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My current list of irrational fears:

  • That an enormous earthquake will occur while at the gym and the the moorish dome above my elliptical  will collapse on me.
  • That I have gained 45 pounds since September.
  • That I will be single and lonely forever.
  • That I use too much water, not because we are in a drought, but because I fear this kind of crap.
  • That I have buckets of yarn, and no finished product.
  • That I have lost me.

OR

My current list of rational fears:

  • That an enormous earthquake will happen while I am asleep and the books by my bed will crash down on me.
  • That I have gained 12.8 pounds since September.
  • That I am currently single and lonely for now.
  • That I use too much water taking baths, but not because I drink enough water.
  • That I have buckets of yarn.
  • That I have lost a little bit of me over the past four months.

It’s been a hell of a few months–one filled with growing, learning, stress-eating, a lack of exercise, and yes, sacrificing my passions and interests for the sake of this new job. I knew this would happen 1. because this always happens when a major change comes into my life, and 2. that I have let it happen. 

The other day, at the apex of my stress and frustration and lack of sleep and exercise, my mom had a good Coming to Jesus with me, and told me to start small and things will work their way back to the way I want them. I went home, didn’t go to the gym, took to Benadryl, and went to bed at 9:30. I woke up a quasi-new person. So the next day, I didn’t stress the smaller things at work, and got over my intimidation with a coworker who refuses to follow the rules of teaching some of my more learning disabled students. I took charge, was firm, and refused to take no for an answer. I ate lunch with coworkers, and left at 3:30. I went to the gym, took a long walk after, and went to bed. 

Today I had a bit of what I like to call a shit sandwich. I had to meet with an auditor for California’s Department of Education to ensure we were in compliance with one of my student’s accommodations and services. While one of my career fears has come true this year (the case manager who had my 17 students last year did NOTHING to document his work with the kids, and left me holding the bag), I have cleaned house and my kids are 150% compliant. So while the stress of a 2.5 hour meeting with an auditor for the CDE was daunting, I had coworkers in the room reaffirming all that I do for my students, all that we do for our students.

Tonight, while working on the elliptical at the old Alhambra Theater, a moorish 1920s gorgeous place destroyed by toothpick thin blondes in barely-there workout gear, and guys looking over their shoulders admiring their abs, I looked at the stunning dome and panicked on where I would go if an earthquake struck. And suddenly I felt normal again. These were my old fears. While it might be slightly irrational (I personally wasn’t under the dome, and I was right next to the emergency exit), these were the old things that bogged my mind before September. 

I decided to take a long walk again after, and passed a brand new shop with the most amazing window display. To my delight, it was a boutique craft store, filled with Debbie Bliss yarns, 60s pop fabrics, and the nicest women ever. I walked in and ogled over everything, and discovered that they have sewing classes and since they opened this week, are holding a 2 day sewing class to make the cutest skirt ever. AND it’s for beginners.

But I am not a beginner. I have four “blankets” in bunches in the bottom of my closet. I did it all wrong. Each of them. So yes, that fear is also quasi-rational, however, who the hell cares? Not finishing a project is not a shit sandwich. It’s just adult-onset ADD (self-diagnosed). I decided that I need this class. It’s just the kick in the ass I require NOW. 

So I can think about all these irrational and rational fears and embrace them. Because I need to. It’s the first time I have had time in four months to even think about anything beyond work and school, and what I am not, what I do not have, what I can not do. That’s a lot of nots.

So it’s time to put on my big girl panties, and as the beloved Pete Seeger sang, “I’m gonna board that big greyhound, carry the love from town to town. Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on”. Don’t worry–I know the song’s history and political implications, but sometimes, we have to use someone else’s inspiration for our own. I mean, isn’t that the entire concept behind My Words on a String?

So tonight, I wrote the first blog entry since September. It shall not be neglected this long again. I haven’t worked on my novel since October. That is a bigger shit sandwich than meeting with the auditor, who ended up being sweet, and told us how amazing of a team we are. A bigger shit sandwich for me.

How amazing I am. Sometimes I forget that. I think that’s the next baby step for me. I need to keep telling myself. Or, perhaps we all need to tell each other more often. It does more for the soul than rationalizing our fears.

———–

Let Your Love Go–Bread

El Paso–The Old 97s

Come on a My House–Rosemary Clooney

Human Touch–Bruce Springsteen

My Oh My–David Gray

Eyes on the Prize–Pete Seeger

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