The lessons in “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree.
Several years ago, after a frustrating high school theater season, I went to my principal and said I wanted to be considered for a raise because I was more than a teacher: I was a mentor. I was a counselor. I was a nurse. I was a mediator. The list went on.
My principal’s response? “All of that comes under the title of being a teacher.”
It got me thinking of the various responsibilities I had during any specific day: The “me-s” at work. The “me” as a parent. The “me” as a spouse. The “me” as a homemaker. And, the personal “me.”
I went as far as making a list of the job titles I could hold: nutritionist, cook, hygienist, laundress, mediator (both at home and at work), trouble shooter, nurse, teacher, editor. The list went on.
Then there were the qualities I found I needed just to get through the day: I needed to have a positive attitude. I needed to be confident (or at least appear that way). I needed to be empathetic. I needed to be able to negotiate. This list goes on.
In the 90s, Des’ree came out with the song “You Gotta Be.” You’ve got to be bad, bold, wiser; hard, tough, stronger; cool, calm, stay together. There were days I just needed to listen to this song so I could forge ahead despite what life handed me.
Today, I celebrate and embrace all the “Me-s” that I am because they make me who I am. They shaped my teaching. They shaped my parenting. They shaped my life.
Sometimes that celebration takes the form of reciting affirmations to my reflection in the mirror; sometimes giving myself a break to engage in something relaxing; sometimes rewarding myself with a massage. There are any number of ways to celebrate the “me-s” that make me who I am.
What jobs and qualities do you posses that you need to celebrate and embrace? How do you or can you celebrate yourself?
“You Gotta Be” lyrics
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