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Mar '10

Mentors . . .

I received an email from Holly Hoffman, WorkLoveLife, requesting a call for posts on Mentors. The deadline is today. I’m suffering from a sad heart today and not motivated to do much of anything except the necessities . . . pee, make coffee, walk Remy, feed us both. For a while this morning I wasted time with the mindless game of Solitaire, which I discovered, can make an hour disappear. Who knew? I remember a post I had started last week as a result of a long email to a friend and wanted to get it posted today. While I was finishing it and pressing the Publish button I realized I had another Post to work on (reason for my sad heart) and then I remembered Holly’s email. I swear, for every two steps I have taken forward in the past two years, there has been one GIANT step backwards. Right now, I am just trying to NOT crawl back under the covers. So I keep typing . . . . no doubt you are wondering what this has to do with Mentors per se and I think what is happening, in this moment, and most of yesterday, is I am mentoring myself through this break-up. Is this possible? I do not see a reason why not. I have certainly had my fair share of failed romances and broken hearts so why can I not drawn upon the wisdom of my past to help me with my future? I am sure I will think of a good reason why I should not be my own doctor before I finish this, but right now I am thinking I am a genius. And on top of all of this fluff, when I first read Holly’s email, I thought about my favorite education mentor, whom I lost touch with after we moved to Corpus Christi. I found her a week ago and a draft email waits to be finished.

In her email, Holly asks, “So, who are your mentors? What do you do when you outgrow a mentor? How do you find your mentors? What value is there in having a mentor? Do any of you think having a mentor is pointless? Are you a mentor to someone else?”

I am so muddled of mind right now, there are too many choices from which to jump off, and with each of her questions, I mentally add, “he dumped me.” I am telling myself to get over it, but it is fresh, too fresh, and I am so tenderhearted, so imaginative, too fragile, too in need to feel any feelings whatsoever that I cannot walk past this experience. I remind myself that this is about him, not me.


Oh, but this is about me. . . and mentors. And I cannot focus. I pick the black ball off the candle wick. I notice the time—12:03 p.m.—and think, “lunch.” I never eat lunch this early, but off to the kitchen I go thinking about my first mentor. Fifteen years ago I called her, “Sister” and today I call her, “Sister Friend.” I have known her since I was nineteen years old. She showed me the value of female friendships, she introduced me to in-your-face confrontation when my behavior disappointed her, she taught me to embrace my Native American roots and the pull I have always felt towards this culture, she taught me to embrace my authentic self when it came to spirituality, and she is now teaching me about being apart of something bigger than ourselves and owning my Pagan nature through her thoughtful creation honoring the 13 Moons of 2010.  Mary Mother of Jesus . . . I am like one of those facets of light in a crystal bouncing all over the wall. I am finding this reflection uncomfortable. I remember I taped the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and turn on the television. Now, it’s getting warm in The Flat and I need to open windows, is there time to smoke a cigarette before my early lunch has warmed up? Focus, Carol . . . you need to focus. This mentoring friendship came to an abrupt halt in the late 90’s when her behavior made me uncomfortable and I allowed ex#2 to add fuel to the fire and we stopped talking for over a decade. This lesson, while perhaps reeking of cliché, is, “Men come and go, Sisters are forever.” I am so fortunate we have found our way back to each other, and I no longer consider her my mentor. She is my sister friend and we are equals.

The next mentor that comes to mind is my college freshman and sophomore English Professor. It is because of her I have the confidence to write, and it is also because of her that I edit my work to the degree it takes me weeks to publish something that may have taken me two hours to write. I am excited I found her through Google and only wish her email was not sitting in my draft folder and I could report on our reunion. I wonder how she will feel towards my honoring her with mentor status?

As to people I have mentored, I look to the time I tutored English at my alma mater; five-paragraph papers, grammar, punctuation, understanding Shakespeare and all around general cheerleading. I loved seeing the light bulb go on when students would grasp a concept. I cherish these memories when they would return with a passing grade on the assignments and their acknowledgement of my support; sometimes chocolate, sometimes a thoughtful card. It was always my pleasure. This type of mentoring, unless you are a hardened soul, is hard, because you develop relationships and then the students move on and you have to say goodbye, good luck, Gawd Bless. And then a new semester starts and new students come seeking your advice and council and the cycle begins anew.

As to finding our mentors, I think this is a lot like love. They (it) presents themselves (itself) to you when you are in need OR, bigger than this, when we think we DON’T need a mentor (love).  Considering the past two days I have had, I am thinking my door bell or my phone should be ringing any minute now.

Author’s note: This is the first time I have written a blog and posted it the same day. It might not sound like a big deal to you, but it is huge in my world.


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