You know that feeling when all your life’s purpose is out there? You have contributed some small something to this moment that’s necessary, infinite yet ephemeral at the same time.
Like singing with hundreds of other singers. I know I’m one of many. I’m not heard in the crowd by myself- I blend with all the other voices to make one sound. Some moments I may be singing with a smaller group of singers, and you might hear a little more closely my contribution, but for the most part we are an amalgamation.
And that moment of music making, when you’re at your best? It lasts a moment. It can’t be recorded as audio or video- it doesn’t sound the same. You can’t replicate that moment ever again, because groups of people may have a cold the next day, or another day your voice might sound better than ever, or another day….
That precise moment will never be yours again. But in that moment you know you made something that’s yours- and ours.
I’ve been looking for ages for that something, and I think most of us in this world have. I’ve felt it a number of times in my lifetime. In those so-many-small-and-big moments in the classroom where my kids just GET IT. When I’ve synergized with a teacher or paraprofessional and don’t need to verbalize what needs to get done because it gets done. When friends and family intuit a need and make it happen without anyone asking. When I’ve organized with fellow teachers and with the Chicago Teachers Union on special education and fighting for fair funding. When I’ve written something that brings folk to tears or laughter.
Fun fact, for those of you who have my email- the number behind my name signifies the day I told my first boyfriend I liked him. (We’ve long since broken up.) When making my email, I wasn’t thinking of my union with this boy, an anniversary, anything like that. That number signified a day I put myself out there. made myself vulnerable to his world, and where that vulnerability was rewarded. In a small gesture to this day, it is a number that pushes me to keep going, putting myself out there, because it’s worth it at the end of the day.
And now, I’ve begun finding the people that I’ll continue to build with. I’m working right now on creating spaces for Asian American women to feel empowered. Continuing to build my students’ voices. Pushing labor to do right by the workers and the people. Continuing to humanize this space and all our spaces. And forgiving myself, because I’m human, too.
I’ve been feeling this momentum, this space where we can all really make a difference together. It is exciting and requires my vulnerability. It requires me to be out there.
I am trying. Some days are harder than others. This week was particularly hard for some reason that I’m still trying to figure out. But I’m working hard to be one of the sea of many who’s going to change the world. Will you be out there with me?