In many ways I can’t believe I am going to be transparent enough to write this post (and I am sure my sweet mama won’t believe it). Although I wasn’t at TMC18, watching Julie Reulbach’s amazing address afterward and the outpouring of blog spots and tweets that followed from people that felt they weren’t enough sometimes to be a part of the MTBoS group finally inspired me to share my story.
Three years ago I was at the lowest point of my life in more ways than you can imagine. Most people had no idea of course. My family and very closest friends new but otherwise I put on enough of a show to keep my struggles internal. I was fresh off of getting divorced, learning how to be a single mom, had gained nearly 50 pounds and was trapped in depression and anxiety that paralyzed me.
I can remember praying that summer for school to hurry up and start. Teaching was the one thing I could control. It was the one thing that I felt I remained good at when I had convinced myself I was failing in all other parts of life. Once school started I poured myself into writing blogs and tweeting because the affirmation and acceptance I got from the #MTBoS were in many ways the only things I felt I was getting right. I had a different identity in the group where I was successful, had it all together, and wasn’t the big mess that I saw when I looked in the mirror.
I can remember that at night after the kids went to bed often times I couldn’t sleep because my mind was filled with anxiety and the feelings of depression were crushing me. I would truly go to Twitter to participate in #msmathchat or to just see what was happening in the math ed world so that for 5 or 10 minutes I could feel important, and strong, and like I mattered.
Fast forward to today and I am in a much better place that I was three years ago. I crawled out from under the depression that crippled me and I have learned to manage the anxiety better (this is still a work in progress) that caused me not to want to even leave the house somedays. I am a better mom, lost the 50 pounds that life’s circumstances caused me to gain, met a great man who deals with my crazy life and sees the good in me even when I don’t.
However, every day is never going to be perfect and I still find myself flocking to the MTBoS to remind myself of where I came from and who I really am. I went through a difficult situation in my district and school this last year that caused me to leave the classroom in May. I was terrified that maybe I wouldn’t be as welcomed in the MTBoS world without my teacher hat on but instead some of my favorite people there have rallied around me and encouraged me as I stepped away from room 406 for the first time.
I have been so lucky to go to work for a company that is amazing and supportive and very patient with me and my one million questions but I haven’t done anything new in 13 years so my learning curve has been really steep. I apologize all day every day for what I don’t know, for all the questions I ask, and for not being as independent as I want to be yet. I am so thankful that all of my new coworkers seem to have the patience of Job. When those old feelings of insecurity and self-doubt have come creeping in I find myself going back to the MTBoS to read tweets and blogs to remind myself that in that group I have always been enough.
So thank you to everyone in the MTBoS that has been a cheerleader for me whether it be by liking, sharing, or just sending good thoughts from time to time. You may not have realized it at the time but you were literally saving me from myself and for that I will always be thankful. Thank you for reminding me that I have always been enough.