|Flickr Creative Commons image by LMAP|
So I did.
A writer’s power comes in connecting truth, in revealing in ordinary moments the larger themes of our connected lives. To do this well, the writer, whether nine or thirty-nine, must reveal themselves. I am the odd one in my solidly Midwestern family. I cry at diaper commercials and fundraising campaigns for the ASPCA. In class, when my students share their personal This I Believe essays, I cry. Students write about their experiences with loss: losing a mother to cancer, a grandmother to Alzheimer’s, a father to drug addiction. Students share their fears, their loneliness as much as their pride and joy, often sitting side-by-side in one essay. And I cry.
The courage that it takes to reveal oneself, whether that be to a teacher, to peers, or to an unseen audience via the web, is awe-inspiring. I have grown more not only as a teacher but as an individual by opening up opportunities for students to revel and reveal in their writing. Sometimes that brings me to tears of joy, other times to tears of commiseration. But now I share them freely. Unashamed.