Meredith  Wakefield  Art
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Back in 1994, I did a yearlong certification in teaching English as a Second Language at the New School for Social Research (now The New School). Do you know what the hardest class was for me?  “Grammar for English Teachers”!!! You see, we had to understand when and why we used the different verb tenses. I have a pretty good grasp of grammar, but I rode the Long Island Rail Road home every Monday night with the worst headache, wondering how I was having so much difficulty with my own language. Good news is that I learned so much and really enjoyed my teaching years as a language arts teacher. Yep, I’ve become a grammar nerd.
Vocabulary and spelling can also be difficult for some people.  Mitch wasn’t very good at spelling, but many of his misspellings were so comical.  We would both laugh.  Herrings flying across the sky (herons), and authors became Arthurs.  He also introduced me to new vocabulary such as “jimmies” for “sprinkles” and pronunciations like “dunkies” for “donkeys”.  I think he had Dunkin' Donuts on his mind a little too much. Mr. Sweet Tooth.
When one of my former pottery teachers died suddenly, his wife put together a CD of music that epitomized Dan’s life.  That’s where I first heard I Am What I Am by Adrian Belew.  It is rife with grammar errors, but I absolutely love it because the message comes through as being so authentic. Here are some  verses from the song.  And if you want to hear the song itself, listen here: I Am What I Am
I Am What I Am
Friends seen an' you that are ridin' along
in your you that are sitting at you table
I greet you with the holy word 'Peace'...
for with my infinite mind I thinks constructively...
and I'm able to draw whatsaever I want into my immediate
surroundin'...for yo' minds are my mind
and my mind is yo' mind and I'm sendin' out
my mind to you, you, an' you…
You've got to remain to bein' cannot be
nobody else, it ain't no use tryin' bein' no whirlwind
an' uh, jumpin' here an' an' playin' checkers with
your own life, that ain't gonna work, baby...
Now repeat these words behind me:
'I am what I am' that's all you are...
you are what you believe you are...stretch out
So many of you all in Radioland, you're not stretchin' out...
but I want to say one thing to you makes no
differen' who you are, what you're doin', what you're
tryin' to do or want to do, repeat these words
'I am what I am and that's all I what I am'...
that's all I, look, that, that's all I am is what I am...and I'm it
Make no differen' whether it's in the mornin',
the evenin', or in the night time...
hair breakin' out, bald's the same thing...
you are what you believe you are
Have you ever played checkers with your life? I love this metaphor.  Can any of you relate to it?  How many of us continually question ourselves or feel like we are frauds just waiting to be discovered by other people? As I’ve aged, it has become easier for me to accept who and what I am (although I am still a work in progress).
So let me leave you with this final message:  
You got to believe in yourself
Stretch out!