am filled with so much gratitude today and am eager to start.
And for my teachers out there… please don’t abuse your power you never know the impact you leave and how you will be remembered!
And so it is. Namasté. Aché