learned things.

I think this picture would be an awesome resource for me when confronted with a problem:
just how BIG is it, really? Because I bet most of my problems usually fall between 0-2, but I react like they're
levels 3-5. Just breathe, Amy. And give it a level.
I've learned some things about me since separating from C in June. Some of the things are things I've always known are true about myself, but maybe are just an integral part of who I am; what makes me me (be they good or bad). It is what it is, que sera sera. Other things are things I've always kind of suspected, but know for sure are true now. And some things are new revelations. I submit the following learned things for the Internet's amusement/entertainment/connection/whatever:

1. My temper. I have one. Except it implodes rather than explodes. I have a hard (really hard) time expressing anger to anyone other than myself or my child. I was getting there with C before packing up and moving out; the problem with this was that my expression of anger was completely new for him and he wasn't sure how to handle it; he was used to being the one in the indignant driver seat, with me being the object of his indignancy. When the tables turned, it left the whole foundation of our relationship kind of wobbly. People who are used to being super stars don't like to know when they aren't being very, you know, super starry.

At any rate, I think it's healthy to express - explode - every now and then. Over the right things. My issue is I implode, and often over the wrong things. Or sometimes I explode over the right things and then give in to the other person's ridiculous need to guilt trip and apologize when I shouldn't. Or I implode over the right things when I should have exploded and I still end up apologizing. I am the most exasperating, exhausting person I know. 

I don't know how to change this, but I want to.

2. My impatience. One reason I'm kind of a crappy cook/baker is my lack of patience. Can't I just stick it in the microwave and have it come out looking like it does when the Four Seasons chefs make it? Stupid. It's just going to get chewed up, digested, and pooped out anyway.

I'm kind of the same way when stuck in traffic, standing in a long line, and anytime I have to set foot in Wal-Mart (omg, I hate Wal-Mart; it is the very definition of "necessary evil"). I wonder if I've always been like this or if it's a learned behavior? I'm having dinner at my mom's today and may ask (if I'm in the mood for a long list of other less than stellar things that I've been like over the years).

3. My intense guilt. I've learned, since June particularly, I really can't hang with people who do the guilt trip thing. Because listen: I do the guilt trip thing every single day of my life, on myself. Don't need yours on top of it. I've learned people who resort to guilt trips on other people are doing it for the following reasons: power and control. And they always create the very situation they're trying to avoid. Not worth it.

But lands, I'm good at guilting myself for everything. I wish I were more Bohemian. It's my ultimate goal in life to be a Bohemian. Seriously. I want to dress like a gypsy every day, walk out of my house barefoot and hugging my tambourine, kiss and love freely and with tremendous abandon, and not give a flying crap what anyone thinks or has to say about it. (In my estimation, I'm about 1/4 there...I think when I stop feeling the need to blonde over my grey hairs and perform major body hair removal will be the day I make to the half-way mark.)

4. My procrastination. Not too much to say here except: it's always been a problem, continues to be a problem, still working on how to make it less of a problem. Like, right now I owe $182 to my doctor's office but I haven't sent them the check. Have the money, have the check, haven't mailed it. Why? Procrastination. I pay bills online, I don't have stamps. Need to go take the envelope with the payment inside to the post office for a stamp. Been procrastinating. Had 90 days to pay the bill, and I thiiiinnk I'm at 120 days. I don't know. I've been procrastinating looking at the bills they keep sending me, asking for their $182.

It ain't pretty, but like my temper and impatience, it's who I am.

5. My overthinking. EVERYTHING. If it can be overthought, I overthink it. I'm talking about things like deciding which brand of mustard to buy, not even just the big stuff. I'm actively working hard to change this about me; if I'm going to exhaust myself over exploding/imploding angrily at the right vs. wrong things, I'm going to send myself to an early Type A person's grave if I'm also stressing myself out with overthinking. 

When it comes to overthinking, I've learned people who do this do it because they like to play psychic and/or armchair psychologists, two head games I happen to be most excellent at. Though I think I'm a better psychologist than psychic, just because I've been through so much therapy in my life. (In addition to Oscar-winning dramatic diva actress, I think my other missed calling is highly-sought after/self help book writer/frequent Oprah guest therapist.)

In addition, overthinkers create problems that were never there to begin with and it always, you know...creates a lot of problems. Every single time I've imploded angrily over the wrong things it's been because of overthinking. Every. Single. Time. And every single time I've ended up less than happy with the brand of mustard I've walked out of a store with? Overthinking was the culprit. Every. Single. Time. 

Personally I think there's a way to be existential about practically everything, and the key to it was written in a really annoying Disney song called Let It Go. The Buddhists teach this as the fundamental core of their belief system and it's why I always tell people I love Jesus and Buddha and so if I have to have a religion, I'm a Buddhistian.  I'm only talking about the not-crazy Buddhists, though, because did you know there are crazy Buddhists? Every single religion has crazy people in it, even the religions that teach their people to Let It Go. Because you know what human beings are really crap at (I've learned)? Being able to Let It Go. Also: Is that song stuck in your head yet? Hope so. Welcome to my world. 

At any rate, I think I'm getting better at Let It Go/Buddhistianity/not overthinking. The key (for me) (besides singing the song Let It Go) has been to just consciously remove my mind from whatever it is by saying: In one week, one month, one year this thing isn't going to matter. And then I remind myself until I haul off and kill someone in cold blood there are no good or bad choices, just choices, and that everything I do, think, and say will land me eventually where I'm meant to be, so just go with the flow, yo. Then I distract myself with something else to think about or do. 

That's worked fairly well for me so far, until the moment it hasn't. Everybody slips up now and then, though, I suppose. And I think the key to accepting that is to, um, not overthink it too much. But mostly, I've just adopted an "it is what it is" kind of attitude about everything. I firmly, absolutely believe we are put here to love and accept each other as is; that even the most heinous of us (yes, ISIS, I'm talking about YOU) are here to teach and learn from each other. I've met people I so deeply admire and strive to be just like, and I've met people I never want to imitate in any way, shape, or form. But the most important thing is to accept and love people as is. If I'm overthinking things I'm not able to do that and that's not who or how I want to be. 

(Caveat: if someone shows you they're deeply troubled and/or abusive and/or not right for you, it is okay to send them light and love from afar and not have anything to do with them ever again - you do not have to repeatedly expose yourself to something or someone that stresses you out, and this includes family members. It is okay to do this. Be loving and kind to YOURSELF first and foremost; doing this will make it far easier for you to extend love and acceptance to others. And if, for whatever reason, you find you're unable to extract yourself from a particular relationship at the moment, it is okay for you to keep that person at extreme arm length emotionally and stop letting them in so much, so far. It is okay to protect yourself. You can protect yourself and still be a loving, kind person. In fact, you'll be more loving and kind in the long run, because you take care of YOU first; that's the key to loving and accepting the world as is - put YOUR oxygen mask on first, then start helping others.)

Also I would like to note I get the overthinker trait honest: I come from a long, long line of overthinking females. Maternal side. It may be in my DNA. But I've heard you can even overcome that. If you think about it hard enough. 

Last, this has nothing to do with my learned things, although I guess they're kind of things I've discovered how I feel about after two-plus-decades teaching elementary age children. So can I express some thoughts about these pictures? I saw them on Pinterest the other day and I feel these are things that need to be addressed:

Who the hell has time for this AND to teach? I see stuff like this on Pinterest and just think:

somebody either doesn't have a social life or someone has a full-time teacher's aide. I see things like this and think: Holy crap, our fire marshall would have a fit and give us a ten page violation write up for that. The fire marshall is the elementary school teacher's nemesis.
 Although in fairness to the hard-working fire marshalls of the world, a friend of mine once

had a mentor teacher who'd always say sage things like "Cute don't teach." 

THIS is what she was talking about, exactly what she meant.

 This is what they want kids to do today when they read. As a writer, I do this with a lot of things I read - I highlight things that really move me or make me go WOW, I write notes in the margins about character development or what I think the theme here is or why the writer chose that phrase or whatever. Or just thoughts.

So making kids do this isn't a bad thing. But what age are we making them do it? Because I'm doing this in 2nd grade, and it's the hardest thing to frickin' teach. And whenever I find myself going: this is the hardest thing to frickin' teach, the thing I think I'm learning about 21st century/Common Core-centric teaching is that if I'M having a hard time communicating it to them and/or THEY'RE having a hard time understanding it, then it's, you know. TOO FRICKIN' HARD. Which means it's probably beyond their developmental level, which means it's inappropriate for their age group.

Also, sometimes I DON'T make notes in the margins when I read stories. Sometimes I just read a book because it's nice to just enjoy a good story. When did "just enjoy a good story" become a dirty thing to suggest doing in schools? Can kids have some down time? I mean, they're kids.

I'd put reading for enjoyment at a Level 0 on the How Big Is My Problem? list.

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