I wanted so much to just disappear; I did not want to talk to anyone, but most people need their goodbyes. I have had too many of them to need any more.
“What are you going to do?” she asked me, as I was rolling my last cart of personal belongings to my car.
Dammit, I almost made it. I almost made it to my car without having to explain myself. Feeling the need to explain anything wasn’t sitting well with me. Why was I so bothered by her friendly question? It was not an inquisition; we had been friendly to each other during the years we worked together, and she genuinely seemed interested in what my life would look after leaving my classroom. As a school counselor she had a master’s degree in caring about the situations and emotions of others.
So, why did I desperately want to pretend like I didn’t hear her, sprint to my car, toss my boxes into the trunk of my car, and get the hell out of there?
The truth is I did not have a clear response to her question. Clear and simple would be something like, “I am moving,” or “I accepted another job.” Even people who retire have plans to announce. I wasn’t ready to retire, and I did not have specific plans to discuss, let alone announce, to anyone. I did have a blurry idea in my head, and a pulling in my heart. Something pulling me beyond those four classroom walls, in a different life direction. Where, I wasn’t sure. I knew if I stayed there, I was going to die a sad premature death. Not necessarily in physical form, but in spirit, which might be worse.
I was sad about leaving, but every cell in my body and every spark in my intuition told me I needed to move on. Now. My excessive work hours and stress were taking a toll on my body and on my personal relationships. Irrevocable damage was sure to follow if I did not make a change. I hadn’t attended a dance class in over a year because when I wasn’t working, which included weekends (grading and lesson planning), I was spending time with my terminally ill father. I was physically spent and emotionally drained.
I had seen my father take his last breath a few months prior which made me realize how fleeting life is. Witnessing my father’s death turned the quote, “Don’t die with your music still in you,” by Dr. Dyer, into my mantra. My father’s last breath breathed new life into mine.
I told the school counselor that I was going to spend some time writing. An English teacher actually having the time to write. What they want. Imagine that! She pressed, “What kind of writing?” Can I please leave now? I told her I like stories that inspire, not religious in nature, but that offer an alternative to a world of negative. I could not elaborate beyond that.
What followed: (if you’ve been reading me since the beginning of this blog, feel free to skip my timeline 😅 thank you for sticking around 😊 abundant gratitude for you)
- made it to my car and drove away for the last time (May 2019)
- enjoyed a quiet birthday with my family
- planned my dad’s celebration of life
- spent the summer stressing out and second-guessing my decision
- read and completed the activities from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way
- reconnected with dance and my long-lost love of photography
- started writing (the dam burst-I haven’t stopped)
- started meditating (every morning)
- started a blog (worked through fear)
- started (and eventually completed) a personal writing project, I titled, “Fifty Life Stories”
- drove an hour one-way, for several weeks, to attend a writing workshop that I stumbled on (intuition screamed at me to be there – I listened)
- started working with author/presenter of writing workshops, Sandra Marinella, a few months later (haven’t stopped)
- pandemic started (writing workshops went online)
- began a creative project with my daughter (three illustrated chapbooks followed)
- was published by Arizona State University (other publications followed)
- started writing a manuscript (multiple drafts and beta readers later, I am now researching and querying literary agents)
Other than knowing that I will be writing something in this blog and elsewhere, I have no idea what my writing future will look like. This type of uncertainty did not sit well with my prior married-to-structure self. I have learned to trust my intuition and my own pace on the purposeful creative path I am walking. I have also learned that teaching comes in many forms.
Like sparks of lightning in a dense cloud, dynamic surprises are bursting from the blurriness of my present.
Note: This post is for inspirational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to serve as quit-your-job advice. For that I suggest you consult a financial advisor. 😁 Reflecting is grounding and helpful for me; I hope you’ve learned something useful for your own life.
A special thank you to Kym Moore and Dawn Pisturino for reviewing my poetry collection, “My Inspired Life: A Poetic Journey.” A surprising and beautiful coincidence that these two incredible women chose to order my book and then write a review in the same week. I am grateful.
Their reviews are touching and generous. Sharing a highlight:
“Michele’s poetic epiphanies spill over into a fountain of cleansing resolve.” ~ Kym Moore
“She approaches the world with quiet dignity, joyful pride, and a sincere expression of faith in herself and the people around her. ” ~ Dawn Pisturino
Wow. I published this collection to recognize and celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary (over two years ago). Life is full of surprises! ✨
Thank you for reading and listening. 🎶 Be well. 💗 Michele
Please take a five-minute dance break with this beautiful song. Your body and mind will thank you! Moving lyrics below:I am by Satsang
Well, I no longer fear the unknown
‘Cause I know what I am here for
I keep on troddin’ on my own path
Keep on learnin’ from my present and past, yeah
Well, I no longer need validation
‘Cause my story is long and I’m patient
I know that I have lessons to learn
Keep my eyes open, each step I earn, yeah
No need for me to feel alone
‘Cause I got a place that I call home
Every single road traveled, every single new place
I come back home, they accept me with grace, yeah
Well, I know that I was meant to be here
And I know that I was born into fear
But I will stand tall in the lion’s den
‘Cause I know in my heart I am one of them
That there are lies in the facets of everything that we see
That are telling us to be scared, when all we ever are is free
I’m letting go of the things that don’t serve me no more
‘Cause I am holy, and sacred
And righteous, and true, and I deserve to be here
And so do you
Songwriters: Sean Garrett, Enrique Martin, Taddrick Mingo, Julio Filomeno, Rufus Morgan Jr.
Photos: my images
© 2022 Michele Lee Sefton