Thursday, August 1, 2013

Being Kind to Ourselves

I just came back from a Choice Literacy retreat where I spent three days writing, sharing, and connecting with colleagues – along with lots of laughter. When Brenda Power had emailed me and asked me to come, I was honored. As I drove there, spent my days with these amazing folks, I often had moments where I didn’t feel worthy of this.

My brain would go into overdrive. That darn inner critic, who I keep trying to banish, would pop up with that incessant whine…

You are not a writer.

And yet, I kept going. Meeting with Brenda for editing conferences was wonderful. Usually I just send her articles through email, how fabulous to sit side by side and get feedback. The speed and ease that she can skim an article and offer targeted advice astounded me. I need to soak this up for my classroom.

Another favorite part of the retreat happened at four o’clock each day. We would divide into groups, hand over our writing from that day, and ask for feedback. Listening to the way others gave feedback, getting my own on my writing, all contributed to an amazing experience.

All too soon, it was time to go. I called home to talk to Luke and Liam and make sure they were doing ok. Talking to Luke we discussed football – he just joined our junior football league for the first time and has had two practices. The first night he felt horrid about it. The second night was a bit of an improvement. As we talked he shared his concerns. I said something to the effect of how proud I was of him. I said how sometimes we have to try things that we feel unsure about; intimidated by the others that might be better than us. I knew he could do this and I knew how good he would feel when he was done. Luke agreed and said he was already feeling better.

Hanging up and continuing my almost six hour drive home, I thought about those words – how Luke had needed them, but so did I. That critic is going to have to find something else to fill her time – I can do this. I am a writer. I am grateful to Brenda and all of my friends at the retreat for reminding me of this.  

A reminder to myself.