Today I have been in a bit of a funk, and many of my insecurities have found their way to the surface.

Now, you have to understand that my baby girl is graduating from high school in two days, and I am pre-menstrual.  That is not a good combination.

I think it started this morning on my walk with my friend when she asked me if I had a lot of graduation parties to attend this weekend.

I got a little choked up when I told her, no, we weren't invited to any.  No, we were invited to one, but it is the same time as the one going on at our house, so we can't go.

So then I have been thinking about this all day.  The fact we weren't invited to any graduation parties.  Now I imagine some people could care less about attending these parties.  But I really enjoy them.  If you have ever done a color code activity, my color is yellow, and yellow means fun and parties.  I would love to help celebrate the student's graduation at their parties, like I have in years past.  But it is not going to happen. 

Well, there is the graduation ceremony itself.  But, if you read a post of mine from a few weeks ago titled "Things That Make Me Uncomfortable", you read that graduation ceremonies make me very uncomfortable. 

So then, in my emotional state I am experiencing today, I start to question if I made any impact on these students at all. Why didn't I connect with them?  Why did the two other ladies in the counseling center at the high school get invited to parties, after only working with these kids a year, and I have worked with them for six years, and no invites for me.  Yes, the insecurities are roaring their angry heads tonight.

And of course I blame myself.  I should have done more.  I should have connected more with the kids and parents throughout the years.  I have known many of these kids since preschool, and have watched them grow, but I have not mastered the art of making connections.  And then I ask myself, "What is wrong with me?"

So then, in the middle of this funk, this wallowing in today's insecurities, the grief I am feeling of not having these students who I have watched grow up not be in my life anymore, Maya Angelou reaches out to me from Heaven and lets me know that I am okay.

And she did it through my husband.

Often when I am feeling upset, I turn to housework.  See, if I wasn't happy most of the time, my house would be immaculate.  Like this afternoon, I turned to doing the dishes in my sorrow and funk of the afternoon.

All of a sudden Paul comes in with his Chromebook and says, "Can I play a song for you?" 

I said okay.

He explained that one of his favorite Maya Angelou poems is called "Phenomenal Woman", and he found a woman singing the poem on You Tube, and wanted me to listen to it.  He said that whenever he teaches this poem to his students, it reminds him of me.

It didn't take long into the song for me to start sobbing.  Because I did not feel very phenomenal today.  I felt foolish.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like what I do doesn't matter.  I let one thing really get to me this morning, and ruin my whole day.

But then I heard the words of Maya Angelou's poem sung by Ruthie Foster, and realized there is at least one person who sees me like this.....the person who I hope would see me like the woman the poem describes.

God knew I needed those words at that moment.

God know I needed Paul to share those words with me, at that very moment.

And God knew I needed a good cry on my husband's shoulder right then.

As you listen to Ruthie sing, read along with these powerful words to

"Phenomenal Woman"
By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I will eventually realize that this weekend isn't about me.
It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things if I attend parties or not. 
Because this weekend, it is about the women and men who are graduating,
and who are moving on to the next phase of their lives.  And their celebration of this milestone in their life that they have just completed.
It is about celebrating with my daughter Cosette, and her successes, and her graduation celebration.
And I will silently cheer and celebrate with the seniors on graduation day,
hoping they know that I have been cheering them on all along the way.


Christy Woolum said...

This poem was my second choice for my post last night. We have a very small graduating class. I only got three graduation invitations. I felt like you. I see these kids every day, connect with them. I have worked with them since kindergarten and taught them all three years of middle school.All I can say is the three got gifts more generous than the rest! I understand... I am walking in your shoes.

april said...

dear forever friend, your story brought tears to my eyes tonight. if only you could always embrace what a beautiful, vibrant woman you are. a woman who rejoices at everything that life has to offer. a woman who allows me to celebrate the immense possibilities when we scheme and plan together. a woman whose honesty is especially refreshing in a world of facades. hug that husband of yours for his loving reminder tonight. and then save a hug for me when we see each other next.

Kellee Mills said...

Carol, we rarely see the vulnerable side of you. Reading the poem (by one of my favorites, Maya Angelou) reminds me of how great of an impact our friendship has had on my life. You are the walking, talking, positive plus sign in my life and I feel blessed that out of all the people in this world, we found each other almost 50 years ago!