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professor of self

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Growing up I learned through many teachers.* Some believed in me and guided me in wisdom and kindness. Others instructed me in fear and self-doubt, grading me as "not good enough." For better and for worse, these teachers affected my life, shaping my views of the world, my self, and what I thought was possible for me.

Many years passed before I realized something dreadful – I was allowing myself to be influenced much too much by poor teachers. While they should be held accountable, ultimately I was the one who accepted their limitations.

With this awareness, I began the slow, difficult, and ongoing process of taking my power back, unlearning limitations, and discovering new possibilities. Writing of such a struggle in A Poet's Advice to Students, E. E. Cummings claimed, "To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." The Professor of Self explores the challenge of learning to be nobody-but-myself.

*Almost anything and anyone can be a teacher.


© 2011 jon lynn mccallum