08/20/2014 09:08 am ET Updated Oct 20, 2014

With a Conscience -- 'It's Not You. It's Me.'

"Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully." -- Richard Bach

When I hesitantly took my very first graduate course in writing, I thought that there was no way I was going to pass the course with a very demanding professor who each week critiqued our work on an overhead projector. I had convinced myself that I was too limited, and certainly not intelligent enough to give him what he wanted. Complete mortification loomed during the first couple of weeks of the course. Slowly, though, I saw the fruit of my labors and at the end of the course, I had received my first "A" in graduate school. I went up to him to thank him and tell him I was grateful for the time we spent in class he simply looked at me and said, "Ya see, Claudia, it's not so hard. Half the battle will always be to just show up!" I showed up and here I am writing on The Huffington Post with what I hope will be a long and enduring relationship.

So what expectations will you see here? Well, to begin, I have a conscience. Too much of one, I've been told. My 10th grade teacher called me "a borderline illiterate" when I couldn't tell her the difference between a "clause and a phrase." That remark nearly caused me to stop writing. You see, I've been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. That and my conscience have allowed me to think about all kinds of issues, political, educational, spiritual, philosophical and any other "-ical" you can think of given our times. I'm very grateful for my stubbornness and that no matter how much despair I might have felt at those unkind words, I did in fact continue to write -- and guess what? I am teacher of English Language Arts. Funny how things work out when another's opinion of you can either break you or just simply make you more stubborn than you ever thought possible. Stubbornness is often healthier than we know when others use the word "can't."

Being a woman, my feelings and my life have a perspective that cannot be denied. A woman in this day and age has more opportunity and more freedom than at any other time and yet, this cannot be said for the woman in other parts of the world, which is another reason why writing and advocating is so important to me.

There are some issues that are not balanced and have no gray area. There are issues that have nothing but gray areas and can be debated passionately and intelligently with no judgment toward anyone but it's the freedom to do so that interests me more than anything else. Questioning, thinking profoundly is healthy and important for our brains. To stretch ourselves, to continue to evolve is what I hope my readers will appreciate as The Huffington Post graciously gives me the opportunity to give my voice another venue. I look forward to taking this important step with my readers. Read each week and graciously take a moment to self-regulate, to think and to question.