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Full Circle Moment: Rediscovering Belonging and Growth with A Trip to High School

acceptance boundaries growing up trust Oct 09, 2023

Storytime with Kate

It's truly not something I ever imagined, but today I spent time on my high school campus and it was... fine. I was fine. 


The place is beautiful, stunning, state of the art. I went to a state-of-the-art-school that of course I didn't appreciate at the time...


And much to my own surprise, I actually want to spend more time there working with the students, faculty, and staff.


Today I found out that there's a health and wellness department of my high school. Can you believe it?!? There were QR codes around campus that said, "Need to talk to someone?!" and it helped you set up an appointment with the counselor.


I feel so grateful that part of My Self Study Practice helps me reflect on my life.


Isn't it funny how sometimes when you revisit a place or a person, they're actually a lot worse than you remember them being?! Like wow, I can't believe I put up with that or made excuses for that institution! That can be a really healing experience - the boundaries that say what's ok for you and what isn't that you've been practicing all this time are easier โœจ Also tender loving care for the version of you that didn't truly know they deserved better.


But then other places, now that you're healing and creating more of a sense of belonging for yourSELF within yourSELF, those places that were pretty tough for you at one point have suddenly... lost their power over you. Because you're able to see them for what it is. Your boundaries that tell you what's your job, what's your responsibility, have become more clear!


And today what I saw were a bunch of children of all ages, teachers who have been doing their jobs for over 20 years, former students now in leadership roles, new teachers who looked even younger than me teaching students who look like adults!


I saw a bunch of humans humaning on the same campus where I learned so many things - some things helped me grow, some things made me hide. Ahhhh, the duality of harm and healing.

People, and places, have the power to both harm and heal. And wouldn't you know it, it depends.

I called my 11th grade english teacher by his name, Mr. Bader, and the alum who was showing me around said, "you know you can just call him Doug now right?" When? When does that switch happen?! And if "Mr." was fed to me as a sign of respect then... what now?

Respect the hierarchy, or respect the person? When do we feel our age?

And when do we become equals with the people who used to be our superiors?

I think I'm learning the answer to this: when we step into it.

When we decide, at some point, that I have just as much say in my own humanity as I used to believe that person had.

Even when that person is your boss.

Even when that person is your teacher.

Even when that person is your wellness professional, yoga teacher, personal trainer, therapist, doctor...

Even when that person is your friend.

Even when that person is your partner.

Even when that person is your parent.

And then from there, you get to choose what the right thing for you to do. Here are some options:

  • Sometimes you'll need to stay and have the fight and let it get big and emotional and also let it bring you closer.
  • Also start to learn that sometimes that won't help you get closer... do you want to get closer?
    If the answer is no, stop fighting and move on. *I don't say this without the heartbreaking-no-matter-the-relationship-label understanding of how hard this can feel - I'm also not saying that this has to be the end of the relationship. Move on from what you had hoped the relationship would be and do the very hard work of accepting it as it is in this moment. Things can stay connected but at a greater distance. Grieve the closeness you wanted, appreciate the parts that you have. Let it be what it is an let that be enough.
  • Within institutions, there will be good and bad. if you want to be included, look for the good and be honest about the bad to the extent that you are able and that is at your wisdom's discretion. If you don't want to be included, remove yourself in the way you see fit.
    Is it right for you to take space or is it right for you to show up?
  • Is it right for you to ask for help because there's a shit ton of moving parts and things need to change?
  • Do you need to stop behaving in a certain way because you keep getting the same results that keep not working out for you?
  • Do you need a snack? A nap? A hug? Some water? To move your body? To scream? To shake? To go on a drive and sing loudly to music?
  • Hello, what do you need to do for morale?

There will be consequences. Because something happens, the next thing happens... and then the thing after that. That's just life. You've made it this far navigating the consequences of being alive. *if you have survived abuse, you did not deserve that and it was not your fault. Their behavior was not your fault. Keep going.


Take the next right step but no matter what you do, there YOU are.


Here are some affirmations for you to try on:

  • I'm not afraid of having feelings :) they're not in control of me, and they're here to show me something. I don't have to do anything right now. I can listen now, and then move my body, and then make a choice after that.

  • Things can be different.

  • Today is enough.

  • It's not my fault.

  • I belong here. *puts hand on heart

  • I listen to my intuition. 

  • I belong and am free to include myself here.

  • I go here. *hand on heart ๐Ÿงก  Because "I go here" doesn't mean that everybody here likes me, or gets me, or sees me... that doesn't exist, at least not in my current reality. But it does exist in my body - a sense of belonging and safety that says, "even if this doesn't all go as I expect or hope, I belong in this world, in my body, in my self. I am connected to something bigger."


Unless affirmations are in language that feels right for you, they won't have all that big of an impact. So as always, try taking my words and making them your own. Adjust them to suit what younger you needed to hear.


Walking through the halls of my high school and being told to call my 11th grade english teacher by his first name... was my cute universe-showing-me-something experience of the day.


This season of the podcast is called Full Circle Moments for a reason.


*Rearview Mirror Reference* By looking back, you get to see how far you've come. It's really meaningful to WITNESS your evolution โœจ 



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