I Showed Up

I skipped church today. I’ve posted the last two weeks about feeling under the weather, and my body has finally been sleeping through the night and catching up on some major sleep debt. I took full advantage of an extra couple hours in bed this morning to let my body recovery some much needed energy. I knew I was on the mend all week, but there were still lots of moments I couldn’t give my full one hundred percent to certain activities.

One such activity is walking – I knew I wouldn’t be breaking any records, but I also knew it was important to still move my legs. Tuesday night that meant planks, bridges, and sit-to-stands while chatting with my friend Michele. A couple other days this week, I asked Cindy to show up at school and just walk around the auditorium or cafeteria with me for about ten minutes. I maxed out after that short time because I was coughing and panting, but I still managed several laps before needing to sit down.

I really struggle with not being able to do things perfectly or to constantly be seen as improving. I know this isn’t an overall decline in my health because I had a set back for a pretty intense month. Instead, I’m working hard to get back to my previous levels of personal bests with these small accomplishments. So I didn’t grade all my AP essays in one go – but I knocked out a full third in one sitting. I’ve got grace enough to give myself breaks and celebrate my neighbor’s birthday tonight with a bonfire at the grillplatz.

That’s actually worth a pause to talk about. I’m showing up because my friend cared to be inclusive about her birthday celebration and make sure it was accessible to me despite my disability. I really like Amanda and want to be a part of her celebration, and I’ve planned my energy expenditure this weekend accordingly. I can’t always do everything, but the choice to go to this birthday bonfire matters in my growth because I have the ability to still engage in social activities even when lots of my life is complicated – I’ve been excluded from invitations before because people thought it would be too much effort to include me, but this one is something I can fully participate in because Amanda thought about accessibility in her plans.

I’m choosing a full rich life that has the complexities of parties and grading. I’ll get my scores updated in PowerSchool by tomorrow afternoon (so it doesn’t impact the two kids who forgot to click “submit” accidentally ending up on the academic monitoring list). I’ll still have my lessons prepped before I teach them. I’ll laugh with that ridiculous senior who refers to himself as my TAA (my teacher’s assistant’s assistant) because he’s bored during his study hall and prefers to buy my TA coffee from Hieber instead of doing his own homework. No judgement – sometimes he buys me coffee too.

We’ve actually had some good conversations, and that particular student is a huge part of the reason I keep showing up to work. I know his life is far from perfect, and in an effort to encourage him to keep at it when he can’t do everything exactly how his parents, RAs, or teachers expect, I’ve let him in on the widely spread secret that I’m not perfect either. My struggle is often in the all or nothing need to only complete what I know I can do perfectly – because I don’t want anyone to know my walk was only ten minutes instead of the previous standard of fifteen or twenty or whatever it even was. Do any of you keep records like that on me? No. If you do, you have the decency not to taunt me if I fall short.

Instead, I have a great team of people cheering me on for whatever I accomplish this week. Or even just today. And I showed up today. I didn’t do a lot; I didn’t do as much as I did at this point in last month, but I still showed up with something. My big picture trajectory is still improving, and I’ll celebrate that as well as the tiny bit today – a short stint on the exercise bike because I didn’t manage to get outside before the dark ominous clouds rolled in. I also got excellent sleep in, and that matters too. Plus I read the entirety of this great book by Bruce Reyes-Chow that is going to inform my conversations and lesson plans because I’m a total nerd who loves Jesus and being intentional with my words.

Leave a Reply