“It’s not your fault.”


I watched the end of Good Will Hunting with my 11th graders this morning, which included this scene:

Gosh, that one gets me hot in the eyeballs every time! And it felt timely, a little nudge toward some of that exoneration I was talking about.

* It’s not my fault that some of my students are aggressive and mean. I took 100 sophomores on a field trip today to see Of Mice and Men, filmed on Broadway this summer, and when we returned, a girl who has been battling with me over the most inane and obvious aspects of school and classroom structure said,
“I’m mad at you.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“Because you took us to that movie and I shed an actual tear!”
(Laughing) “No! We broke down the wall and you had an emotion. Good heavens.”
Following this conversation, she announced to the class that she’s failing every single one of her classes, including gym and art. I took a breath and let the sense of ‘fault’ float away so that space could fill up with compassion – poor, misguided kid.

* It’s not my fault that I don’t have children. In the world of infertility and repeat IVF failure, all manner of voodoo exists to give women who are hurting an illusion of control over the outcome. I bought in, tormented myself with a highly restrictive diet so I could say I did everything, and when it got overwhelming to manage, I went for allergy testing. The doctor did a full panel encompassing over 95% of food allergies, and nada; he said, “Stop worrying about your diet,” a soothing balm to my fretful and frightened conscience. If my FET doesn’t work–if none of them do–it will be because God short-changed me and gave me prematurely aging ovaries that make shitty eggs, and there was never anything more I could have done to save myself.

Letting go of all that blame made my spirit feel lighter. That stuff is cumbersome to carry.

11 thoughts on ““It’s not your fault.”

  1. I had somehow forgotten that scene. I just put it on my to-do list; to get out that movie and watch it again. Thank you for that.

    And no, it’s not your fault.


    • It had been so many years since I’d seen it that I had nearly forgotten what a great story it is. And with the passing of time, the lens changes. Funny how great stories give us something new every time we dig in.


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