How am I? I’m in grief.

We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this month’s prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here). Deven Wisner shares his thoughts on our prompt:

How are you? What do you notice about yourself in this moment?

If you asked me a couple weeks ago how I was, I would likely say, fine — just busy. But after getting through the past couple of weeks, I’ve been forced to acknowledge I’m not fine. In fact, I’ve just been barely holding it together. Recently, I’ve had to come to the realization that my schedule (and the state of everything around us) was not allowing for grief and sadness — to spend time sitting with my feelings. When I say grieve, what might come to mind is the loss of someone close. In my instance, that is true — I did lose someone close to me, a friend whom I considered to be like a brother and family to me. The reason I share this is because it was during that grieving process (one I’m still in), I realized I’ve actually been stuck in unprocessed grief for months. 

Instead of holding space for the grief, I was finding ways to avoid several losses…

  • My conference at the beginning of summer. 
  • The lack of connection with close family members and friends. 
  • The depreciation and disregard of human life. 
  • The national civil unrest, inequity, and injustice. 

And now, similar to the reflections of Aimee White, AEA President, the loss of a time of year that I feel like is such a recharge point for me — #Eval20. 

All of these are real losses…ones that for most of us are accompanied with some level of grief. Now, I don’t intend to compare the loss of a conference to a human life; but instead, to recognize that some of these feelings, albeit to a different degree, are ones that deserve space and time for processing. In order to do that though, we have to be willing to stop, check in with ourselves, and be okay with an answer that isn’t fine or busy

For me, the naming of these losses has been important. However, I can’t honestly reflect back and say that I have a solution. But, what I can share is that now I am encouraging myself to demonstrate the same empathetic leadership to myself that I strive to bring to others; to really give myself the permission to not be okay. 

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