Soooo....true confession: I've been feeling very...glum? weird? something...about the direction this blog seems to have taken. At least in terms of some recent posts I've thrown up here. I don't know who reads this thing (well, except for YOU, mom...and hello to YOU as well, sister in law...and my 3 very, very good and loyal friends--I'll see you guys at happy hour on Friday!), but if you do read here regularly or even semi-regularly, I mean obviously I've been treading water, emotionally. I started making brief references to it this summer, and then, as it deepened, started throwing more and more out there until occasionally I just came out and said it: Teaching poor kids in America sucks, or maybe I just suck at teaching poor American kids.
In the spirit of what I've just written, I will have you know that today, in the shower, I sobbed and begged God to help, to please get me out of this...PLACE...I'm in right now. (Remember Joe the Nigerian? He said to do that. Well. Except that the lights were on. But I was naked, and that's how Joe says God likes us to beg Him.) (When I conclude here, I may turn off all the lights and do some full-on begging God. It's not that late still.)
I'm (believe it or not) generally a really Pollyanna kind of gal. I believe in the inherent goodness of Humanity; I am a prime target for con artists. I look for the rainbows in the silver linings, and STILL to this day want to believe stuffed animals and toys talk and live real lives when people aren't in the room. So this spot I'm existing in currently is overwhelming and worrying--I will not lie: I am worried about me. I'm online a lot either running from it or Googling ideas for how to claw my way out of it. And then I like to come here and write sort of cryptic blog entries about my situation/emotional state, or just flat out state: I think I suck as a teacher, and my teacher confidence and self-esteem is at an all-time career low. (And, obviously, I do that because that's going to inspire total confidence and excitement about me in any principal interviewing me for a new school position next year, I just know it. That, and some of the angry swearing here? They are just going to fight over hiring this chick.) (I'm being sarcastic, for those of you who lack that internet reading comprehension tool.)
And so I think (after spouting off here): well, maybe I should yank my little inner Pollyanna off the floor of my soul, where I bitch slapped her down last week, and tell her to start dancing, dance you whore! dance this off! Get over it!! GET OVER IT BEFORE I GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO GET OVER!!!! Entertain the silent Internet readers who may stumble upon this place and quit your stupid, whiny crap, Amy. GET. OVER. YOURSELF. (Actually, I don't really talk that harshly to myself. Usually what I say to me is far more Southern, something like: Well, Miss Amy. Look at y'all. Just one big ol' hot mess. Bless your heart. Oh, honey. Lord have mercy, bless your little heart.. ....."Oh, honey." "Bless your heart." Two phrases Southerners will say to you that aren't as nice as they sound--translation: You're being a dumb ass, now stop it.)
But then. Then! I read a Facebook post by my (in my head) BFF writer friend Ms. Anne Lamott. Annie wrote about not being ashamed to be real, not letting our own insecurities hold us back from displaying our Dark Nights of the Soul for all to see. She wrote about childhood trauma, and how bad juju moments in our adult lives--sometimes even just brief run-ins with bad feedback or whatever--can look, and feel, like that childhood trauma so much that all we can see when we look into the future is Trauma (capital T). She said a lot of really deep, insightful, pretty effing brilliant stuff, and so...here. Just, can you just go read what Anne said first and then come back here to me? I'll wait: CLICK HERE FOR ANNIE LAMOTT'S BRILLIANCE.
...........okay. Are you back? Is your brain totally reeling?! Isn't she INSANE?!?! Insane in a good way I mean, as in insanely awesome and spiritual and just really really good and really really real. I think it's just nuts how some people are so reasonable and so real and so open with their crazy that they look so calm and together. It lets people like me know: (a) hey, it's okay to be crazy and (b) it's okay to let other people know you're crazy because (c) we are ALL crazy. This is a crazy, crazy screwy planet to hang out on, for any amount of time. I'm starting to think, in fact, if you aren't a tad messed up then there is something very wrong with you and you should get some help.
I'm writing all this to let you know I'm going to stop moaning over having the life energy and enthusiasm for my chosen vocation sucked out of me every single waking moment. This is simply reality for most teachers in high poverty, Title 1 schools these days in America and I shall not be apologizing for it, any more, and if you are uncomfortable reading about it then you should move along and go continue to dream the lie you're being sold. Because listen: I am overwhelmed, I am struggling daily at work with things like workload and self-esteem and that is making me question why I chose this career, and NOBODY is supporting me or helping me (other than a very sweet, supportive, rock-like group of women also being flung about the gigantic waves of the stormy ocean with me).
In addition and furthermore, the work/career situation has led to stirring up bad things in my home life and C and I are struggling to stay together and Miss M is having nightmares and being extra spunky sometimes and I am very, very worried about her, too. Neither situation--work or home life--appears very fixable at the moment. The fact that I wake up every day and find the energy to stand, in the shower naked, begging God is most likely a GOOD sign....is what I'm saying. I still care, and hold a deep-seated belief Something else cares too, and that something good is up ahead it just has to be.
So if I whine occasionally, just know: it's childhood trauma (per Anne Lamott and her wise spiritual friend) rearing its ugly head. Or it's the insanity that's completely overtaken public education these days, particularly in our poor schools. Or it's another crappy mom/wife/home life moment I just dealt with. Or it's just me having low vitamin D levels and needing a good nap. Who cares? Come read on those days and know we're all in this, that it's okay to be radical and reach out--even to the silent World Wide Web--to scream: THIS IS MAKING ME FEEL REALLY SHITTY BUT I'M STILL NOT GIVING UP!!!!
Because maybe someone else out there feels the same. And that is why I write--connections matter. Telling a story truthfully matters. I don't know any other way to be Me than to continuously try to make connections in a truthful, storytelling way. In public in most situations and in person around small children (not while driving), I can control the swears and the are you kidding me?!?! reactions. But behind a keyboard and while writing? You get to experience Really Real Amy, and all her neuroticisms. I'm not sure that's a word but who cares. And so there. I said it. This is me, here I am, and so....
I guess what I'm trying to communicate is this: if this just isn't your thing, just not something you want to read that day, it's okay by me for you to say: Hey, uh, Amy? I'll come back and check in later to see if Pollyanna's back, cracking her jokes, telling silly Miss M stories, talking writer stuff, or being a fake movie critic. This is a bit too real for me right now. Or even: Hey, uh, Amy? I'm sorry. I thought this blog was going to be about jokey jokes and writery storytelling stuff, not teacher girl misery crap. I'm going to go read The Onion dot com from now on--best of luck to you!
Because, seriously, no matter what I'm totally fine with any of those choices, Internet, since I really just started this blog to scream out into the ethos of Your Silence. I ain't doing it for you, is what I'm saying, I'm doing it for me. (Okay, okay FINE. I AM doing it for you, to a point, because I have a healthy sense of audience, or at least an idea of the audience I'd like to attract and hopefully write for. But most of these people are all a lot like me, and if we met for coffee or drinks after work, we'd spend a lot of time high fiving each other on how messed up but still really awesome we are.) (And we ARE awesome...possibly not Monday through Friday, August through May in a classroom doing all the stuff on their checklists, but all the days in between.)
I'm going to meditate on this quote a lot. I'm going to memorize it, and sing it (naked) in the shower until the Universe gives in. And I'm going to keep taking deep belly breaths and waking up and moving forward.