Shards of Joy

This is my first place with a ceiling fan (upstairs & on the main floor) and they are brilliant. I may change my mind in the midst of a heat wave, but I appreciate what I have and what makes life a little easier. I spend so much time dwelling on the hard or the might-have-been that I sometimes forget about little bits of joy.

Silliness also makes the world spin

Today was so lovely I was able to take several classes out to read in the courtyard. It’s a great little space with different kinds of seating, shade & sun, and everything is within vocal distance when I read out loud or we need to discuss things.

Add books, students, and a breeze.

Random 230402

I am determined to actually do this regularly. I never stick to the blog thing for more than a handful of posts at a time. I have a great habit of planning and failing to follow through. I don’t have a vision for this…I never really have. I just want to practice writing, put my thoughts out there.

I don’t know what I want to say. I just want to be heard. So say we all…

Even though I’m in a new space, my bedroom is still my safest space. Not sure what’s up with that. My world kept shrinking during the Spring Lockdown in 2020 until I was spending most of my time in my bedroom. I have been working my way out of that in increments, but I have a feeling it’s something I’ll have to be watching over the next few years. When I moved, my ideal place was a one bedroom—enough room for me and the cats. I adore the row house I’m renting and am truly grateful to be living here. It’s bigger than I need. Not sure it would be big enough for another person though.

Change is good. I tend to stay in place too long, letting the moss grow.

A podcast I’ve been binging just hit the pandemic and the summer of the #BlackLivesMatter protests. One of the hosts keeps repeating “people don’t change until it’s too painful not too” and I don’t want to agree. But I have been taking stock of things and trying to make positive changes over the last three years. I’ve had some personal upheaval in that time, things that have made me question some of my relationships, my choices, my personality, my career.

Bite my tongue & swallow my words when…

  • I want to diffuse something
  • I want to comment on someone else’s life
  • I want to be heard
  • I think I’m teasing

I will never be my best self. I can only hope to try to be my better self each day.

May the whirlwinds you reap fill your cracks with beauty rather than darkness.

The Tone

I read Naomi Alderman’s The Power as soon as it came out, more than once. I found it fascinating in the way where I wanted a sequel that explored the world Neil Armon comes from. He’s fictionalized a past the we almost live in and now that there’s a version on Prime in technicolor glory, I want a second season that explores 5,000 years in a future that’s “recovered” from the story’s ending…

I also wanted to see a Handmaid’s Tale that dug deeper into the transition. One that isn’t afraid to kill its darlings in the inevitable revolutions.

The problem these shows have is how seriously they take the preachiness. Feminism is stronger when women stand together as, strangely, season 5 of RHOM proved with the fame seeking & embracing “housewives” pulling together for one of their own. The Bravo franchises may have those who preach, but it gleefully embraces the “hoisted on one’s own petard” school of entertainment.

I think a world ruled by women would be just as corrupt as a world ruled by men—oh, the human nature!

I also think that victims don’t have to become bullies. Some become protectors. Some become advocates for change. Some become iconoclasts. And some fall into the corruption of power.

People of all walks of life can become corrupted by power. That’s sort of the point of both The Power, The Handmaid’s Tale, Bravo franchises, and politics of every time and place and space.

Not even stories can manage to truly create a perfect world.

We need conflict to grow. We need darkness to understand light. We have to struggle to find out what we can do and who will support us on the way.

I have only recently started to see a flicker of light at the end of a dark tunnel and I am not sure I’ll ever be able to adequately thank the people who just provided emotional support, who kept on being my friends, who prayed for me or listened to me, or encouraged me. I can keep trying to help others, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like it’s enough. And, some days, knowing there will be more dark times presses me down to depths I struggle with.

I am such a different person from who I once was. I’ve learned so much about how to handle some types of people and some types of situations. I am still myself though. I still struggle with wanting to fit in or to feel like I am enough on my own. I am finally hearing that my humor comes across as fucking rude to some people and that’s why I need to bite my tongue instead of thinking I’m funny.

I still have a lot of reasons to swallow my words with the blood that comes from biting my tongue, but my idea of humor has finally been added to the (long) list. At my core I just want to be heard, but I don’t think anyone is actually listening.

May the whirlwinds you reap be full of flowers rather than filled with angry lightning…

Keep Moving

Today was a grouchy, growls, pain-filled, anxiety-fueled day. I was not my better self. My mom texted to ask how I was and I responded with “I don’t even know. I’m just a stress ball with a migraine in a classroom full of teenagers.”

My desk on an average day.

Students are sensitive to the highs and lows around them. Sometimes they react with kindness and sometimes the teenagerness rises like a wave. Today was the latter; I can’t be too upset by that reaction. Two steps to the side can get you in the weeds pretty easily. I just hope I didn’t make anyone else’s day too much worse. Being a teenager is hard enough.

With the frustration I’ve been experiencing, the difficulty of the day to day is easing in this new space. But I keep reaching for the passion I haven’t had for the last five years. I’m trying. I have good days. I want to do right for myself, for my students. I want them to improve their communication and critical thinking skills….

Lately though, lately, I’ve been considering what else they need to embrace. So many students have an appearance of clinging to ignorance or the party line—whose party line is the question.

I know they have things I’m they are passionate about.

I know they have things they care about.

I know they have things they know about.

How do I get them passionate about reading or writing? How do I help them study all sides of the topics they care about and then communicate what they’ve learned? How do I tap into what they already know and expand it?

These are the things that haunt the back of my mind, that make me feel out of touch.

God—Creator, Sacrifice, & Guide—
Help us in these current storms…
Grant us grace that we may share it with others;
Grant us the wisdom to bring the right supplies,
So we may help those with less than what we have.
Please be our shelter from the wild winds.

Be true…

I’m one for making plans, but I do my best work in between those plans. If I focus on my bright ideas, I trip and fall and fall and fall and fail.

In 2007 I revealed to myself that I can do just about anything if I keep putting one foot in font of another. That how I finished the Portland Marathon in nine-and-a-half hours which is a long time especially for someone in poor physical health. I finished though—2500 people didn’t, but I did. So did fourteen other people behind me. We pushed ourselves beyond any expectation or known limit just to be able to say we finished.

It’s one of the things I hold close to my heart when things seem bleak.

Lydia lived with me in the fourplex my friends dubbed the pit…Beau only knew the house and fell too soon. The Terrors had a couple of rough weeks adjusting to the row house, but they are solidly settled.