Starting Big

I had a sick day today.

Stayed home, in my bed, tucked under a blanket with lots of meds surrounding me.

Sick days are weird.

You kind of dream about them on the days you have to go to work- imagine if I woke up today and felt too ill to get out of bed, and I got to stay home and watch TV all day?

But when they actually happen, it’s always scary. Do I let myself the luxury of staying in my bed instead of giving myself the “adults go to work when they don’t feel well” speech?

I made a compromise.

If I stay home, I don’t get to sleep all day. I need to get stuff done.

So I did.

Tucked inside my blankets, with frequent breaks for letting the pain scream itself out, I got stuff done.

I responded to some emails.

I filled something out that has been waiting forever.

I got a ton of course work done.

I read through answer after answer that I got in response to my survey.

I cried.

I was angry.

I felt my heart break.

I went out for coffee last week with someone to discuss this “whole school thing”

She encouraged me to start small, to work slowly and even a little slyly to get into the school system.

I heard what she was saying. I felt the wisdom in it.

But can I afford to let myself start small?

In my life, starting small is an excuse to not start at all.

To motivate myself, I do big.

I applied for jobs that don’t exist.

I quit a job because there wasn’t enough me in it.

When someone asks me to make dinner, I want to MAKE dinner, and make it with gourmet ingredients, and my goodness, how many times have I been told “Just do something simple, Etti”

My sister knows that my pinterest is full of unrealistic baking recipes I want to try (or her to try, and me to eat), but half the ingredients aren’t even available in the U.S.

I never exercise, but I want to run a marathon.

I want to re-do my entire wardrobe.

I want to live in a 3 million dollar house on a farm.

I want to change the school system.

When I have a dream, I wait until it’s as big as New York and then I try to fit it into a smaller space, and often times that is when it pops.

From the above, you might say that Etti is unrealistic, a dreamer, up in the clouds and will never get anything done that she sets out to do.

All of that would be true.

I constantly go through an existential crisis that everything I have in my life has been handed to me, nothing of which I grew myself.

But this is different.

These surveys are different because they have nothing to do with me.

Before I sent out this survey, I had a prayer for G-d.

I prayed that he help me remove myself from this entire project.

That there is never an I, that my ego never gets in the way.

It’s been hard, because everyone is so nice, and they all keep telling me that I’m doing a great job. It’s hard to keep myself out of this.

But reading those surveys- that is what reminds me that my ego has no place here.

This project is for every single one of you.

It is for our children.

For our future.

That is why it is going to work, and that is why I refuse to start small.

I don’t need to live on a 3 million dollar property, even if it is my dream home.

But we need to fix the school system.

So many people have reached out to me and re-affirmed by firm belief that this is so important.

That is why I don’t regret this sick day.

For one, I have been in pain all day, and nothing feels better than pain that removes the guilt of not going to work.

For two, I have been re-gifted the devotion, dedication, and determination to see this project through.

It’s not my pride, my skills, my talents or anything to do with me on the line. It’s something way bigger than me.

So, for those of ¬†you who have been waiting to hear the results, or what happens next- it’s going to be a while. Big doesn’t mean quick.

Here on in, after the excitement and thrill of watching the survey responses roll in, it’s a lot of hard work.

I’ll be meeting with a lot of smarter people, I’ll be doing a lot of organizing and understanding.

All things I’m not that good at.

But because it’s not about me, I can do anything.

I can face my fears of talking to authoritative figures because it’s not me talking to them- it’s my future children’s education begging to be heard.

I can buckle down and do boring, organizational work, because it’s not about me.

This is about something bigger than me. More important than I’ll ever be.

And that- that is why I can’t start small.


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