Diana Marcella Herrera: Leaving a track while you walk
There are four paths in my life… Which of the four, can be the best…you who saw me cry from anguish… Tell me Paloma…Which one should I take.
Let this writing begin with the rhythm of ranchera music! I would like to evoke the great Mexican singer and songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez with his song Four Paths; which was without doubt one of his best melodies within the popular culture of Mexico. And if some day my guts allows it, I will exorcise in a writing the stories of love and lack of love that led me to contemplate that music with total fascination.
Just for today, I will start by saying that this song reminds me of part of my youth when I used to listen to this type of music; boleros, Cuban songs and rhythms from Colombia’s country side. That for reasons very close to my experiences made me feel identified; even when my age did not match to the preference of my grandparents’ generation.
Their preference sometimes made me feel out of place with my university classmates, who listened to modern songs of our own ages and that was a little dull to me. At age 17 I had already traveled many roads and some of them were not very pleasant.
Choose a career, start a relationship, a trip, a new job; they are often everyday dilemmas in which we must decide a path; and this is difficult. Then we ask our relatives, friends, the priest, horoscopes and in extreme cases we turn to the gossip neighbor; to get a hand, a beam of light about the best decision. In this unrestrained search outward, we often overlook the best response found within ourselves.
From my experience on the path of life, I can say that I have walked in many directions looking outwards to avoid having to recognize myself and accept my uniqueness; It was easier and less painful to feel the same as others before embracing and thanking my unique condition, my own seal.
Looking outside kept me distracted from making decisions; but of fear to set boundaries, fear of rejection, loneliness and lack of fidelity within myself; I settled for the little, with the fantasy of tinsel and walking paths already traveled. However, from each lived experience I learned the necessary lessons to have the courage to dispose my being to an interior and unique journey.
With joy I can say that I am finding my own way; now is when I begin to understand that in reality there is a brightness that does not corrode and that gives the peace that surpasses all understanding. Aware of not having reached the end of the road, I celebrate and be thankful for each step that takes me towards it; and how lost roads and wasted innocence of my 17 years are being vindicated.
On that inner road where our most intimate feelings and our most delicious perfumes inhabit, I have had a face to face and a mask less encounter with myself and with the one who has always loved me; an encounter with the Father who knows my virtues and my miseries; and he still loves me as his favorite daughter and without conditions.
It is now that I begin to understand that what I have been on the outside, what I have defended and what has been demonstrated, is delightfully submitted to an act of total surrender; where it is not necessary that the eloquence of the word remains, silence dwells and peace is reached.
In these unique moments my being begins to vibrate in tune with the spirit of God; and full of his peace, the path to take is clearer, lighter and more pleasant; I am not the one who carries the burdens, I am the one who enjoys walking. I continue my walk with a mental clarity never experienced, knowing that the path taken in spite of not always leading me to what my senses and my passions want; it is the right path, even if this implies resignations.
The victory is not to show that it was my cravings or my own benefit that led me to make a decision; the joy is in making me more aware of the value of that light that dwells in me so that, my dying egos and whims, I can enter into life – the true light, the one that sustains me and is capable of enlightening others.
My vocational path which I began by traveling during the summer of 2004 to the United States came to me unexpectedly; because at that time I was working in a radio station as a journalist recently graduated from the university, in Bogotá Colombia. Despite being a unique and prestigious experience; I was not ready to receive it and after three years my physical and mental forces had completely collapsed. Thanks to my older sister I made the decision to leave my country and go to Scotland for a short period to rest; without imagining that months later I ended up in the United States with a different plan of life.
At that time of my life in the United States, I felt a unique apathy to learn English and to my surprise all the jobs I applied required a minimal language skill. One day, looking at the classified ads, I saw an announcement that apparently was Taylor made to satisfy my desires even without English, Lovely!
The announcement was short, simple and convincing: “A native Spanish teacher was required to work with children”. This was just what I needed; a work in my language and with the innocence that characterizes children, immediately I anticipated my success without hesitation. Before going to the interview I prepared myself thinking about the possible answers; I’m not a teacher, but my Spanish is enough. I have no experience with children, but love will flow … in both calculations I was very, very wrong and I did not measure the water that would run up my leg.
It was a love at first sight, a job like hand in glove and in a super exclusive environment. My Latin sympathy and enthusiasm made me win the immediate sympathy of the director. I was accepted almost instantly and from then on I started living a brief honeymoon in my new job experience.
The first days were full of joy and novelty; enthusiasm and ideas flowed. The children were all love, ready to participate in everything and I began to go out of my way to bring my students puppets, games, bubbles, music, and sweets … lots of sweets. Of course they accepted it with great joy and I thought that I would earn enough merits to be the perfect and happy teacher; forgetting that in their little heads I was being analyzed with a magnifying glass.
After two months of full harmony, I began to notice that I was wearing out and that what had worked to win their attention and sympathy was no longer new. I began to notice that the children saw me almost as an older sister with whom they wanted to play all the time but who did not have the least respect. One day one of the girls laughed in my face and said something in English that I did not understand…that hurt, believe me.
That situation was wearing my nerves, every afternoon I came home literally in tears and frustration. Finally, the director called me to her office and after recognizing my effort and enthusiasm, she made me one of the best invitations I have ever had and subtly told me, “Marcela would you like to start a training in pedagogy?; If you would like, we would give you all the support so that you have the opportunity to improve your professional performance, learn what you need in this field and, at the same time, practice English. ” In a moment everything to which I had fled to find shortcuts in my own happy way, was overflowing. I recognized with humility that in the path of life you cannot demerit the other part, however small it may seem, since one day the game may turn against you.
Once the route was taken, a new world was opened to my life in which I learned the basics of my career, the skills that must be learned to exercise it with dignity, to control myself so as not to crack my nerves in moments that require firmness and assertiveness; and above all, to love my students deeply from their condition to what they are and not from what I would like them to be, all with the intention of being an instrument of service between what they are and the wonderful and great things that they can be.
Today I am deeply grateful and honored with that director, who did not hesitate to trust in me; who did not dismiss me at the first error and who opened the doors of her school so that I could learn and acquire the necessary experience in what in the future would be my professional and my life’s project.
I remember when I saw my teachers explaining with generosity and dedication what was related in the field of pedagogy. After a class I approached one of the professors and expressing my admiration I told her that one day I wanted to be like her and she answered me … “Marcela, you will be happy the day you will be yourself”. Now in full exercise of my career, now when I smile I can already see the first signs of age and when a grey hair appears on my head, I fully understand the meaning of her words; Now I am happy being myself in the public and private.
Starting a new path brings a lot of emotion, everything is pink color, the effect of the novelty fills the senses, those initial stages pass and arrive the reluctance and the boredom; but the maintenance costs efforts; however, it’s worth it, because every time it makes you better. Finally it is the way of love in everything you do daily what sustains you so as not to faint, to continue persevering, to recover your strength and dry your tears in the face of adversity and very calmly listen to my voice that tells me, Marce: continue to swim, it was the path that you decided in freedom and conviction … enjoy it!