In December, as I reflected on 2018 and set intentions for 2019, I wracked my brain for ways that I could become independent of the need to work for someone else. I'm sick of being forced to stifle my thoughts because they aren't acceptable to put into words, aren't "positive" and "happy" all the time, and stifle my creativity to work as an unthinking drone. I am sick of being told to stop "standing up" and "trying to change things here, because nothing will change". I love teaching, I love China, but my job is mind-numbing, creativity-killing, and my skills diminish by terrifying amounts each day. All the amazing tools I have learned are rejected and unwelcome; without use, they are forgotten. And so, I am becoming a crappy teacher that might as well work in the public system where children are punished for behavior they may not be able to control, and deemed "bad" or "naughty"-- which is exactly the type of school I have landed in. The thought of the teacher I have become (powerless to effect change and prevented from utilizing progressive teaching methods) in this backasswards non-international "international school" makes me despise myself as a teacher and feel even more hostility toward my job. And thus, I awaken with dread, and Sundays are foreshortened by that feeling.
During those reflections last month, it came to me what I had to do in 2019: I must commit myself to writing and begin the journey toward publication so that I can support myself through my own endeavors and free myself from the employee-slavery machine... I must become self-employed! Accordingly, this morning, I felt an immense surge of gratitude as I slipped back toward slumber and the theme of my book emerged from the depths of subconscious mind! As one creative thought bloomed into another, my body awakened along with my mind as both gripped tightly onto the thoughts forming ideas forming words forming themes forming chapters forming a work of completed narrative; i.e., my book formed in its entirety!
As a consequence of my morning mind machinations, I sussed out a quick outline and began this anecdote of creation and the resulting gratitude. I am grateful that the creativity flows in me, and that I cannot be shushed. Or if I am silenced, it finds a way to escape into pages of expression here or in my writing journals. I am grateful I have skill as a writer. I have entertained romantic thoughts of writing for a living, but deemed that would happen in "retirement" -- whatever that means-- when I had the luxury of time to write for hours each day. Well, it turns out, I must make the time! Now!
I am grateful for my creativity. I am beyond grateful for the energy and inspiration it gives me--I can barely sit still as I write I am so full of energy and hope! Creative Expression is one of the cars on my Ferris Wheel of Contentment; I have recognized for many years my need to be free to unleash the creative fire at both work and in my personal life.
...I can do it!
Two statues in front of a door down a hutong (narrow alleyway) in Beijing, China.