I am writing this, my last card of our blog project, late at night as usual. As I pick up the book to reread the words we have written on White Buffalo Calf Woman, I see she is also the last card in the deck. She is a tough one for me, as I have always struggled with identity, self-esteem, finding a place of belonging. I define integrity as having the courage to stand up for one’s own beliefs, to to follow one’s own heart regardless of what others pursue. I feel like i made the most important choice of my life when i decided to go to India after college. It just felt right, or something in me couldn’t resist the urge. Most people I knew were interested in furthering their life of the mind–not trying to find out if there were viable alternatives.
But here I am in the alternative, and it’s by no means pretty. I have no impressive curriculum vitae. I’m winging it every day, praying, surrendering, steeping myself in grace by any means necessary. I grapple with finding my own integrity, to trust the path that I have chosen, to believe that I am mothering well, that I can claim for myself a belief in my own goodness. It is my daily battle—fighting the demons of despair and disappointment and endless, tedious comparison.
I get so swayed by what other people are doing, along with the fundamental assumption that they are doing it better. Always I look in other people’s pockets for the diamond that my teacher assured me was in in my own. I catch myself redhanded now with this sniffing in others pockets.
I chide myself gently. Remember myself, I tell me, resource yourself.
One day–I can feel it coming—I will wake up and recognize my own beauty. The pain of not doing so is becoming less and less attractive.
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome…” Derek Walcott
I see so much beauty in my daughter’s integrity, her absolute trust and joy in her own self. What teachers our children are, if we students are ready.