On Vulnerability

Vulnerable

I feel like being vulnerable tonight. Honestly, I feel like I’m pretty transparent, and therefore vulnerable, most of the time. But tonight, I feel like sharing feelings that are in my heart that scare me. These are events and truths in my life that are only known by a close few. Why do I feel like sharing this now?

Because when life feels especially hard and you feel like you may be the only one who has ever felt this way or ever dealt with whatever it is, it’s so important to have others to lean on. To tell you they too have felt that way before, or been in that situation before.

So here it goes. {Deep breath}

#1: I do not feel qualified to do my job.

theawkwardyeti self doubt

 

The most ridiculous thing about this is I have already DONE my job. I opened a charter public school. If I wasn’t qualified…it wouldn’t have happened right? Yet there are people around me who tell me or make me feel by the way they treat me, that I am not qualified. And for some stupid reason, part of me believes them. Most days, I can ignore the people who are less than supportive. But there are days when I let it get me down.

On days when I believe that I am not qualified to do my job,, all I need to do is get involved in the work I set out to do in the first place. Once I get busy with the kids at school, talk with the teachers, problem-solve with a parent, I feel better so much better and those feelings of self-doubt begin to recede.

#2: There are people in my community who actively dislike me.

They dislike me because of a few reasons that I know of, there’s probably more. These reasons are as follows:

  • I started a charter public school, therefore they feel their job is threatened at the traditional district school they work at
  • They were a staff member at our school and we let them go/didn’t renew their contract
  • They decided of their own accord the job at our school wasn’t for them and left {I thought we parted on good terms, but now I know we did not}
  • Their child attended our charter public school and the relationship ended on a sour note

Now when I say “actively,” I mean actively. As in, taking any opportunity they can find to drag my name through the mud. I have dealt with this for 4 years now and I have been an amazing example of someone who has “turned the other cheek.” As Wayne Dyer has said:

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

Let me tell you, I’ve got some pretty good karma coming my way {I would love it if that good karma would show up soon!} I feel there comes a time when I need to stop turning the other cheek and stand up for myself. I have done nothing wrong. I continue to do nothing wrong. I am not a child anymore. I am a grown woman, a smart-ass grown woman {whoops, sorry mom. I said ass. Whoops, did it again!} and I need to start sticking up for myself.

{you know what I noticed….every.single.item. that has to do with people disliking me is because of the charter public school I started….that’s interesting….}

#3 This one’s a doozy.

I started this blog over a year ago in order to hold myself and my family more accountable and to document our journey to wealth and abundance, in all its forms, not just monetary. I have STRUGGLED with sharing this, not because I have shame {which I do, but my shame doesn’t typically keep me from sharing} but because the reasons behind what I’m about to share are connected to other things that shouldn’t be shared publicly, at least not at this time. So I will do this as delicately as I can while still be open and vulnerable.

Last week we went to court and completed the bankruptcy process that we have arduously been trudging through the past 5 months. We now begin working hard to rebuild our financial future.

It has been an extremely stressful and difficult past 6 months. In a tiny nutshell, there were outside forces that required the charter public school we started to make some serious budget cuts this school year. This was unexpected {this was not due to mismanagement of funds, I need to make sure that’s understood} and when it became clear all the small adjustments we had made to the school budget were not enough, Ian and I prayed about it and decided we would ask the Board to cut our pay. We felt as the founders and leaders of the school, we should be the people to sacrifice. We should not lay off a teacher or classroom aide. We should not spend less on curriculum, materials and supplies that the teachers and students need. WE should make the sacrifice.

So, in November of 2017, our pay was cut 75%. We have been on food stamps and Medi-Cal ever since. We got extremely creative with our finances, we applied for every program with every agency we could find. We tried everything we could to avoid filing for  bankruptcy {including surrendering our truck back to the credit union and applying for a mortgage modification…which they denied, twice}, but when it came down to it, everything we did was not enough and we had to venture to a place we had never dreamt of venturing into before: bankruptcy.

We are hopeful we will begin bringing in enough money to no longer qualify for food stamps and Medi-Cal this summer, yet in the meantime, we are eternally grateful to my parents  who have provided us with dinners, gas for our car, new shoes for the kids, our PG&E bill etc. Ian’s parents have helped as well. We also have a few close friends who have blessed our family as well. I don’t know how we will ever repay the kindness that has been shown to us during this difficult time.

The wonderful thing about all this is the strong financial foundation the school is on due to the sacrifice we made. This is extremely gratifying. When you sacrifice for something good, man it feels amazing.

We feel so blessed for making this sacrifice. I am SO grateful for everything that we still have. Our home to keep us safe, warm and dry. Our minivan that gets us safely from one place to the next. The clothes, shoes, books, computers, toys we have….I take none of it for granted. I’ve noticed we take better care of the things we have too. Before, we lived with such an overabundance of “stuff” that it almost seemed like it was more about the act of accumulating then it was about valuing the things we had. Now there is definite value placed on the things we are blessed to have.

We are able to step back and look at the bigger picture. Life has become simpler because we have less. I’m not sure how that happens or how it works, but it does. And I love it. I feel like we have more time, we have more space. Not only physically,  but in our minds and hearts as well.

This challenge in our life has truly been a blessing. And though we never, ever, expected to venture into the land of bankruptcy, I know God had other plans for us. He knew this would be our path. He knew we would learn and grow from walking down this path together. He knew we would be blessed because of it. Goodness it’s been such a faith building experience.

I think that’s enough vulnerability for one night.

I’m tired. This has taken a lot out of me!

Now that I’m done sharing, I can feel the anxiety creep in. The chatter in my head sounds something like this: “what if someone reads it and thinks you’re complaining?” and “what if someone reads it and somehow turns it around to use it against you or your school?” But I’ve been pondering about being open, transparent and vulnerable for quite some time now and this felt right. Because there’s actually some really good people in the world, and some of them know exactly what we’re going through and maybe they’ll have some words of wisdom to share or possibly even just words of encouragement.

Regardless, I leave you with this: Life is full of opportunities for growth. Many times they’re disguised as painful and difficult challenges. It seems those are the ones we reap the greatest reward and benefit from. I’m grateful for my path. Thanks for reading along and traveling it with me!

2 Replies to “On Vulnerability”

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