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To Be a Person, Kind and Uncouth

To Be a Person, Kind and Uncouth
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The extraordinary thing about extraordinary education and extraordinary teachers who lead us through extraordinary education, is that in the midst of the experience, we are so engrossed, so consumed, that the experience itself seems completely and utterly normal, banal, deserved. 

And this is the thing I recall most when I think of my incredibly extraordinary education from my youngest childhood until my senior year of high school. 

My teachers, the ones who formed me most, were held, I hope, in full and complete faith by my school’s institution. And because of this, these Women were not teaching subjects like French, and Ceramics, and Theatre, and English, and Science, but were using these media to express the fullness of THEMSELVES.

This is extraordinary because what these women were teaching us young, hungry, curious, obedient, disobedient young people is that all of life is a means to experience and express ourselves – TOGETHER. By falling madly in love with these myriad media of expressions of beauty, we learned how to appreciate that which we once did not understand, and suddenly Might or do – like language, clay, art, science – Each Other – and blend them with the wholeness we were learning of ourselves. I do not know if this was the direct intention, but what i see now is that by learning to be radiantly myself – even amidst all the dramatic torment of those same years, I have learned WHO myself is and HOW I am able to be myself amidst other people being radiantly themselves. By consequence, this school also taught me to recognize the difference between acting from true self and the contrary. This is a priceless perception, especially in these very backward and ill-informed times.

Interestingly enough, because I attended an all girls’ school, I never thought of myself as male or female, but simply as a PERSON in pursuit of learning. I recognize this now as the highest privilege. HOWEVER, it is, in fact, an inalienable right that is actually a truth of existence. Thus, to be denied any portion of this right is tantamount to torture, to murder. 

My school certainly had flaws. I also do not presume that everyone shared my experience. However, in these recent weeks, months, years, when I think and interact with methods of learning and teaching, I realize more and more that I have literally learned everything I now know between the ages of 5 and 18. Everything I learned thereafter, all those years in college and beyond, were nothing compared to what I learned between the ages of 5 and 18. 

I feel this is because it was during these years I was granted the opportunity to be around women of mixed ages, religions, races, expertise, and sexual preferences in all realms of expression. Teachers, administrators, nurses, and on and on. Every woman was different, except ALL of them had a strong, unwavering voice that expressed clearly through their media. 

Their beings were so strong I never thought of them as anything other than these full and brimming PEOPLE whom I admired. I see them in my daydreams and night dreams. I remember the tones of their voices, the gestures of their hands, the way they expressed frustration and delight. To be young and surrounded by whole women was the luckiest experience I could have ever indirectly chosen for myself. 

This is extraordinary because we can only experience true beauty when we are whole people. Otherwise our experience is fractured by our fracture. The job, I feel, of every institution is to give us again and again, the opportunity to BE, FEEL, and EXPRESS our wholeness as well as to graciously watch our friends, classmates, and neighbors BE, FEEL, and EXPRESS their wholeness. 

Subsequently, the opposite is also true. When despots of all kinds – in all seats of position from life partners to political leaders – are ruling from a place of partition, those of us who have learned and at least once tasted wholeness must speak out directly and firmly through the beauty of whatever media deeply enamor us. 

I understand more and more that for me to be good – as in serviceable – to anyone – I must remember my wholeness and fall in love with the medium I am sharing. 

I am fluent in French not because I loved French so much, but because I loved how much my 2 (only two!) teachers loved to express themselves through this language. I followed them from the moment we met in 3rd grade until 12th, without pause. 

I loved theatre, english, art not because those subject themselves were particularly special to me, but because the women who taught me these subjects showed me that through the graciousness of detailed attention, I would be able to experience myself and others more appreciatively. I learned that their success was mine and visa versa. We were in whole support of each other whether we knew it or not. Competition is a Vice created by those who have somehow forgotten the flavor of wholeness.

I hope these qualities come across in my daily life. I hope these Teachers and Administrators feel appreciation daily – even in their retirement if that is where they are. I hope my Classmates know how grateful I am to have been swimming amongst them in their personal experiences of learning to be and express themselves. I am grateful they allowed me to watch them in the ups and downs of their learning to help me do the same. I am grateful to my family for somehow managing to send me to a place like this for as long they did. And, Most Importantly, I hope the institution that formed me so strongly is still committed to this very daring, uncouth, rebellious path – making Daring, Uncouth, and Rebellious people. 

The world need this.

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