Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Get the Fever Out"

This girl has been out sick since Wednesday! I don't even know what came over me, but I entered bed on Wednesday afternoon and emerged yesterday morning. Like a buttahfly. A new woman.

This cold has rattled a few demons, and I hope I have shaken them loose and set them free. I hate being sick, and it happens (knock on wood) very rarely for me. And so when I'm sick, I get very scared and unsure about how to take care of myself. In that feeling of being scared, I realized I felt it about almost everything, even when I'm not sick.

Earlier I wrote, "I know that I reap what I sow. It's not my business to know what happens with other people." I came face-to-face with why some things have been haunting me, and I realized something new about myself. I've been trying so hard to move on and to not have a life that is defined by the past. And in order to do that I realized that I have to let it all go and to know that what I've learned so far I can't unlearn. I know a lot of this is self-doubt, insecurity, and lack of self-worth.

And I'm just over it! I see a future where I can do so much and be so happy, and I know I deserve it. (I hate that word "deserve"--but I'm going to use it anyway!)

Samantha Crain- "Get The Fever Out" from sterlinharjo on Vimeo.

"True Grit" = True Love

I knew even before going to see True Grit that I was going to love it, and that prophecy came true. I have only seen a few older Westerns in my life, so I kind of feel like a poser liking this movie . . . but I can't help it! Hailee Steinfeld is enchanting as an articulate, smart, and gutsy girl. And Jeff Bridges does a disservice to alcoholism by making it look like not such a bad thing after all. I almost squealed at the first shot of Matt Damon because I forgot he was in the movie (what with Jeff Bridges, what more could a girl ask for?)--he's a delight. The movie has such good dialogue and so many good shots. i don't think there are as many pretty landscape shots as there are in No Country for Old Men, but towards the end of the movie, they start moving away from such tight shots on the characters. The only fault: I thought the closing song was too obvious. And they made Josh Brolin too unattractive--that's practically criminal. ;) I loved this movie almost predictably so.

The list I've started keeping of movies I've watched this year:
Eat, Pray, Love: Nay
Black Swan: Yay
Hannah and Her Sisters: Yay
Chinatown: Yay
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask: Yay
True Grit (2010): Yay

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Indie Music: Ember Swift

Ember Swift, along with her various band members, is a singer/songwriter I have been following since college. She's very talented. She's currently asking her fans for help on her latest, her eleventh, album. I think if you're looking for some awesome music, then you should look Ember Swift's way, and then consider pitching in that twenty or more dollars.

Here's a link for more information:

Here Ember discusses her queer identity and what it means in her marriage:

Here is Ember and Lyndell Montgomery playing an older song (one I heard when they played at CSU). Usually Lyndell Montgomery plays the electric violin--she is so awesome.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going Far in a Short Time

I've thought a lot about my last post, especially while I was showering.

I was thinking that when we see an undesirable trait in someone we (at least I do, anyway) think, "This again?" And that can be said just as it is or as "This again?" or even "This again?" And then we think we have to go through everything all over again when in truth we don't. If we learned a lesson already, then it's ok to apply it when This comes along.

I just had the cliche of "There's no need to reinvent the wheel" come to mind. I'm sure when something needed moving, people didn't say, "We have to use a wheel again? Where did I go wrong?"

I have no idea if that example was written well, but I (for one) totally catch my drift.

I was thinking about this in terms of jogging, my favorite exercise (alongside yoga) to pick up and later abandon at various stages in my life. Today I started the next level in my training, and it was a level that I was working on back in July and making no progress on. I was scared about how many consecutive minutes I had to jog and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do it. And so I started fretting over the small details, like whether I would jog outside or on a treadmill. When I finally got out there, I knew that I would start playing mind games to motivate myself. For one, I started picking distance markers and when I got to one, I would check the time (all as a way to not stare at my watch the whole time and think, "I've only been jogging for ten seconds?"). I started feeling a little overwhelmed, though, because I knew that I would be jogging the length of what I could see in front of me--it looked like no end in sight.

But then I had to change my thinking and realize that I got as far away from home as I needed and that I would make it back in no time at all. I had to realize that I could cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. I had to realize that what I used to consider a lot of distance really isn't overwhelmingly far at all.

I had to apply this to my personal life and realize that when a usual trigger comes up that I may know what it means about many things, but that I don't have to evaluate what each one of those things means to me. Instead, I could just realize that it may be over a lot sooner than I think . . . that I can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. (Like, you know, I could just get over it.)

My Modified Psalm

("Yea, since I teach in the valley of the shadow of seventh grade, I pretty much fear evil.")

Last night I dreamt I was an angel and to better fit in with the people around me, I decided to take my angel wings off. In their place, as a reminder, I got tattooed.

I think that every day we are asked to put our demons aside and try again.

Today's pep talk actually worked. Last night's worked . . . and I still need some pep. I don't know where my desire for reassurance resides or where it came from. Nor do I know how to speak up. So last night I gave me my own reassurance, and it felt so much better. To feel reassured, I had to put blame where blame was due (on others) and to think about how things could be done differently in the future. In blaming others, I had to face that I wasn't responsible for what others did while also realizing that I could handle things differently in the future.

All I'm trying to say is that we are living and reliving our same patterns again and again. And even though I dished it out very badly, doesn't mean I deserve it when it comes back around. I think it means that because I know it was bad, I now know how to make it a little better. When I see someone caught in a trap that caught me, and that this person's trapping has a bearing on me, means that I get to practice compassion. I have confused "compassion" with "fixing"; and there is a difference between an offer of help and a fixing.

I'm veering off-course of some idea . . . or I'm searching too hard for words that will fit.

I think I fall in love and out of love and in love again (ad nauseam) because I am afraid of living life without my soulmate. And I get embarrassed when I do things wrong. And when I do things wrong, I want to run away. When I think other things are going wrong, I want to run away. (I'm veering off-course of some idea . . . or I'm searching too hard for words that will fit.)

I'm trying to say: sometimes people very close to us can hurt us very badly.

(Why do they do that?!)

(What is our responsibility to that?!)

(What does it all mean?! What does it mean?)

(Will I ever be happy with an answer I get on what it all means? How can I be happy during my explorations? How can I lay aside these images of perfection and pursue anyway?)

When I say "sometimes people very close to us can hurt us very badly," I'm just saying George Harrison's line, "isn't it a pity?" We are human! We do this! I think we are all in our own, very similar miseries, and that it's up to each of us to find our way out. And in doing, we help each other. ("Everything that rises must converge.") How big can the heart get? How much can it fill with love?

I get afraid of stuffing my real self away, yet I know that my real self is love and that if I can give that, then I have done a lot. My real self, my real emotions, may never get heard. I may never know how to articulate them. I may never be able to stop the flow of feeling them and just notice that they are an ongoing stream. What does it mean? How do I feel? Unending questions?!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Notes from a Conversation

"Everything has levels, and you just have to decide which . . ." [I lost the point here because he was going on to say something else. We eventually talked about George W. Bush and the title of this post was going to be "I Am the George W. Bush of Bloggers." And then I typed in "I'm" in the title bar, and it autofilled with: "I'm an Ethicist Now," "I'm Goin' All Preachy Now," "I'm going for a jog now," "I'm Just Blabbing Here, In List Form," "I'm Sister to the Queen of the Universe!" Should I list the titles that start with "I"? Geez, I hate my neurotic side, and I wish my irrationality wasn't the only part of me that made me relatable.]

I realize that I feel responsible for everything, and I never expect other people to feel responsible. [I realized this during a discussion on the ethics involved in me stealing an internet connection. And, by the way, I recommend this article on the very same topic.]

I remembered Sister Ellie telling me that just because I see something is wrong, doesn't mean I am responsible for it. Which is true of everyone, of course.

I attach a moral judgment to the fact that some people don't even try.

"Out of all the things you have the ability to change, that ain't the one to do first."

How are we helping each other? We agree that we are living in a culture that is less concerned with everyone's rights. What we used to consider rights are now considered privileges . . . and there is an incivility that comes with that. That is to say, there is room here to increase our level of commitment to each other and to the greater good. Sargeant Shriver's death, Fran's death, . . . these give us room to believe that even trying to make a difference is important. Maybe we are imposing our own, limited values (in the case of the Peace Corps), but we are also trying to try something. (I have more sympathy for an attempt at something noble than a reluctance to try out of a desire to do no harm. What is the greater harm, we could ask. We could also ask, what is the greater good? It seems that those who don't believe in a greater good still believe in a greater harm.)

I'm saying I value this form of communication.

People are feeling and becoming more isolated and alone and, as a result, are interpreting "any opinion as intractable." "People are afraid of opinions. There is a reticence . . . and I think it has to do with the coarsening of society."

There is something about privacy in all of this.

To be associated with me, is to mean something.

"If you want to know me, then look at my art. Look at me through what I've done."

I've always said art is "balls again the wall." [I've actually never said that. I do say it's very important to look at what you're going to do when you think you have no other option.] What will you do when your soul has no other option? That is your art. And that is how we talk to each other. We relate at the height of our sensory experience--when we are the most engaged and sensory.

[I'm very used to being criticized. That's all it is. And I'm used to making a moral judgment and extrapolating a sense of worth from that criticism. I suppose I criticize all the time. I realized, earlier, why I was having such a hard time at school. I think they expect too much. I think the students think that I expect too much from them. That could be how this mirror is working. So to assuage that, I would like to receive a trillion more dollars (read: a lot of base reward) and to be heard on how I think they are doing things wrong. Actually, I don't even want to be heard because nothing is going wrong, I just don't think I can do a good job with what they want from me. And so I'm angry, and I honestly just don't see myself getting a whole lot better at managing all of these needs (I'm talking students who can't/don't read or write. I'm talking a student with ADHD. I'm talking students who barely speak, read, or write English. I'm talking religion. I'm talking about our education system, our family dynamics, our class status. I'm talking about our future and our cultures.). So I suppose I need the practice . . .

There's a difference, though, (isn't there? Maybe there isn't . . .) in respecting something for it's actual goodness rather than the good lesson it taught you.]

I'm very excited to receive acclaim for my writing . . . for my transcriptionist abilities. I can write well, he says. I'm just a thief. [I tell the students all writers are liars and they say they can't be writers because their religion doesn't allow lying. Assholes, I tell you, those seventh graders! I tell them to use their brains. I try to tell them that lying isn't just lying. It's not lost on them (not that this is an advanced thought); they just intentionally don't want to engage. When they do engage on a different point I get angry because they talk over each other, sound nasty, and leave some people behind. Am I only happy when I can direct the flow of conversation? That's the wrong question to ask.]

I don't want you to censor yourself; I want you to explain yourself.

"Life is sorta hard. And if people leave You with a sense of feeling that it was exhausting, then You need to change something."

I am more comfortable sharing my difference of opinion on religion than on arts. Or maybe I'm lying about that.

Maybe this story is like a religion to him.

It's a matter of respecting how important something is to someone else.

Quote from the Tea

"There is no remedy for love but to love more."
--Henry David Thoreau, my one true love (lost in time)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"What I Like About You"

I am reading, and will soon post a book review, a book that was sent to me, Walking Through Illusion, by Betsy Otter Thompson. It's gotten pretty good, and it's leading me to some new thoughts.

I've had it in my attention, and in the back of my attention is a book Bill loaned me months ago, The Passion Paradox, by Dean C. Delis.

I've been thinking about myself and thinking about who I would like to be . . . and how I'm not yet that person. I've been thinking about how I think I'm trying to control everyone else around me in order to finally be who I am. I have been getting the suspicion that I am wanting Bill to be a particular person so that I know who I am and who I should be.

I know I did that in marriage.

I cannot make a decision to save my life, almost literally! Case in point: during last night's guitar lesson, Ryan (the world's best guitar teacher) told me that we were going to make a song. I had to choose the chords! I had to choose the tempo! I wanted to crawl inside the guitar and then melt to the chair; I got flustered and embarrassed because I didn't know where to start. So I finally mumbled some chord transitions I want to work on and I started a slow 4/4 beat.

Another case in point: Bill is always asking me what I'd like to eat or to watch on tv. I tell him the truth--that I don't usually have a preference. He does a good job of making these kinds of decisions, yet I tend to feel like it's a burden and that I am without personality.

This is converging--not to a detrimental extreme--because I don't know which is the greater burden: to make a decision or to feel flat.

In my own time, I have been productive and artful. I do what I want and I am happy; I make all sorts of decisions! I am just aware of how I hand parts of myself over and blow up about it later. I would like to be more skillful in all my areas of decision-making because a) it's so hard for me to make a decision (think back to my high school t-shirt: "Indecision may or may not be my problem.") and b) I am trying to break old habits and make decisions that meet my deep needs of gaining my own respect, acceptance, and love.

In making these decisions, I would like to trust my own wisdom, feel my very real fear, and proceed with a sense of trust and openness. I would like to not make decisions that close things down but to open myself up to something larger.

This entry probably could have remained private. But maybe someone else is going through this kind of thinking/feeling, too?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Resolution for Next Month

Next month, when my period strikes again, I really want to release myself from doing anything. I want to refrain from sharing my opinions (because they are just so colored by depression and anger) and I want to give myself a break from thinking that I need to accomplish things. I'm working on not feeling bad about myself, and it's so hard to do that when my period comes around! So I'm starting early this month, and hopefully I will be ready to rest and give myself some space to be whoever I am during that period. I hope I'm not so hard on myself this next time!

Until then, I'm well-prepared to beat myself up over every little thing. ;) Not really; I'm actually ready to end the craziness inside my head.

I reminded myself of my desire to run towards joy this year. I see finding a new job as one way to do that. I feel very guilty that this teaching thing hasn't worked out for me. I always find it a hard line between knowing what is my issue and what is somebody/something else's issue. I forget to trust my gut, and then a whirlwind of stories begin circulating in my head.

I guess the truth is that I feel sad that I don't have a career that I love right now. And I'm making this a mark of my worthiness. yet a deeper part of me knows that I haven't given up and I also know a few things that I'm looking for. Just like I did with my ideas of a perfect mate, I will make a list of my ideal job. I wish job searching was as easy and fun as looking for a man!

2011 Movie Reviews, Cont.

Another weekend and more movie-watching. Bill and I watched Roman Polanski's Chinatown, and I loved it. I thought it was beautifully shot and well-written and well-acted. We also watched Woody Allen's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask. I thought it had some funny lines and some of it was a little too silly for my taste.

The list I've started keeping of movies I've watched this year:
Eat, Pray, Love: Nay
Black Swan: Yay
Hannah and Her Sisters: Yay
Chinatown: Yay
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask: Yay

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote is in regards to segregation, yet I think it fits for any situation (from "Letter from a Brimingham Jail"):
Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Some Grieving

I just heard from an old college friend that the director of our alma mater's LGBT office passed away, unexpectedly, this week.

The Tulsa sunset is lighting the sky a brilliant orange and purple, and I can't help but think that this is a nice way to memorialize Fran.

At Bucknell, the Women's Resource Center and LGBT office were in the same building and the two offices frequently collaborated on programming. I first got to know Fran because I worked at the WRC, and she quickly turned into one of my role models. She was always encouraging everyone to make a difference. She always had time for everyone. She has a great sense of humor, and this is something that, I think, sets her apart. She was from a generation where people died of AIDS and no one knew what to do, a generation where people were killed for being homosexual and there were no repercussions. Activists like Fran worked to help normalize homosexuality and to make hundreds and hundreds of young adults feel comfortable with their sexuality. I saw her do this all the time.

As a LGBT ally, I would seek Fran's advice on how to help friends. Fran took me under her wing and I spent two Thanksgivings with her and her family. She was always giving and always welcoming. She had a clear vision and the determination that even a conservative campus in small town Pennsylvania could and should be aiming towards equality and tolerance. In so doing, she changed the world and made it better than how she found it. As cliche as that sounds, it's true. She is going to be dearly missed.

I'd like to take this moment to send up love for Fran, her family, and those she's inspired. Injustices can change with love, humor, and hard work; Fran's life stands as a testimony to our highest hopes as a society.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hearing What We Want to Hear

A few days ago I was showering and thinking about, and asking for the ability to, hear what was actually being said to me and around me. I wanted to hear and understand what was actually happening around me. I knew this was going to take courage and fortitude--two things I like to use others for . . . just because it's easier that way.

I had to realize that what was actually happening may not be what I wanted to hear. And I've had to realize the opposite--that what I don't want to hear is sometimes what I actually do want to hear because it can fuel my anger (or other destructive emotion).

It's a fine balance between hearing reality and hearing what we want to hear. I think I'm starting to realize just how much we create our own worlds and that, if we want them to, our worlds can change. If we don't want them to, then that's fabulous, in one sense, because then we must be happy the way we are! It's sad, in another sense, because change is simply inevitable (in many ways).

I'm realizing, tonight, that cycles of destruction can be broken. I'm seeing this because I have seen it in my own life and in my own patterns. I'm trying to stay strong because lately I have just felt crazy and unsure about how to move forward with my job; it's been really upsetting. I'm realizing all the work I've done to cut through my own bullshit and to create healthiness where once there was none.

In acknowledging this victory, I am trying to understand that right now I feel I'm on very thin ice (no traction! barely shielded from falling!). This has, unexpectedly, turned out to be a good metaphor . . . because what does one do when one is on thin ice? (I was on it just the other day, actually, and I needed to see where I was and watch my step. And it took time, but it melted.) On this metaphorical thin ice, I so much desire to be listened to and to be understood, but I am afraid of talking about how I feel for fear of being misunderstood. I'm afraid of talking to some people and being misunderstood and therefore being rejected, which would increase my sense of feeling right. And I'm afraid of talking to other people and being misunderstood and therefore being even more embraced, which would increase my sense of guilt and of helping others be wrong.

I see that there are ways that I can lead others, but it scares me because I feel isolated. I have to keep my mouth shut about certain points because it's more helpful that way, and I have to keep my mouth shut about other things because it's more helpful that way, too. (And then I think, that's an awful lot of mouth-shutting. Maybe I should just open it and with good intention and with courage and see what happens.)

I don't know about all of this; I just feel stressed out about so many things. I'm giving a lot of that credit to my period and the stifling depression that comes along with it. I know in a couple of days I'll feel better again; that relief means a lot!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I am a winner!

My bank awarded me $25 for (I'm assuming) using their online bill paying system. I would like to dedicate this award to my mom, who took time to talk to me about the benefits of paying bills online. Mom, this $25 couldn't have happened without you.

I would like to count this as the third victory of the day; the first two victories being food-related. At the start of this menstrual cycle, I have decided that I can make it through with just one chocolate treat.

Being serious, though, I have persevered through a lot today. Nothing out of the ordinary, but since I am super-cranky, just making it through the school day has felt like a lot. And a lot of work remains. So with my electronic $25 and my dark chocolate, I will set out to make today just a little better than how I found it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Arizona Shooting

I don't really have much to say about this weekend's massacre, but it has certainly bothered me. I don't understand why guns are so accessible in this country. In listening to the media, I certainly agree that the language used in political discussions has gone too far, and I think this point is connected to the fact that dumb people have been given too wide a platform from which to speak. For example, Sarah Palin's crosshair poster wouldn't have become so popular if some dumbass hadn't decided that she would make a good candidate for vice president. It's like there is no system of checks and balances because, as a nation, we don't seem to value intelligence or common sense. [End of my usual soapbox.]

Commonality is something I'm interested in. Bill mentioned that he doesn't see any sense of people having a common goal. We watched a 1944 "March of Time" reel on "juvenile delinquency" in America, and heard old statistics regarding violations of the Common Decency Act. I'm not up on any current decency acts, nor do I think we need to uncritically examine what "common" means in a country that should, could, be using its diversity to its advantage . . . but I do think it would be nice to just have some common sense.

I can't help but feel this when I go in the classroom. This is a good time for everyone to take notice of other people and to not accept stupidity. This is a good time, I think, to remind the children in our lives that they are capable of anything they want to do and that anything worth doing is worth working towards. I just think it's a good time to not be as complacent, which seems to fertilize the kind of violence we've seen this weekend in America.

2011 Movie Reviews

Bill is continuing to show me Woody Allen movies. We finished watching Hannah and Her Sisters last night. I give it a yay. I like Annie Hall the best so far, I think. Better than Manhattan, though? Maybe. Yes, I think so. But I absolutely loved Mia Farrow in Hannah and Her Sisters; and I love the title of the movie.

The list I've started keeping of movies I've watched this year:
Eat, Pray, Love: Nay
Black Swan: Yay
Hannah and Her Sisters: Yay

Saturday, January 8, 2011

PS: Black Swan

Bill and I saw Black Swan last night. Loved it. There's something I would change about it, but I'm not sure what that might be.

So, for my 2011 movie update:
Eat, Pray, Love: Nay
Black Swan: Yay


When I wrote my last post, I was very interested in and concerned about intentions. Why would someone say or do a particular thing? It's easier to feel right, or justified, in a feeling or thought when I believe I know someone's intentions. If someone is being deliberately mean, then there's no need to hang around him or her; but, how can one tell when someone is being deliberately mean? I don't think the answer to that matters very much, especially if it is only going to serve, like it does in my case, solidifying a sense of being right.

Some feelings are very hard to sit with and knowing if they are justified or not provides me some comfort and reassurance.

A friend gave a talk at the Philbrook Museum of Art on the topic of adaptation, especially in relation to Victorian writers and illustrators. She described adaption as a mix of taste, creativity, and intention. Questions regarding authors' intentions have been around for a long time, and critics are always examining author's intentions, some of which can be ascertained and some not while even others are incorrectly named. I've always thought author intentions mattered; sometimes they make the difference between a good or a pompous book.

But intention isn't the whole thing, when it comes to a work of art. Yet, now that I write this, it seems like intention is everything during the process of creation. (And I mean when it comes to creating anything.) Anything we do we do to be happy and to alleviate our suffering (whether we are aware of this or not) . . . this is, at minimum, our unconscious intention.

I think what I've been trying to say is that it is important to separate intention from product, at least to some extent. This would probably allow more creativity and openness in because it would take away an element of feeling defensive. I'm just speculating and talking/thinking around what's vexing me right now.

At school there has been a bit of controversy because a pre-kindergartener has been denied admission due to the fact that she has type I diabetes and the school lacks a nurse. The teachers believed it was in the best interest of the child to not attend this school because of these health issues. The mother, however, has been upset with this decision and has accused the school of not trying hard enough to work with this situation. And, to compound the issue, the mother has told the teachers that she was able to find support at a Christian school--so there's an added element of religion and community added to the health concerns

According to what I heard, a vice principal told the parent that on Judgment Day we will learn of others' intentions, and that only Allah knows what our intentions are right now. The vice principal said that on Judgment Day, the mother will learn that their intentions for her daughter were the best.

While I heard this story, I could hear the various opinions and frustrations. I could hear the way religion was used as a way to try to communicate and help as, say, a type of short-cut that all parties could understand. What I took away from the situation was that we just aren't going to know someone's intentions unless we trust them and just believe in them. In this regard, trusting each other is very much like believing in God, I think.

Bill was telling me that the military has started testing recruits for the strength of their faith. (And, I'm sorry, but I'm just not going to research the specifics of this right now; I probably will in the future, though.) The purpose of the test is to screen for those who would be more resilient to post-traumatic stress syndrome. Personally, this makes sense to me. If you fail this test, you are sent to a counselor. Now a group of recruits have started a lawsuit because they believe the test is basically to screen for evangelical Christians (who would pass the test) and determine those of "other" faiths. Of course such a practice is offensive given that we are living in a country that has set out to practice the separation of church and state.

I'm not exactly sure why I started talking about the military's test. But while we're on the subject of the military, Bill also told me that the majority of military applicants can't do basic algebra, and so the military is asking for more emphasis on education. Isn't that something?! Our country, which gives and gives to the military, now finds itself needing to put money into education. Perhaps I've just always created a false dichotomy between military and education, but this situation seems like good news to me. I mean, it's appalling, but maybe that's what we need in order to reset our priorities.

And maybe with more education, we can get more schools assigning research papers. The NYT reports a 2002 study that said only 20% of public high school teachers even assigned research papers. I just don't know what the hell sometimes. I spend the day in a school workshop talking about assessment and I start to really doubt myself as a teacher and think of ways to improve what I do in the classroom. And then I read shit like this. What the heck?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Troubles in Boundary Land

Wow, I am in a horrible mood right now! I think it's lack of sleep; I haven't been able to wind down at night this week.

I want to make myself feel better without dragging others into a bad mood with me. So I'm not sure what to do! Some people feel better in the company of others during a bad mood. I think sometimes when I'm in a bad mood and I don't share it with certain people, then that's when they feel my presence the most and get angry that I'm not trying to connect with them. So they feel better when I share with them.

When I share my feelings with other people, though, they feel really bogged down by me and get annoyed. Yet I know it's not because they don't like me; it's just my emotional state can be very draining. (To my credit, though, this was once said of Emily Dickinson.) And so it's hard for me to know what to share with certain people, which makes it hard for me to take zing-y comments. Which is hard because I know I've had a history of making zing-y comments.

When someone hurts my feelings, it's very hard for me to know what to do. I like to evaluate how I feel and see why that person's comment would have cut so deep. I like to ask: could it be that what I took as mean was actually just meant lovingly? Could I have gotten so upset because I'm in the throes of a huge projection?

I would like to know when people's comments are said with a malicious intent. It seems like when you know someone's intention, then you know the truth. This is why it can be difficult to get mad at children's lies; there is just a part of their brain that doesn't seeing lying as something wrong. We know it doesn't matter if the five-year-old lied about brushing his teeth (example stolen from conversation last night), we want to know why he would do that--what would account for the dissonance between what was done and what was said? Is what was done reality?

I just don't like the tension between "this isn't working for me" and "this is what I could understand better"!

I'm just tired of knowing when to speak up and when to shut up; I feel on super-alert lately! I feel like it's only so long before I've either said too much or I've said too little until someone else is going to be mad at me! And I get annoyed at myself for phrasing things that way.

I just really want no anger in my direction! Especially when it's coming straight from within!

I definitely feel more comfortable with emotions when they are in the form of songs. Here are two that just feel right in a few different ways! Also, I'm getting this guitar thing down. I'm pret-ty good at strumming. The next thing holding me back is my singing. I would like to say that everyone on this planet is super-lucky that they don't live with me right now. To my ears I am a twangy Linda Ronstadt, which is to say, "An undiscovered gem." But I know that, empirically, I am a horrible singer. I just know I'm going to have to face this soon and sing in front of people. I already know it isn't going to be pretty, but I am going to be compelled! My passion will get the best of me and I will subject people to this horrible voice! (And then everyone will be sorry that they wanted me to stop writing!) (I just can't help being passionate sometimes--I know it's annoying, but I don't know what else to do!)

Sunday, January 2, 2011


After a trip home and holidays spent with family, I feel renewed and interested in concepts of change. I am interested in discovering why, at certain moments, I get sharp pains in my neck and shoulders; what is this emotional body trying to tell me?! I want to figure such things out!

I have a large list of resolutions, and I'm pretty excited about them. I am interested in knowing whether planning for something will help me reach my goals; I am interested in the nature of goals, in general. Like I felt on the plane that carried me from Denver to Tulsa, I am interested in leaping towards, rushing into, joy this new year.

A few weeks ago, my sweet friend, A, who watched my dear kitties while I was gone, helped me realize that I tattooed the wrong word on my body. Instead of "yes," my word should have been "yet." How often do I talk around and around ideas? How often do I talk myself into or out of something by saying yet, yet, yet?

I'd love to explore this year by just saying yes. I have goals in mind and I'd like to get a yes from the following question (from Deepak Chopra, I believe): Does this bring joy and happiness to myself and others?

Joy, I tell you. That's what we're going for this year. I think that sounds very refreshing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Super G!

My nephew, Super G, six years old, remains one of the funniest persons I know. Yesterday we got to spend the day together; so, we tried our hand at cleaning up his room, which he didn't want to do. "I didn't know how evil you were," he told me. "Well, now you know," I replied. (I thought, "All you had to do was talk to one other person to figure out my level of evil--there are hordes of kids who know how evil I am.") We got to read books and then his papa took us out for lunch to one of Longmont's great restaurants, Tasty Asia.

Super G has a history of talking to every restaurant owner and server whenever he's out for a meal, and yesterday was no different. "Instead of Tasty Asia," he declared to the waiter and to people sitting in a booth next to us (with a ten month old baby, who was so cute), "this place should be called Food Paradise!"

THe waiter didn't find him nearly as cute as I did, but that didn't stop Super G from professing his love for the place. We got our fortune cookies and his was something along the lines of "Let your knowledge shine forth like a star."

"I don't get it," Super G replied.

And this began a day full of "I don't get it." It's hard for me to know whether he didn't get it, or if he was just pulling our legs. Soon after the fortune he began repeating, "If I don't get, then you don't get it. Get it? I don't get it." And repeat for the next hour.

Later in the night when my family was together for New Year's Eve, Super G responds to something someone said with, "I'll have a quarter pound of I don't get it!" That became the phrase for the night, so whenever someone said something gross or strange, or when Dad lamented the state of popular music (as reflected on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve"), we put in our order for a Quarter Pound of I Don't Get It. Which comes in handy.