i am happy. truly and genuinely happy. it was a moment of pure joy. while i am generally a happy person (or rather, i like to think of myself as a happy person), i can't ever recall feeling this much happiness at one time. i quickly took a mental inventory of my life to figure out what was causing such an overwhelming feeling at 4:25 pm on a wednesday afternoon. i made the following conclusions:
for probably the first time in my life, i am comfortable with myself. yes, there are improvements to make in many areas of my life, but i like who i am and i better understand how i am. it's been an uphill battle to get to this point, a battle that has left its fair share of physical and emotional scars, but a battle well worth the sacrifice. it's a wonderful feeling to be at peace with yourself. to acknowledge your talents and strengths, to accept your faults and weaknesses, to laugh at your own ridiculousness, and to understand there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
in the past decade, i have spent more time than i care to admit feeling very lonely. even when i have been surrounded by people - family, friends, peers, coworkers, strangers - i have felt alone. i don't feel alone anymore. i'm still a bit of a homebody - my ideal weekend consists of staying in my pajamas, curling up on the couch and alternating between watching movies and reading books all day - and i'm okay with that. but there are people in my life right now that make me feel not alone. for example: last night i spent time with a friend, just watching a movie and talking. this morning i traded texts with close girlfriends, each one providing some much needed advice and comic relief. this afternoon another friend treated me to lunch (which is kind of a big deal when you consider the fact that i haven't had a real lunch in about two months!). the teacher across the hall from me is my new favorite friend - her and i talk and commiserate and laugh and share and vent and have all kinds of fun together. she has decided that i need to live in dallas and work with her at our school for the rest of my life - basically i'm not allowed to change jobs or get married and move away. as always, my family is my saving grace. a talk with mother, a phone call from sisters or brothers, a text from father and i am good to go. i am grateful for people who make me feel loved and remembered.
i have found my calling in life, and that calling is being a teacher. my students make me so happy. they are frustrating and stubborn and at times disrespectful to authority figures, but they are also kind and smart and funny. they make me laugh and i love going to work everyday. when i am in front of a class - anywhere from 3 to 28 students - i feel comfortable and natural. i know how to talk to them. i know how to teach them (or rather, i'm learning how to teach them). i love talking about literature and themes and words and characters and definitions and writing. explaining spanish grammar principles is a highlight of my day. this week i've let my students make snowflakes, which are now hanging from the ceiling of my classroom. i can't imagine myself in any other profession, and i have to laugh when i think that i thought i wanted to work in a big office downtown. more than anything in the world i want to be a wife and a mother - but until that blessing is realized, i am perfectly happy being a high school teacher.
the overwhelming emotion i felt this afternoon hit me with such force that happy tears welled-up in my eyes. in that moment i recognized a message from heaven: you're doing okay. you will be okay. it will all be okay.
i have a feeling that smiling is going to be my favorite for the foreseeable future.