Heart Opening Moments

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My Choice

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my passion

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my childhood passion - now it's time to find that passion again...

It was nearly 24 years ago…  Yet it still hurts like a fresh wound from yesterday…

The day was hot and humid, I gazed out the window and hoped for a breeze of cool air.  I fantasized enjoying a good novel in my favorite tree top instead of having to sit through the painfully slow second grade language class.  I never cared for my teacher.  She seemed like a bitter woman who probably has never allowed herself to experience love.  She was old, stiff, and never been married.

I knew she didn’t like me much.  But somehow, on this hot and humid day, her gaze was fixated on me.  I was a bird trapped in her prey.  Finally after a long struggle of discomfort, she called me to stand up.  Suddenly I felt the first silky breeze of cool air that day…  The entire class stared up, did not know what to expect.  The breeze didn’t last…

She picked up my essay from the pile, held it chest high, and read it out loud, laughed after each line.  My classmates looked at one another, puzzled, but soon caught on and laughed with her – not knowing exactly what the humor was.  After what  seemed like a century of hot and humid days, she finally stopped, cutting into me deeply with her intense blazing gaze – crap, I knew I was toast.

“How can an inanimate object such as a washing machine sing, dance, and have feelings?”  She waved my essay over her left shoulder and demanded an answer.

“I don’t know madam.”  I was certain all objects in the world have sensations and feelings but I couldn’t prove it.  My excitement to befriend and personify my new washing machine clearly caused a short circuit in her head.  This short circuit has somehow sparked pain to  both of us.  She picked up her red marker, wrote a large “59/100” on the top of my essay and firmly handed back to me.  I felt the volcano of anger boiling up inside of me as I swallowed my pride and sat down quietly.

“Class, don’t let you imagination run wild.  Stay within your pre-defined assignment to get 90s in your essays.”  She passed out the rest of the essays one by one while lecturing how an honor student like me could instantly turn bad when instructions are not followed.  Mostly everyone in the class got 95s on their assignment while I sat in shame with my 59.

“Don’t grief something you ain’t got.  Know that you will never be successful as a writer.  Come to the math club meeting tomorrow afternoon since that is the only thing you can manage.”  Her words of semi encouragement did not seem sincere.

Today, I’m 31 years old and have walked the life of a scientist and engineer.  I did find safety in math.  Within the numbers, there are no subjective observations or room to make an excitement of a personified mistake.  Pre-defined perimeters will always make scientific choices for me.  And no one questions my judgment as long as the computer says “yes”.

Somehow, my heart has always yearned to sing its own song and my soul cries out to live its own passion…  No matter how risky it all seems.  I now desire for greater risks and even greater rewards!  I wish to step outside of my safety and live for me and no one else.  Isn’t it time a bird learns to sing its own song?

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July 23, 2009 - Posted by | Choices, Tears | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Ouch. Cruel people have no business being teachers. And unimaginative people have no business working with children.

    Comment by Linda Eskin | August 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. The essential message in the 57th verse of the Tao Te Ching IS…To allow rather than interfere.

    I think you wrote your own outcome Flo “Somehow, my heart has always yearned to sing its own song and my soul cries out to live its own passion… No matter how risky it all seems. I now desire for greater risks and even greater rewards! I wish to step outside of my safety and live for me and no one else. Isn’t it time a bird learns to sing its own song?” As it is. Frank

    Which you probably know, I think you were forced into your own decision.

    Comment by Frank Seidl | September 10, 2012 | Reply


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