Where Are Your People? A Summer Letter to My Students

Mis corazoncitos,

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down and have smoothies and conversation with one of you.

Funny and sweet, the conversation ranged a number of topics: fitting in, what comes next, finding friends and your people. “Who are your inspirations?” he asked me.

I pondered his question for a moment. “You mean, like, who is my tribe?”

Here’s the thing, amores. I’ve been immensely blessed to have either been bound by blood or stumbled into people in my life who were far more wonderful than I deserved. Many of them have seen me at my worst, and still meet me with boundless love anyway. They have made me laugh. Hard. Like, stomach-aching-belly-crunching-laughs. They have prayed on the phone with me; they have sat there while I cried. We have laughed and snacked together. They have held my hand and we’ve cried when we have celebrated joyfully in the joy of our other friends. I have been blessed to have loved and been loved multiple times over. I absolutely think of these folks as “my people” or “my tribe.”

Still, I would be lying if I said that it was enough.

There’s a quote about love from Romeo and Juliet (ha, see, you thought you’d get away from English class just because it was summer?), that I love. Juliet uses it in is, of course, as different context than I am (and, as we’ve likely discussed, don’t even get me started on those two and their ideas of “love”) but the idea remains true:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep. The more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
R+J 2:2
The thing is, love isn’t bound in by quotas. You don’t run out of it. The more I have been lucky enough to receive, the more it encourages me to give it. The more I open myself up to loving others, the more love I have been blessed to receive in return.
All of this to say: you are my tribe. All of you. You are the ones who center me, who help me come back to myself when I lose sight of who I am. When we sit in class each day, when we write together, when we challenge each other and we laugh so hard in class our stomachs hurt– these are the memories that shape a family.

 

Temporary, perhaps, but the beauty of our tribe remains untouched by its short temporal existence. The fact remains that all of you that have walked into my room, whether my students formally or not, have inspired and given me some small part of yourself. I am so grateful for it. I only hope I can return the favor.

 

Anyway, as we take the summer away from each other, I hope you are building your own tribes. I hope you are doing crazy (but safe, dear God, be safe!), funny, silly, wonderful things with your friends. I hope you’re sitting quietly with yourselves and rediscovering the sound of your own heartbeat. I hope you are eating good food and taking naps and maybe even reading or writing a smidge.

 

Just know this: there is always a space we can try and create where you know that you are with your people. There is always a room that I hope you can call home.

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