XXXI: No Apologies


Frequently I’m reminding of the adage that if you’ve been gone from your blog for a while, don’t come back as a writer…apologizing for being gone. The reality is that unless you’re a reality star, the world didn’t even realize that you were gone.

The earth keeps moving.

The earth is moving.

The earth moves.

Caught between a funeral and a deductible for a smartphone (this is a thing now); life just keeps moving in our weird, strange, and sometimes stressful household. My grandmother finally passed away, resulting in myself spending quality time with my family for four days in a town of 1000 people. My dream is to one day properly write down this event in text so that all can understand why life is sometimes as humorous as it is scary. The third quarter at school has ended and spring break begins on Friday. Overall, tranquility is a word that would be appropriate with the current trends of my own life.

At one point I was fearful of tranquility; equating it with compromising and settling. Things I feared, but sleeping with windows open, enjoying green grass, and running through our local community really has hit in stride with me the openness of seeing tranquility not as potentially just a sin, but perhaps also a blessing.

When the internal struggles of life calm down, that’s when we find our opportunity to critique, adjust, and learn about ourselves. With the quieter time that I’ve found in recent weeks I’ve started to take a closer look at the social aspect of myself…or…to be realistic; the struggle of it.

From school to church my social skills are in need of adjustment. In my head so many things make sense; I completely understand standing in the corner of a room listening to conversations without saying anything. That seems normal in my own mind, but that is a failure of understanding how it lacks of social drive of interaction with people around me. Last weekend, and this bothered Darco to no end, I found myself standing in the corner of our local running store. I had just finished my first race of the season, I was enjoying some snacks, and watching other people conversate within the building.

Turns out, as Darco stated sternly, I looked incredibly awkward acting as a grown version of a middle school wallflower. Internally, I understood that my choice was to observe not to interact. I didn’t want to interact because I wasn’t sure how, and just watching and analyzing topics of conversation was much easier. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be determined, but the potential body language that was shown toward my own teammates could have been rather poor. Even if the tendency was not meant to be negative.

School is a similar situation. I take sole responsibility for this; some instances throughout the year have shown that I struggle interacting with my peers. No worries dear reader; I interact with 12 and 13 year olds just fine. However, inside a middle schools it’s crucial that teachers work together. There is no greater sense of teamwork in elementary or high school; middle truly is where adults have to interact in order to lay the framework of success for our students.

Turns out that this is something that is a struggle for me. It doesn’t feel natural to listen, to accept, and not to work alone (I sound like some of my students in this sentence). I can say that it’s something that I’ve worked on throughout the school year; there’s some evidence of growth. However, it is still something that needs work.

Our church group is similar. Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll interact. However, most meetings are rather manic. I’m either overly bubbly, conversation driven or…like last week…I had no desire or need to communicate with the people around me. As you could imagine it always raises questions of if there’s something on my mind, if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m not feeling well, etc…

The overall point between these three recent examples is that I’ve been informed, shown, and demonstrated of an error that I have in my conduct between myself and people relative to my own age. At first that was a very hard pill to swallow. As time passed and meditation took place, I began to see that this has been a social issue that I’ve dealt with since I was a very young child. Sure, we could state that it was due to being raised as an only child, but Darco is actually really good at this social thing. I don’t know what the reason for the action, but I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.

Here is why:

If something like this had been shown to me five, ten years ago (it probably was); I would have brushed it off as something that was obviously wrong with everyone else. The arrogance of refusal in accepting that I’m at fault, I’m in error, or that I’m just plain wrong is something that I would have never admitted to. It pains me to type those words. With that said, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people at school, at home, and at church that have zero issues informing me that I’m ‘off’ in how I’m presenting myself to other people. To several, if not all of you, this may seem as such a small issue to have. For me, it’s almost a relief that I can internally accept the truth that I have issues to work on just like everyone else. Additionally, I like the fact that this is an example of an area to develop that doesn’t just affect life in one’s social setting, but also in their work environment.

How’s that for a random topic to type about?

This topic has been in my head and my heart for quite a while. I wanted to type about it so that I could feel secure about ensuring the ‘public’ knows that I have problems. It’s relieving for me because I’m willing to share a social development issue that I’m at fault for, and to state to the general public that it’s something I’m working on.

Consider the typing of this to be liberating if you will.

-D-

XXXI: Off Game


I can only blame Monday’s for so much…

I’m not sure if it was the class that struggled with reading the assignment in class today, whether it was the meeting with administration in the late morning hours (planned, nothing wrong here), or the sheer awkwardness of my complete lack of social skills around my peers this evening…but my day has been a wreck from the near start.

It’s hard to process the anxiety and fully write out the suppression of the individual psyche, but I can assure you that more than once this evening I felt myself taking deeper breaths than usual trying to focus on the room around me. I’m sure that it’s merely ‘all in my head’, but when you do something you love every day and one day doesn’t blend like the others…it’s enough for everything ‘in your head’ to come out in some random form of emotion.

Today was just one of those days where you subconsciously keep a check-list of all of the things that you’ve done wrong from the moment you woke up to the moment you arrived home. Why didn’t the kids understand this topic? Am I teaching to the correct standards? Did I meet with enough students one-on-one in class? Why do I struggle talking to my peers at these workshops? Why did I screw up after-school study hall? Are people starting to wonder if I’m actually a good teacher? What am I doing? The list carry’s on, and on, and on, and on…

This is my mind; I know it is. I understand that I “control” so much of it, but man…when you’ve had an off day, or your game is off, or something isn’t ticking right…especially in the beginning of the week. It’s a mess to recover from.

It’s just a day where you want to apologize to the school, to your wife, and to God for making mistakes that mainly only you know. You pray that you sleep well, eat well, and try to give the next day a better start.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Teacher Cash


Two strange things about my first teaching paycheck:

1. My students applauded the news as if I was a victor of the Hunger Games. It’s as if they knew how painful a month without pay really was.

2. First purchase? A set of black ink pens (G2’s) that I opened similar to a pack of aged Cuban’s. I pulled one out and proceeded to place the rest in my storage closet and lock the door.

I’m transitioning wonderfully.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


Welp…
Against just about every odds within the realm of humanity Darco and I were approved for an apartment last night.
Location?
1 mile from her store (also equates to 1 mile away from Starbucks for me).
3 miles from my school.
10 minutes from our grocery store.

Move in date is October 28th.
Let the good times roll.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Anxiety, Attacks!


Afternoon naps can wait.
What was to be a quick recharge became a REM nightmare. I woke up out of a nap…a nap…in an anxiety attack.

It was terrifying. Sweating, pulse racing, fighting nausea, and trying to figure out where I was. After a few frightening seconds I came to my senses and reflected back on the nightmare I got locked into.

I was back home. Living on scraps behind the local Subway. I had lost everything, even a motivation to live. All I cared about was life once upon a time, my undying joy of fried foods, and the reality in the middle of winter that I had nowhere to live.

That’s the dumbest, most trivial thing that I could be scared of. However, heading into the school year…I’m having fun. I’m challenged, I’m laughing, and my wife is happy because of it.

That’s a life I’m terrified to lose.

I will not go back into that darkness.
I will not.
Ever.

-D-