My mother once told me that I inherited my root of bitterness from her side of the family. I guess my heart of darkness came from my dad’s side. The application of this metaphor means I have a tendency to hold onto shit for way longer than I should; me letting go of something takes years and steady work. I let things build and build until I go nuclear which is not a great way to deal with things—my anger becomes disproportionate in those times. I have gotten better about that, but the small improvement has caused its own problematic discovery. I have a quickfire side to my temper; it flares up and then its gone. Balancing these two types of anger with who I want to be is a challenge and it’s one I will continue to deal with until I lose my mind or my life.

We all have aspects of our personalities we struggle with. My laziness is another big issue in my life. I get overwhelmed more easily than I should (and less easily than I used to). For example, I have a stack of papers to grade and I start working my way through the pile; then, I hit that one truly awful paper where the kid has clearly banged it out in five minutes with no thought and less editing and I just want to never grade another paper ever again. So I stop grading for awhile and then I get further behind. It’s a vicious cycle.

The part of my job I love is the planning and the teaching. I love spending time reading articles and poetry and novels and essays and short stories. I love teaching kids, interacting with them, getting them to think, and pushing them out of their comfort zones with literature. I love seeing them get into a story they never thought they’d like. I love seeing them make brilliant comments that make their classmates drop jaw. I live for the times when I get to see the learning happen.

I watch trashy teen television shows to keep in touch with what some of my students might be watching. I read terrible YA novels (and great YA novels) based on student recommendations. I exchange music recommendations with my students which is always fun and sometimes a little painful. I have a tumblr so I can see how that side of the social divide live. A group of my students got me to actually use my Twitter account (granted it’s mostly to let them know about assignments, mostly).

However, I still can’t Facebook. I’ve tried. I have an account with a handful of entries from a few inspired days. I just can’t get past this thing that people do where they try to make their lives look super awesome for a host of people who don’t really matter or they spread everything that should stay quiet and private onto the screen for everyone to see. Some people just piss me off and I shouldn’t let myself get snotty with them even when they deserve it.

I don’t live on the edge or in the middle, so for a long time I thought that meant I didn’t have much to offer.

However, Robert Frost came to my rescue again, because both those roads were equally worn and the woods were lovely and dark and deep.

I may have miles to go and promises to keep—I’ll get there when I get there.

Oh, is that a rabbit with tea?


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