“I stepped out of the office and stepped back fully into the splendor of summer. I perched in window sills, took long slow walks, sat beside rivers, gazed in the sky until my neck hurt, took the time to savor the feel of my true love’s skin.”
Guiding Question: What has this summer meant to you? What have you learned? How have you grown?
It’s been a little minute since I posted a blog, my apologies. Did you miss me? I missed me too. I missed my silliness, my Black-girl-free, my scatter-brained adventures. I was starting to become too serious. Sure, education is serious business, what could be more important than the battle for the hearts, minds, and spirits of our young people? But my role in that battle is rooted in all that I am, not what I’ve adapted to become so others could take me seriously. I spout acronyms and repeat rhetoric and struggle to accredit myself in a field where degrees are supposed to be synonymous with intelligence, but I look around at all of the stupid shit that has been allowed to fly and I’m not impressed. So when a school chief benignly smiled at me and said, “I don’t know how many years you’ve been in education.” I responded “eleven”, but thought to myself, “bitch, don’t let the dimples and smooth skin fool you” and she came back with, “well, I don’t know what your background is.” I let it go.
See, her thoughts of me are inconsequential. What matters is how I see myself. And for too long I had been looking in somebody else’s mirror. I had been letting their obsessions with SMART goals and PowerPoints and knowledge of the status quo define my value. And all of those things are valuable, but my value transcends all of those things. I’m a motherfuckin’ beast. You heard? I’m an artist, a business woman, a wife, a friend, a damn good listener, and a lover.
And I love summer. I wasn’t going to let anybody take that from me. Not even me. So I stepped out of the office and stepped back fully into the splendor of summer. I perched in window sills, took long slow walks, sat beside rivers, gazed in the sky until my neck hurt, took the time to savor the feel of my true love’s skin. I listened to new music, read stories that made my heart swell. I engaged in spirit filled discourse, I danced, I painted my face, I breathed creativity in and I let mine run wild. I’m writing y’all. My kind of writing. I produced a short film, I was on The Maggie Linton show, and I had my first gig for The Source. I’m living my dream.
As I turn the bend and head towards fall, I feel steadied. I feel lighter. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to the woman I want to be. I feel like a leader. Because despite the fact that I’m leading the biggest reform effort the Rochester City School District has seen since Brown vs. Board, or that my company is growing faster than I can keep up with, or that my writing and presence is being sought after by international media outlets, none of that matters if I don’t know what’s leading me. The money can come and the fame and the accolades, but the success will be empty if I haven’t first defined that word for myself. So I read the Word a little closer now and I write to God first and I let Him show me who He created me to be.
Now as the breeze takes on a slight chill, and the sun sets a little earlier every day, and the school doors open back up, I challenge you to do the same. Close your eyes and wrap your arms around yourself. What’s leading you? What’s holding you back? You have a lot to give and a duty to do so, but it won’t work until you give you back to you.