Chrysalis Dormancy – Letting Myself Stop

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myself chrysalis

Original artwork

For a long time now, I have been going through an intense transformation.  Mostly during last summer, I realized I need to live without all the little petty fears that I have been allowing to stop me from doing what I want to do.  That was the start of it.  Since then, I’ve been reevaluating many things in my life and being myself more openly.  I’ve kept a lot of my quirkiness or strangeness inside, have come to view it as beautiful, and have started to express it on my outside, much like a chrysalis being turned inside out to show its beauty as a butterfly.  Butterfly imagery flooded my existence; I saw them everywhere, mostly man-made: stickers, posters, decorations, images shared on the web, monarch butterfly dresses, and so on.  The universe was telling me I was about to go through this change, perhaps gently encouraging me to take the steps in the change.  I didn’t know at the time what all the butterfly imagery meant, until I’m looking back at it now.

I’m a Teacher of the Deaf.  Not only that, I’ve taken on the roles of Special Education teacher, and have regular teacher duties as well.  This school year has been extremely stressful for me (and not only due to all the roles- it’s been much more than that).  I’ve been left wondering if it’s always been this stressful and I’m more sensitive to it now, or if it’s truly more stressful than ever before.  I think it’s a little of both.  I poured my guts out to my boyfriend about it recently and in the outpouring came 13 years of suffering, of not feeling up to snuff as a teacher.  I can make mistakes in other areas of my life without any emotional scarring: crafting, interpreting, dancing, are all things I’m not perfect at; but the mistakes don’t get me down, they’re steps to a learning process or part of a creative process.  In teaching, mistakes get me *DOWN.*  I have a major chip on my shoulder when it comes to teaching, and though I’m sure it comes with the territory, I think it’s unusually large.  It’s a toomah, as Arnold Schwarzenneger said in some movie or other.

Many incidents this school year have been ‘nails in the coffin’ of my teaching career, and it depresses me.  Though, I know this is thinking like I’m the victim.  It feels like outside forces are making me want to give up teaching and I’ve gone through grieving steps:  anger at these forces, grief that I will miss what I love about teaching, numbness.  I believe I’m in the numbness stage right now actually.  But truly, it’s always what we do in the face of these incidents and it’s not a victim thing at all.  It just feels that way.  I believe it’s part of my transformation.  The outcome, I hope, will be a person who lives as she wants to live, and does what she wants to do.

During the past 13 years of teaching, I’ve often felt like I wanted to go into a different profession, but I stuck through it.  This year is different;  many things I used to just take, my guts are refusing to take any more.  I could get into what those things are another time- they aren’t the focus of this post.  The focus of this post is my transformation.  It’s doing a number on me.

The past few months, sometimes, when I’m over-stressed, I feel comfort in not feeling or moving, and I imagine I might know how a catatonic schizophrenic might feel.  I can’t say I do though, thankfully.

It might not help that I’m also going through what’s referred to in doomsday tones: The Change.  I may be more sensitive, and it may be contributing to my present emotional affliction- that of having a hard time feeling.  I’m sure that doesn’t make sense that it’s both, but I think I’m responding to the emotions being over the top with trying not to feel anything, if that makes any sense.  Black Cohosh was working wonders on my hot flashes, and I’ve stopped taking it for a few months.  I started again this morning with just a dropper-ful.  That plus trying to be more zen in my life are what I’m going to try to combat this sense of numbness.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, sometimes after playing in the snow, I’d wind down and just lie in it, feeling warm in my snowsuit, and letting the snowflakes fall dreamily down towards my eyes.  I’d see the snow falling all around me, and be mesmerized by their dancing movements.  I’d lie still and peacefully, and let myself not even be there.  It was comforting.  I think it’s because the world seems to stop; it seems to hang and not move forward.  The busy pace of life which is sometimes fun, sometimes needs to stop. And we need to stop and be zen.

However, it’s become chronic the past few months for me and I need to be human again.  I’ve realized that though my inside seems to have stopped- stopped feeling, or get lost while feeling stressed about the future, I haven’t really let myself stop.  I’ve kept on doing something, almost all the time up until I sleep.  I work, I come home and plan for work, or I watch Netflix or do Facebook, and then as I go to bed I read until I sleep.

I used to meditate, and about 3 years ago, I tried to meditate at least once a day even if it was for just 5 minutes at a time.  I haven’t meditated for a long time.  Maybe a year or more.  Today, as I came home, it was getting darker, and the lights were off in my home.  I was about to turn on the lights, but decided not to, for a moment.  I looked toward the balcony and the small layer of snow out there, and, thinking I’d meditate, finally, again, I went and sat close to the balcony doors.  I looked out the glass and wrapped myself in a soft blanket.  Cars drove by behind a stand of trees in the distance, and it was like I was looking up at the sky at falling snow again.  After several deep breaths, I was able to sit peacefully and not mind the ticking clocks (which tick louder when it’s quiet- it’s a twist of physics we all know).  My mind turned off, to a peaceful zen, for a moment.

I wasn’t able to meditate, however.  But, baby steps.  I’ll try to at least stop for a moment each day and be at peace.  That will be a start. And in the tumult of transformation, I’ll let myself be dormant a bit, so I don’t go freakin’ nuts.  So I can become a feeling human being again.

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