Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day #29

The conversation probably occurred fifteen years ago.
And yet I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had just finished a workshop for first grade teachers.
Eight hours.
Required for all of the first grade teachers in our district.
Forty some odd people crammed into a room
that comfortably held 25.
Some people that wanted to be there.
Some that really didn't.
My friend, Deb, who was going to be giving the same workshop later that week,
had come to watch.
We were looking through the evaluations.
Most of them were great.
People had enjoyed the workshop.
Had learned things that they thought would positively impact their teaching.
Felt the workshop was well organized and well presented.
There was one evaluation, however, that was awful.
The teacher had not thought it was a worthwhile experience.
Hadn't learned anything she could take back to her classroom.
Didn't think I had done a good job presenting.
I looked at that evaluation for a long time.
Probably three or four minutes.
And then Deb took it out of my hands.
"Why are you looking at that?" she asked.
"If 98% of the people said that the workshop was great,
why are you spending time looking at the bad one?
You know what I do with those?"
And she took the evaluation from my hands,
tore it into little pieces,
and threw it into the trash.
When I protested, Deb said, "Carol, if you had a bunch of those,
we would need to look at them.
We would need to figure out what to do differently.
But you didn't.
You had one.
Almost 40 people thought you did a great job.
We need to listen to those people."

I feeling that same way tonight.
The past three or four years I have sliced
every single day
during the month of March.
And I've felt really, really great
the last day of the month.
I'm not feeling the sense of jubilation this year.
I didn't make it all 31 days this year.
I skipped a couple of days in the middle of the month.
I wrote 29/31 times.
That's actually not bad.
I sliced about 95% of the time
And I commented on other people's slices,
at least ten every day.

I really did have a pretty good reason
for not writing that weekend that I missed two slices.
There was some pretty major stuff going on with the boys.
And for those days, I didn't have a working computer
and would have had to go to Kinko's to slice.
I started again as soon as I could.
I could have just quit for the month.
and I didn't do that.
I considered doing a couple of makeup slices
but it seemed kind of pointless
I simply. didn't write every day.

Tonight I'm not feeling the sense of jubilation
I usually do at the end of the March.
Instead, I'm feeling like a big fat failure.
I didn't slice every day this month.


Lynn said...

Carol please don't be so hard on your self! The challenge is not to stress us out but rather to share a little piece of our lives with each other. Like your friend told you years ago, don't focus on the couple days you didn't slice but rather on all the days you did! I bet you inspired people you don't even know! Come on now look at the at least tried!

writekimwrite said...

Carol I remember what Ruth said to me when I was wondering if I could complete the challenge in 2013 (my second year) and if I should even start. She said post when you can and if you can't write every day you are still a writer! You may fill a bit let down but you are a most powerful, reflective writer. Your writing has moved me many times and changed my heart! How fortunate I am to read your words. I missed 2 days last year, too. But I was still successful because I participated. I am proud of your accomplishment! Congratulations and ever onward!

Becky Leff said...

Your posts are wonderful. Please try not to feel bad that you missed a couple days for very good reasons. You have made me think about important things, made me laugh, and made me say, that's like my life, too. You are touching other people through your writing.

Michelle said...

Stop it now!!! Are you kidding me? (Look me in the eyes. I'm shaking your shoulders right now!) Remember what the challenge is about ... writing when and if you can to share your voice and your stories and to create a habit of writing, to struggle like anyone of your students. Life happens. Your life happens. You did what you could AND you still wrote 29 out of 31 days!!!! That is amazing! And your stories so powerful and full of voice and emotion, tugging at my heart. You are not a failure. You are a writer, a Mom, a gift from God. Keep writing and enjoy this life you are living, struggles and all. God has a plan for you and it's to make a difference in the lives you reach through your words. Now look me in the eyes again, wipe that tear ... can I give you a hug? You are amazing.

Carolyn said...

You are definitely NOT a failure! You wrote 29 more posts than every person who never took up the challenge. Life is messy. Life gets in the way. Sometimes circumstances are beyond our control and we just have to understand that and move on. I understand just where you are coming from with the story of those workshop evaluations. Rather than celebrating what was a successful and worthwhile professional experience in the eyes of 39 peoples, the one we remember is the 1 negative one. I think of all the kiddos I have had over the years and all the positive relationships with their parents. But what sticks out most in my mind? The 1 parent who had some kind of beef with me. Your posts are fantastic, so please don't think one single word of those 29 posts was a waste!

C.Crouch said...

Carol I don't even know you personally but just from the short time here I "know" you. When I see "Carol's"name I perk up and pay attention. This lady always has something moving to say. You did some amazing writing and you should be proud of that. The extra mile you went with your commenting may have just been the extra nudge that some needed to stay in the game. You are always there when needed and giving of yourself and more. Just like with your boys. So put on that smile and get back at are needed and appreciated!!

Kyle said...

Carol recently I learned that life often gets in the way of life! Over the past month I an your other readers learned a lot about your life. I won't speak for others, but I will say you showed that families are made on love. things happen that we can't control, we must make hard choices, and continue on. Think about Patricia Polacco's book an Orange for Frankie. His final orange was missing some slices but it was still an orange. One that was made from the love of his family.

elsie said...

I'm not going to yell at you for the thoughts you shared, even though I totally don't agree with you. Others have said it and Michelle is right there in your face (rightly so, I might add). Listen to the voices around you, the ones who relish every post you write, every comment you make. I think perhaps Terje's inner voice has a cousin in your mind, that inner voice outlining your failures is wrong. You did not fail. You lived a hard messy time and sometimes that takes precedent over posting words on a blog. So smile and celebrate what you did, you wrote 29 slices that touched hearts. You commented on many slices and they appreciated you stopping by with your kind words. I know I did. You are awesome!

Ramona said...

Carol, what a gift you are to all of us. There are no failures here. Every day we write is a victory! Your month was hard and messy, and you still wrote 29 times. You didn't shy away from the hard things that were happening in your life, and you reached out to others who were also hurting! Bravo, my friend!

Kimberley Moran said...

Ugh, I so relate and nothing anyone says will change how I feel about those things. So I won't say anything except to tell you thank you for commenting on my poem today. :-)