I learned a long time ago that there are many different kinds of teachers in our experiences. Quite a few are clearly understood and familiar. Quite a few are actually not…or at least, they weren’t to me. And I have come to a lovely point wherein I enjoy recognizing who my teachers are and where the lessons are.
The first and most obvious might be the classroom teachers. I’ve had quite a few lovely teachers in schools, and a few fairly ineffective ones. Two that stand out to me are actually both men – one from junior high, and one from high school. In junior high, Mr. Ozcekiewski (John?) was that guy that everyone feared based on what they observed after kids came back in with him from that secret place of torture out in the hallway, many with red faces and tear stains. Until you ended up in that place with him, you did not realize that he did not have a rack in there, or some manner of whiffle bat. He simply talked to you about your progress and what he wanted for you. It tended to be a very emotional experience and really showed that he actually was one of the most caring teachers ever. Then in high school, Brother John Vietoris was the most awesome History teacher a Junior year student could ask for. Talk about making it interesting to many of us who could have cared less, he always had extra anecdotes…little bits that we did not need to know, but it made the experience of a potentially very dry topic quite enjoyable. (Alright….I’ll admit….it didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous!)
With the direction my journey had taken me, these teachers did not prevent me from dropping out. Life had become extremely complicated at that time in my life, and I was not able to complete the requirements for graduation. However, all that really happened is that my classroom changed. I was in therapy at the time, and I learned about the kind of therapist I never wanted to work with again. I belonged briefly to a pentecostal congregation that taught me what I did not want church to be. I started doing community theatre, and met a woman who continues to teach me today….then, it was theatre. Now it’s quite a bit more. And at that time, I met some amazing people that I am blessed to still know…..and I met Page.
Page taught me – and still does – to lighten the f#*& up and have some fun! He was my first, and frankly my best, husband. He is now part of my non-physical circle. He also ended up being my first teacher of heart-break. I was derailed completely by the end of that relationship. But what I have been gifted with is the chance to BE derailed, and the I’ve been learning ever since.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky and not what many would expect. My family of origin and I had a chunk of time between the 90s and the 2000s where we had next to no contact. I landed on some fairly typical drama – that we were done, that they would never accept me because I was gay, and so on. During that time, I had a pastor that showed me that they were my teachers, much to my surprise. I asked him what he felt they were teaching me, and he said that I stand up for myself…that I stand my ground. I was amazed to realize that he was right. There is a specific member of my family of origin who taught me this and more in an even more profound way. This man was my uncle, and the perpetrator of sexual and physical abuse, both in my childhood and my teens. When I was about 19 or so, we had an altercation wherein I learned to stand up for myself, but even more so, I learned to take my power back from him. In some ways, I was changed forever after that. I would imagine that many people had not thought of their abusers as teachers. But here’s the thing….learning is not always fun at all. But as long as it continues, my journey does as well. And when Uncle Fred visited me probably a good 10 years after he had transitioned to complete amends, that taught me how much resolution is possible at any time after any incidents have taken place. And the journey continues.
As I continue along my path, I continue to meet more teachers. The puppies in the house that I used to live in tried to teach people, like Page taught me, to lighten up and have fun! Babies teach me all the time. They, and toddlers, teach me how much we decide to condition out of ourselves and each other as the kids are raised. There are so many times that I see kids throwing a fit and wish I could still do that now and then. A dragonfly literally danced in the air in front of me, blocking the sidewalk, a few days before I went to New Orleans…the message being to pay attention to the way I was seeing things when I got there. Rabbits in the neighborhood remind me to follow intuition. And my guides, etc., teach me all the time. They teach me about following my path more intently, learning to let go of resistant thought and allow all that happens because it all happens for a reason. I just need to pay more attention. Seriously, the lessons come from anywhere and everywhere….and anytime.
And now it seems I am to become a teacher. Not that I have not passed on lessons before. But now, it will become more active. As I was receiving this information just this past weekend, I was actively involved in passing on something quite significant to one of my actual teachers. It was a very powerful moment, and it helped me to pay more attention to something. I know a lot. I’m aware of a lot. I have a lot to share. I even have a unique perspective on a lot of it. What an amazing thing! I am actually developing a workshop that will hopefully be presented in July. I’ve never done something like this before! But I am taking this opportunity and seeing it as a beginning of another direction in my journey. (I’m keeping it quiet for now until it is presented!)
Teaching and learning really does come in many different packages, both attractive and not so very attractive. Many of my teachers continue to instruct me. My family of origin does, for sure. And I welcome all of them more as I continue on my path. On that note, if you have any comments or even more, any questions for me – regarding this or any of my other blog posts – I very happily welcome them!