This is what it is, I think. Ok, this could change. But. For now. This is what it is.
There’s no magic bullet, there’s no silver solution, there’s no formula for success because of the simple fact that things are always changing. You could never develop a recipe for a world that is always changing. You _can_ develop a recipe for mixing flour, salt and water to make pie dough. Because those things will not change. Unless there’s some altitude change. Or unless the humidity changes. Or. See?
I kept wanting someone to just tell me the answers. There was always an answer before, always a “way.” I felt like people were keeping secrets. How do you do it? Tell me The Way. There is no way, there is no answer in a book. I can’t flip to the back of the math book and look up the answers to the even problems. Because everything, the x’s and y’s are always changing.
One of my students doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving because he believes it’s unjust to the Native American people. Socially conscious kids make my heart gleam. Anyways. YOU should have a happy holiday, because really, it’s a good excuse to eat.
Last year around this time, I spent my days sitting in a quiet office, quietly typing numbers into spreadsheets and listening to not-quiet Priscilla next door.
Now. Well. We know how things are now.
My mission henceforth is to not let life get me down, to take it on in all good ways, to find good happy crunchy joyful things in the everyday.
Dinner tonight at Sarah Z.’s will be a good start.
This week has included..
The most interesting conversations with kids at my school. About their career ambitions, the Hebrew-Isrealite religion, the definitions of “a lame” and when it’s appropriate to say “no good…” I’ve played tic-tac-toe speed rounds, yanked the mice out of the computers because they wouldn’t stop playing music on them, had kids pound on my door like storm troopers, eaten flourescently cheesed nachos because they were a fundraiser for the cheerleading team, lugged two enormous crates of binders and notebooks home to grade, searched for apartments and failed miserably, felt miserably, ate at Trattoria Demi and remembered the blissfulness of cheese ravioli marinara, discussed the manifestations of poverty, called a student’s house and found out her brother had been shot 12 times over the weekend, and…. and… been going…. and going… and….
Ok and not ok. Like those switches on train tracks. One way means the train will take this track, the other way means the train will take this track. The switch is switchy switching by the hour. Listening to the Royal Tennenbaums soundtrack, which is similary chill-happy/brooding-sad and drinking coffee and trying to do grad school homework.
And the award for Best Supporting Friends goes to…
Damn, when the chips are down, I have some awesome friends to help me inch up this mountain. Thanks thanks thanks to beccajanellemandaeliinaschndeannasarahjillocaitlinchristina&et.al for things such as the CD I’m listening to, and the scent-y candle burning on my kitchen table, the day-long coffee and grocery shopping extravaganza, the hot chocolate in the sketchy coffee shop, sleeping on your couch, phone calls soaked in therapeutic terms and tough love that have gotten me from minute A to minute B and then to minute C.
Lately I’m struggling with how to take or not take responsibility for things. On the one hand, I evade responsibility whenever possible and come up with excuse upon excuse for why x,y,z did not work out. On the other hand, I heap responsibility upon myself for when x,y,z did not work out. I think I’ve just discovered the difference. When I come up with excuses, it’s for concrete things I did not _do_. When I heap on responsibility, it’s for things that I intrinsically _am_. Apparently I give short shrift to my own agency (helpless helpless) and put extra weight on my own character flaws. Beautiful. So if I didn’t do my attendance records right, damn, that’s because I wasn’t trained or didn’t have my book, or the spawn of the devil was running around like crazy and who can keep a record of that kid? But if a relationship took a nosedive, it’s because I’m needy, depressive, un-fun and inflexible. Yup. Perfect sense.
when i broke my fingers, i needed to protect the wrapping from getting wet in the shower. so i ended up rubber-banding a plastic grocery bag around my hand and holding it outside the shower curtain. ridiculous. kirk happened to work at a catering company which used plastic bags that were much slimmer and more like the produce bags in supermarkets — a bit more manageable than a grocery bag but deeper than a ziploc. he presented me with a long strip of these bags once, which just looked like swath of clear plastic. somehow we decided that the other function of this plastic would also be “invisibility cloth,” and whatever you wrapped it around would become invisible. i came across it today, and today more than any other day, would like it to actually work.
There are few things as wonderful as…
Presents way after your birthday. The present I got from Deanna, Jill and Sarah last week was a total surprise. I walked up to my door one day and there it was — a big-ass box with my name on it. A caveman voice resonated in my head: “Urrr?” I opened it find _another_ package, this one wrapped in cloth, and then inside _that_ was a basket of magically good things: Burt’s Bees bath stuff, peanut butter-filled pretzels, Pixy Stix, a scent-y candle, fuzzy comfy stripy socks, happy stationary…. It was, without a doubt, the most awesome thing ever. It came last week, when all was looking like hell on acid as I started at my new school.
Perhaps these things were meant to be a buffer for the rocky road.
Met someone last night who called my job “beautiful but crazy.” He just kept repeating those words over and over. Beautiful. But crazy. Beautiful. But crazy. That sounds self-important, but it helped in the moment to have me think of those two words. Beautiful. Crazy.
Someone in the guestbook…
Yes, I realize blogs today don’t have “guestbooks,” okay? But. Mine exists. See it over there. Where you can leave comments. Someone wanted to know about the Creeley quote embedded in the following text of a megaphone:
there’s a word i can’t
like creeley said: “god shed his grace on thee–
how abstract is that fucking fact.”
how do you say,
in any language,
may i never forget
what i hated to learn.
thank you for this pain,
thank you for this day.
So — weirdly, this fits the general tenor of my current state as well as it did when I returned from study abroad.
And the Creeley quote is from… i have no idea, because unforunately my book appears to be missing. perhaps left in buffalo. But the book is So There: Poems 1976-83 and also includes the following:
I want to lay down
i am done with week 2….the basics:
–cell phone stolen. ergo, e-mail me your phone numbers, people; i got nothin’.
–had a child try to lock me out of my room, be taken to the library, subsequently escape from the library, return to the room, steal the garbage can and run down the hall with it. later, when another teacher asked, ‘where’s the garbage can?’ i busted into hysterical laughter..
–am developing a sick sense of distance from what goes on sometimes. see above.
–am crumbling around the edges. i cry more. like every day.
–saw a charter school today, noble street, that floored me with its committment to excellence and its sense of fun and joy at the same time as it is buttoned-up serious
–broke down on monday, wanted nothing more than no more days
–brightened up again later in the week when i had a fabulous rejuvenating dinner with vet teacher bekah, who set me straight and gave me some tools
–am struggling through each day but the teachers at my school are hilarious and relaxed, which helps me get through
–one day at a time… last time i took things this day-to-day was breakup-oriented; one day at a time i said to myself as i pulled through each dark morningtilnight, and now here we are, dark morningtilnight, but there is a candle lit now that will stay lit morningtilnight, and maybe someday it’ll be the sunnnnn…..
–or give it a shot.
some of my kids are so damn smart. they get it. a handful get it. they can look at a poem and know what’s crap, they can look at a cartoon and get the allegorical point i was trying to make, they can read a beautiful short story and appreciate the language… some of them get it.