A crazy thing happened as I continue down this winding path called life: I had an opportunity to try out for a Tedx event. TedxZumbroRiver is here. As an educator, Ted is my crack. I watch more Ted than Shonda Rhimes shows put together…and I’ve watched all of them, every one. Ted became guest speakers when what I said wasn’t relevant enough. Ted provided experts in fields I could never study. Ted became my collaboration of relevancy when my poor students, cynical and burnt out, could no longer believe anything I had to say.
One of my favorite thinkers, Giambattista Vico, has a model for life. He essentially said that there are four stages to each aspect of our lives. I explained it for class here, but in essence, you go through the following stages:
1. Falling in love (metaphor) In this stage, you are equating your new-found interest and love to something known so others can know how MUCH YOU LOVE IT! Snowboarding is, is, is like eating ice cream on a hot summer’s day!
2. Understanding (metonymy) Here, you have moved from just loving something to studying, researching, and understanding it by studying the greats. Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Torah Bright, Yuri Podladchikov, have the moves, and now you try them out, study how they do their thing, and look to see which parts you can take and make your own.
3. Integration (synecdoche) This is when it feels like an extension of you. Where you no longer need to study the greats, because you are one.
4. Liberalism and disillusionment (Irony) This last stage is crucial. This is where life’s circumstances throws hard balls and you decide how to hit them back. Irony houses itself between tragedy and comedy. Either you give something up with a laissez-faire attitude (liberalism) or become bitter and cynical about the circumstances that you cannot control (disillusionment). Your great doesn’t cut it any more. You have a choice, go study more, or move on to something else.
The gorgeousness of this theory is that it isn’t linear or circular. At anytime you can choose to jump out of a stage and move on to a different stage, or be in different stages with different aspects of life. I would attest that when I left the classroom, I left at a stage 3. However, I would not classify myself as a stage 3 teacher now, as I have been out of the classroom for a year. Therefore, I am in a stage 4 liberal as a teacher. BUT, as a speaker?
I’m rekindling my love with acting from my dusty college days. It has sat dormant in liberal for twenty years. I’m lucky because nothing has pushed into disillusionment for very long. That is the one stage that can suck the spirit out with the speed of a dementor. Bitterness and resentment is soupy. It will seep into the other stages and effect one’s ability to perform. It leads to fear, insecurity, and anger. This anger blooms from a deep seeded resentment rooted in an inability to let go of what was, to make room for what is to come.
I have no idea what will come from this process. I may or may not end up on the Tedx stage in May, but what I do know is I am open to the possibility of recycling through Vico’s stages with performance, and that is wonderful.