Education

I’m Still Here.

It was the beginning of August when I drove from the airport to my hotel  on a sweltering day in Chattanooga, TN. Before I set off from the airport, I paired my phone with the car via bluetooth so I could sing at the top of my lungs to my playlist during my drive. I remember a distinct moment on I-75 when the beautiful Appalachian Mountains that surround the city came into view as I followed a curve. At that same moment,  Nichole Nordeman’s song “Sound of Surviving” came up on my playlist.

Every year, it is like a lightswitch pops on as the calendar moves from July 31 to August 1 and the new school year is illuminated ahead of me like a path. This new school year would be my 22nd year in education, and in that moment in the hot sun in Chattanooga with Nichole Nordeman playing, I decided that I was going to enter this new year with my whole heart.

Take a moment, if you would, and play Nichole’s beautiful song while you read the rest of this post. I am listening to it as I write.

They told me

I’d never get to tell my story

Too many bullet holes

It would take a miracle

These voices

Inside my head like poison

Trying to steal my hope

Silencing my soul

I am not sure if anyone else ever told me that I would not be able to tell my story, but the voices inside my head that I put there certainly did. The beginning of my career in education and especially in leadership was a journey to overcome self-doubt and imposter syndrome. It still plagues me from time to time, but writing is cathartic and is a powerful antidote.

But my story is only now beginning

Don’t try to write my ending

Nobody gets to sing my song

Tears of gratitude flow as I recognize that my story is just beginning and that I get to write it, literally and figuratively. I am both grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to be an educator and each day is a gift filled with opportunity and hope. It is empowering and thrilling to think about embracing all the parts of me–the pieces I love and the pieces I want to improve–and sing my song this year. Sometimes loudly and sometimes softly. Without apology.

This is the sound of surviving

This is my farewell to fear

This is my whole heart deciding

I’m still here, I’m still here

And I’m not done fighting

This is the sound of surviving

My whole heart is in, every piece of me wants to serve students and staff and families in extraordinary ways this year. I am 43 years old and I am still here, still fighting for our kids. Fear will not lead the way this year in any capacity.

These pieces

The ones that left me bleeding

Intended for my pain

Became the gift You gave me

I gathered those pieces into a mountain

My freedom is in view

I’m stronger than I knew

 

And this hill is not the one I die on

I’m going to lift my eyes and

I’m going to keep on climbing

There are some hills I will die on, but I will choose them carefully, based on what really matters for our students. Based upon what staff needs to do their very best work and feel good while doing it. Based upon what our families deserve when they send us their precious gifts each day.

This is the sound of surviving

This is my farewell to fear

This is my whole heart deciding

I’m still here, I’m still here

And I’m not done fighting

This is the sound of surviving

I’m still here. With my whole heart. Honored and humbled. Still smiling from ear to ear.

I’m still here

Say it to the ache, lying there awake

Say it to your tears

I’m still here

Say it to the pain, say it to the rain

Say it to your fear

 

This is the sound of surviving

This is my farewell to fear

This is my whole heart deciding

I’m still here, I’m still here

And I’m not done fighting

No, I’m not done fighting

And I am still rising, rising

I’m still rising

And I’m not done fighting

This is the sound of surviving

This song gets me everytime. Tears in awe of the honor bestowed upon me, tears of gratitude, tears of hope for the future. Thank you Nichole for sharing your beautiful gifts and for inspiring me to be in with my whole heart this year. May each of you be blessed with the same decision.

4 thoughts on “I’m Still Here.”

  1. What a beautiful writing…. You are such a beautifully powerful person and I am so grateful for your influence and the passion you model on so many levels! Thank you!

    Harm

    On Sun, Sep 8, 2019 at 12:47 PM Serendipity in Education wrote:

    > allysonapsey posted: “It was the beginning of August when I drove from the > airport to my hotel on a sweltering day in Chattanooga, TN. Before I set > off from the airport paired my phone with the car via bluetooth so I could > sing at the top of my lungs to my playlist during my ” >

    Like

  2. “Tears of gratitude flow as I recognize that my story is just beginning and that I get to write it, literally and figuratively.” Yes! This is what life is all about and those who figure it out sooner rather than later are ahead in the game and always will be.
    garygruber.com/end-of-life-matters

    Liked by 1 person

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