Where I am (II)

by tamarjacobson

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open. Natalie Goldberg

One of my most fervent beliefs is that, as teachers, our earliest, childhood, emotional memories affect how we interact with children – especially when dealing with discipline, and more specifically with accepting and understanding the many varied ways children express their need for attention. The greatest challenge in writing about memories is being as true to my own experience even if it is painful to confront. It is no secret that we all experience a similar event in different ways based on how we emotionally interpret situations, or how we learned to express ourselves. As I prepare to write a book about children and adults needing attention, I realize that my greatest challenge will be writing about my childhood experiences, so that adults reading the book will have permission to reflect on theirs. When writing my past books, being true to my experience has been difficult for those closest to me to accept. For their experience is just as true for them, and most often as different as can be.

My experiences with attention giving or receiving as a child and adult, and especially in my work with children, teachers and families, make me realize that this might be at the center of my own childhood pain. Recently, during one of my therapy sessions, I reached in and gently tapped at this core. It wasn’t surprising really because my therapist and I have been chipping away at this for awhile. Of course through his support and acceptance of who I am, I was finally able to lean in and trust him and me enough to allow myself to feel the edge of a pain, which probably goes way deeper. Indeed, it was an amazing feeling.

So here I am this early morning, two days before entering a new year, realizing that if I want to write about: what disturbs [me], what [I] fear, what [I] have not been willing to speak about … (Natalie Goldberg), I am going to have to understand when those closest to me might be angered or hurt by it. There is something larger at stake for me here. I want to explore and share this subject with teachers, because I believe it is important for our relationships with children. And, in addition, I sense I will uncover more about my own life that, in the long run will help me continue to heal. So … where I am this morning?

…  willing to be split open