Which face do I wear?

By: Melanie Valdivieso

I admit I am obsessed with the British show Doctor Who. I ♡♡ the Doctor. I admire his compassion. I respect his fortitude. I adore his British accent! 🙂

But most importantly, I love the speech the 11th Doctor gives as he is regenerating – dying and morphing into another body and donning another face.

“We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people through our lives. And that’s okay. That’s good. As long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people you used to be.”

I immediately wrote an entry in my journal about how much the speech inspired me. And because I can’t keep inspiration to myself and I hoped my students would appreciate this bit o’ wisdom during their years of puberty, I read it to my high school freshmen English class.

Then I quit my job.

My anxiety had found a way to attack not just my brain but my body as well. Tightness of chest and spells of dizziness kept me from teaching; I was physically incapable of thinking and being myself. That was a little over a year ago, and since then I have worn many faces, trying to find who I am now. A young adult author. A ghost writer. An educational website author. A substitute teacher. A special education teacher. I ran the gambit, and now I am a homeschool teacher, which I LOVE doing.

As the Doctor said, I remember fondly who I used to be. I saw opportunities to use everyday life occurrences as teaching moments. I enjoyed how animated I became while I taught. I loved helping kids who didn’t have very many positive experiences with adults.  Indeed, my identity was intertwined with my profession, so it makes sense that the anxiety that grew like a parasite and robbed me of my sense of self also established a halt on my calling.

Who am I now though? I’m still a daughter of the King, saved by God’s grace. I’m still someone who is compassionate and wants to help people in some form or manner. I’m still silly. I’m still a teacher.

However, we can’t financially homeschool for years, so I need to return to the work force. I’m okay with that. I want to work in some capacity (homeschooling IS work, just not work that pays money). My frustration is what the heck am I to do?! All I know is teaching. What I love is teaching. And teaching does not get along with the chemicals in my brain. It’s robbing me of who I am!

Should I quit being picky and spoiled and get a blue-collar job like millions of others because I love my family? Do I choose to view quitting teaching as allowing myself to change, as the Doctor put it? Should I not give up on my passion and who I am at the core? I don’t know.

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