There’s a song by Rhianna entitled Russian Roulette…Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:
“Say a prayer to yourself. He says close your eyes; sometimes it helps. And then I get a scary thought that he’s here means he’s never lost. And you can see my heart beating. You can see it through my chest. I’m terrified but I’m not leaving. I know that I must pass this test, so just pull the trigger…”
I hate to start so many articles speaking about my battle with epilepsy but it seems to be the one holding the gun in so many instances in my life. It’s the “he” sitting across the table from me that Rhianna speaks about in her song. And she’s right. “He” can hear my heart beating every time I wake up and realize I haven’t had a seizure. Or every time that I get behind the wheel and wonder if this will be the time that I seize and someone doesn’t make it out alive because of me having pulled the proverbial trigger and turned the engine on and pulled out onto the road…
Living like that was living in fear for me. Living like that took life and it’s many rich experiences from me, but in part because I allowed it. I held myself in a bit of a purgatory in part because of fear that if I were to actually live, the other shoe would drop or the trigger would be pulled and doom and gloom would eventually follow.
By now, I can’t remember the exact date or time or moment but in 2016 while so many others experienced terrible endings, it was a year of beginnings for me. I was able to legally drive again. I went almost 2 years having only as many seizures. I passed my certification test and tripled my salary. (And since I’m not making six figures, you know I was broke!) I was offered a job at my dream school and I’ve received abnormally high scores for a first year teacher on my mid-year observations. I had so many good beginnings that, while it doesn’t erase the journey that brought me here, it gives me the best perspective and I can’t help but smile.
One thing that I learned while attending one of our many professional developments was to begin each lesson unit with the end in mind. They call it backwards planning in the education world. It seems like a simple and obvious way of thinking to many, but I had never thought of it that way. Think about the end goal for your students and plan each lesson so that you have a meaningful way of getting them there. It actually works. My students are doing well! I have scholars that went from failing more than 4 classes to passing all and for some, at least passing more than they were at the first progress report.
Seeing how it was working for my scholars, I figured it could work for me, too. Why not? Now that I am finally on the right professional track, I can begin to think of what it is that I want and that God wants for me and I can use my own life to plan meaningful experiences for myself so that I can learn and grow along the way and offer something back to this world that has taught me, taken from me, killed and rebirthed my perspective and I can help someone else find their beginning.
Rhianna goes on to say:
“As my life flashes before my eyes, I’m wondering will I ever see another sunrise. So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye but it’s too late to think of the value of my life…”
It sounds grim…but when you think about it, in beginning again, sometimes you have to risk leaving behind many that you love or are acquainted with. So no, many will not get the chance to say goodbye. The truth is everyone will not and may not be meant to go with you. As your perspective changes and as you live to see another day and as you plan backward for your future, it’s okay to be a bit selfish. But never forget to remember the value of your life. You are only limited by the height of your expectations. So pull the trigger.
Aria Y. Lott is a person who is continuing to evolve through sharing her experience and is finding there is not only power in the love of God, but power in using her own successes and failures to encourage others to push until they cross the finish line. Aria is a joyful soul. She has experienced much to the contrary but realizes our belief in the possibility or existence of joy is what makes it tangible and challenges you to open yourself up to the possibility of joy and see what happens.