I can’t really ever remember feeling quite so broken before. In fact, I don’t think that I ever realized how whole I had been until I felt it all fall apart. Until there were only pieces remaining, I had not realized how full it had all felt only moments before.

I am sorry if you are here looking for lesson plans, looking for ideas on how to end the school year strong, on how to carry on conversations of justice and equity through the final days of the school year. I have none of those words to give to you today. I have very little left to give to anyone at the moment.

In fact, probably, I should write nothing. This is not really the space for me to fall apart. Not in this way. It’s probably not professional. Not the right place for it. But it is the space that I have. It is the space that I can still claim as my own, as familiar, when so much around me no longer feels like my life.  

But if you are not here looking for that, I completely understand. Feel free to check back in a few months. When I start to breathe again.

So where am I?

I suppose I should start by reassuring you all that I am healthy.  My daughter is healthy. We are fine. We will be fine. But my marriage. It is not fine. It has ended. It was sudden and unexpected and not something I ever saw coming or anything that I wanted. And while the details don’t belong here, the next time you see me, buy me a beer and I’ll tell you the story that I am still trying to convince myself is real.  The story that I now take on as my own. As my life. As where I am and how I have been broken.

I suppose there isn’t much more to say. I just felt the need to leave a note here and let you all know that I will be back. I keep hearing the brilliant words of comedian Hannah Gadsby from her powerful show, “Nanette,” when she says, “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.” And those words fill me with such hope for a day far from this current day. Because for now, there is no rebuilding. For now, I am trying to simply allow myself to fall completely apart. And then slowly, one day, I will start to rebuild.

And I will tell you this. In all of this. Gratitude exists.

I am so grateful for the humans who surround me. Because I may no longer have the love from the one person I thought would be there forever, but in its place, so many other kinds of love have revealed themselves to me in the most beautiful of ways. These people, people who have always been there right by my side, have stepped up in the most incredible ways. My family and my work friends and my neighborhood friends and my high school friends and my college friends and the friends I have found here who are scattered across the country. People have shown themselves to be these fierce senders of love and I cannot tell you the difference that it has made. Because as of late, it has been easy to think of myself as rather unlovable and people have found ways to show me, in the most remarkable of ways, that all of us are worthy of love. And often, the places that that love comes from are unexpected, but so, so, so good.  

And there is also such gratitude for the work that we do. This job has saved me in countless ways over these past few weeks. Even now, during this crazy time of the school year, when patience is short and energy from the children is at an all time, this work continues to save me. Because when I start to doubt my own worth and the value that I bring to this world, I need to look no further than the work that my students and I are doing and it is such good and hopeful and important work that I know that I serve a real purpose. I know that there is goodness in what I do and in who I am. Because my kids remind me of that every day. The work we do reminds me of that every day. And that brings a deep sense of gratitude.

So I hope that one day soon, I will be back here writing about the work. About the work that we have done and the work that we so desperately need to keep doing. I hope that one day soon, I can care about others and about the world and about justice and about equity in the way that I used to. But for now, I need to care about myself and care about my kid and allow myself to simply be wrapped up in all the love that we are surrounded by.

So hang in there, friends, as we walk through these final days of the school year.  We are so close and the summer will be necessary to rest and recharge and for all of us to find ways to rebuild. Some of us, will just need a little bit more rebuilding than others.  


25 thoughts on “Broken.

  1. You are loved by so many people Jess. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through but please know that so many of us know without a doubt that the world is a much better place with you in it. Please don’t ever forget that ❤️

  2. Jess, your strength is being tested in ways that few can imagine. While someone has tried to chip away at your core, you have not shattered. You are rising above the shock and pain and moving forward with a blanket of love from so many. Your skill and compassion as an educator has always amazed me. Tonight, I am blown away by your humanity. With love, Kathy

  3. I can’t express how much I appreciate your honesty and openness. I’m so sorry for what you are going though and I wish you strength and peace.

  4. Jess, I am so sorry to hear that. Showing up everyday to teach and work with students when you are going through so much pain personally is a seemingly impossible task. Know: You are so loved. Your work is so appreciated. Your students are so lucky to be in your presence, every day you are in the classroom. Sending you strength as you grieve, heal, and rebuild.

  5. Sending hugs! Even in this time your words offer strength to others, who perhaps also cracked or worn, can find hope in what you’ve shared. Wishing you all the space, support, and love you need to feel whole again.

  6. I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time right now. The only thing I know is that when you get to the other side of this, you will look back and be proud that you made it. Please know that there are people everywhere sending you strength and believing in you.

  7. I am so, so sorry. It sucks that this is happening. Hugs and healing thoughts to you and your kiddo.

    Thanks for all you do and have done for your students and for so many students you will never meet. You are a gift. Take care of yourself.

  8. For as much as you have given to us, the least we can give you is our love. I wish I could buy you a cup of coffee and sit with you to listen.

  9. I appreciate you and your posts.

    Thank you for sharing. May you find unexpected joys in this hard life transition, and also get lots of time to feel what you feel no matter what you feel so you can heal.

    Tonya Ward Singer

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. I have loved reading your posts on Twitter and have learned so much from you this year. I’m sorry life is so hard right now. Wishing you peace and hope and joy and lots of love and new beginnings! I love the Hanna Gadsby quote! You will emerge stronger and wholer and even more wonderful than you already are!

  11. I am so sorry for your devastating loss. I think it is a testament to you as a teacher that you find solace and comfort in being with your kids at school. You have built a community where being warm and loving and accepting and empathetic is what it is all about. You have built a Community where kids can lead as well as follow. You have built a Community that brings joy to children’s lives. It is a precious gift of teaching…. now you are on the receiving end of all the beauty in your own classroom.

  12. I have been thinking of you so much since reading your posts. It sounds so devastating, and yet I hear so much strength and courage in your post. You continue to be a role model. It sounds like you’re doing a good job of letting your community care for you. As a friend of several people who have gone through unexpected, devastating divorces, I can share that it is a gift to your friends to let them take care of you and surround you with love. Thank you for your bravery in letting your wider community be part of your support.

  13. You’ve always been an inspiration to me, Jess. Sending you love in the certainty that you will heal and rebuild. ❤️

  14. Wow! Jess, I hear your words. I lost my husband to a car accident in September. I was broken most of the school year, and am also rebuilding myself. I would not have been as strong as I am without the love of so many people who surround me. Life is funny that way, we break- but rise above the pain come out much stronger. I am praying for you! I adore you and am thankful for your wisdom. You’ve made me a better teacher. Hugs!

  15. Knowing you only through your innovation shared on Twitter, my heart is still breaking for you. You have a magical way with words that is beautiful and thought-provoking, made even more so by your ability to tie your heart-breaking situation to the work you do in the classroom with such an artfully crafted bow!
    Thank you. Full stop.

  16. Hang. In. There.
    Your blog is so important. Keep writing. You are needed/loved by so many!
    For now, grieve. I tried wrapping my head around “The Guest House “by Rumi back when unwelcome news hit about my employment. It *finally* made sense after a time: ‘Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.’ Gratitude will come in due time. For now, grieve.

  17. Jess, just catching up on this. I’m sending a virtual hug and wish for time to provide some grace in this overwhelming hurt. Thanks for trusting your readers with your heart. I look forward to your next post, whenever that may be.

  18. Pingback: Sharing Our Identities: Identity Bag Assignment | Crawling Out of the Classroom

  19. I just want to say on this very specific post that you are so valued, admired, and so so important. In ways I bet you don’t even quite know. And I just want to say thank you. Because while you are indeed allowed to feel broken and to admit to the darkness somehow you do it through writing and thoughts that is full of grace and hope and love.

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