Wiggle your big toe
Daily I see countless posts from my online teacher friends and community talking about the challenges of this year. The fears, the stress, the sadness, the feeling like we are drowning, like we are in the lake and just can't touch the bottom and keep our heads up.
Lately I have been feeling very much the same. Drowning and people are on the shore just watching, telling me to just kick a little harder and I will make it out. But I AM TIRED. The constant vigilance, being worried about kids not wearing masks, not washing hands, needing to work closely with them but also wanting to keep my distance. It really has just been too much.
This weekend I was watching Kill Bill Vol. 1, I figured that some mindless cheesy Tarantino with the excellence that is Uma Thurman as "The Bride" Beatrix Kiddo would help take my mind off things for a couple hours at least. I was right. Beyond that brief escape from the reality however I also was inspired and have shifted my focus at least for a few days but maybe even longer.
If you need a bit of a background and have somehow not watch the genius that is Kill Bill I will explain. Kiddo was at one time a member of a group of Assassins led by Bill. She was trying to leave the life and the group put her in a coma when they went to kill her. Dark, I know, but bear with me. So Beatrix wakes up and after dispatching some bad guys she drags herself (legs are not working as muscles have temporarily atrophied after so much time in a coma) to what will be her escape vehicle from the hospital. She muscles herself into the vehicle and there she talks to herself. Pushing herself to just "wiggle your big toe". I have watched this movie a lot. This line has never hit me like it did yesterday. Such a simple act but a required move before the first steps.
I immediately started thinking about why these last few weeks have felt so much more insurmountable than the rest. I don't have ONE reason. It really is a culmination of a lot of things. I have felt like I can't move. Weighed down. But then there is that line just "wiggle your big toe"
So that is what I am doing. Just wiggling my damn toe and that is going to be enough.
Today, the first day back after Kill Bill brought me back to a space that I could see more than just doom and gloom, I read some of a beautiful story. I visited with students and coworkers, I taught. I planned. I laughed and for a moment I felt like I could breathe. My toes touched bottom and my head was above water.
Tomorrow might not be so great. Things are hard right now but I do know today I could start by wiggling that big toe. Tomorrow I will try again.
Reach out to your friends folks, we all need each other.