…But Alexander, I’ll never forget the first time I saw your face.

I wish I could hide my face.  If one more person asks me if I’m ok, I’m going to lose it.  I am not ok, but I also don’t need every Tom, Dick and Harry at work asking me.  They don’t need to know my business.  But I can’t.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially when I’m upset.  Anger, I can occasionally hide, although it usually comes out as tears.  Happiness, I’ll wear with a smile.  Sadness, it’s written all over my face.  My eyes are watery.  My mouth, turned down.  The light, gone.  I’m sure I look like an empty shell.  A hollow person.  I’m barely surviving this week.  I know I’ll swim through the seven layers of shit I feel like I’m buried under and come out the other side, but until then, I wish I could hide my face.

I never was a very good actress.

I wish I could tell you what was happ’ning in his brain…

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 8.34.38 AM.png

This is clearly the workings of a semi mad-woman.  I’ve had such a difficult time planning trips lately.  I’m not sure what it is.  My anxiety comes flaring to life suddenly and my finger hovers hesitantly over the “complete your purchase” button.  It takes me days to book flights.  When did this happen?  I used to book my travel, not with frivolity, but with much less…color coded paperwork.  Sure I’d make lists of things to do with prices and times, but this slightly obsessive, day planned, google-mapped location saved, color-coded mess of a calendar is not my typical style.

I noticed the difficulty start when I was planning my trip to Southeast Asia this past summer.  I didn’t even book my flights until maybe a month out.  The trip did bring me a lot of anxiety.  Solo travel in countries with total culture shock, I wasn’t sure I would be able to figure it all out.  I kept telling myself and everyone around me, “It’s a backpacking trail.  They will be used to tourists.  I’ll be ok.”  I had never had such profound reluctance or anxiety for a trip.

It’s continued on to my planning for this domestic vacation.  I’m not sure what it is.  I can’t seem to visualize what I want to do or when I want to do it without putting it all on a calendar.  I’ve never “saved” locations on google maps either, but for some reason, for this trip it seemed to be a necessity.  I’m not sure what that is.  Maybe it’s inherent of something that I can’t recognize in myself yet.  Or the effect of something I’ve been digging up in therapy.  I’m glad that I’m still able to push through the anxiety mess and travel.  That’s one thing I’m incredibly proud of.  No matter how scared or anxious I get, I will always travel.  There’s too much of the world to see to spend my life scared and afraid.


I’m going to change gears for a minute, but it still fits within the title so I don’t feel the need to make two posts back to back.

If it isn’t apparent from my other posts, I work in a school.  I have two aides in my classroom who help with the daily running of our room and support my students and myself.  I could not run my room without them.  I could do nothing without them.  A fact which I tell them on a daily basis.  I have spent my year making sure to thank them sincerely and often for their effort and their work.  We’ve developed a good, or what I thought was a good, report in the classroom.  I speak to them openly and honestly about work and our personal lives.

My students run a business and we have a cash register in the room.  I opened it on Monday and it looked weird to me.  My head immediately went to custodial.  I called my co-teacher and had her look also.  She also thought it looked a little short.  We count our money, but we hadn’t since Wednesday of the week before due to a snow day and then being backed up with paperwork and losing track.  I wrote a note to custodial and left it taped to the whiteboard above the garbage cans as I thought that’s where they’d see it.  One of my staff members noticed it and we chatted about it for a minute.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I took Tuesday off.  I got messages throughout the day that it had somehow turned into a bigger deal than it should have been.  All because I had to be a sassy cunt and leave a note.

Wednesday morning, I spoke with my assistant principal.  She told me to pull my staff and speak to them as they were upset.  This was news to me.  What did they have to be upset about?  Turns out, they both think that I passive-aggressively, in front of them, with them in the room, accused them both of taking the money.  One of my staff members somehow interpreted me showing them the register key on my key ring (in case someone purchased a card when I was out) meant that I was offering them to take money from the register for personal reasons and that greatly offended them.  They then thought that the register key was in fact NOT on my key ring…it was.  I didn’t remove it.

Then they thought that I just flat out didn’t talk to them about it.  I sincerely thought we had briefly talked about it, but that it wasn’t a bigger deal because I was clearly thinking it was custodial who took whatever money was missing…again, we aren’t even sure what was missing…or if anything was truly missing…it was just a feeling.  Intuition.  BUT I NEVER THOUGHT IT WAS MY STAFF.

They are both so utterly upset with me and I don’t know what to do.  I’ve apologized twice.  Sincerely and from the heart.  I’ve told them that I respect them as professionals and appreciate their help and never ever ever meant to offend them.  I am flabbergasted that that is where their heads went.  I thought that by mid-February they would know me better than that. I thought that if they were upset, they’d approach me, like I would approach them…instead, I had to be told by my administrator that my staff was angry with me.

I’m incredibly upset.  I feel like it’s one thing after another lately.  That no one actually knows me.  Or understands where I’m coming from.  That everything I say is wrong, or upsetting or offending someone.  That people that I work closely with on a daily basis, for almost a year now, could possibly think that I would accuse them of anything, especially without talking to them first.

To top it all off, my administration was insistent that I formally write up another staff member who allowed two students who are wanderers/runners to transition independently without her watching them (or with her watching from a great distance, from which she could do nothing if she needed to).  At their insistence, I did.  Today, they told her I am the one who wrote her up.  Isn’t that not a thing that’s supposed to happen?

It’s been an upsetting day.  An upsetting week.  An upsetting month.  And I am not ok.

2/16/17 UPDATE

This is awkward as fuck.  I’m uncomfortable.  Everyone says the awkwardness will fade and that I just have to keep pretending everything is ok until then.  The awkwardness will fade.  I’m sure it will.  But I will NEVER look at these two people the same way.  I will never not look at them and think, “They don’t trust me.  They don’t understand me.  They think I don’t trust them.”  I will spend every minute I am with them walking on eggshells, overanalyzing every single thing I say or do.  I will rethink every conversation we have from here on out.  I will never have the same carefree attitude that comes with perceived friendship and understanding with these two people again.  I don’t know how people move through situations like this.  How do you let it go and forget?  I know I’ll forgive.  That will come.  But forget?  I will never.  Maybe I’ve developed a strong genetic tie to my father’s side’s ability to hold a grudge (for 50 + years I may add).  I will never forget the looks of impassivity and misunderstanding and mistrust.  It will haunt me.

You know how you have moments that will always be there for you?  No matter how much time has passed?  I will always remember the time I opened my car door into a person on a bicycle.  I will always remember the way a dear dear dear dear dear friend slept on the couch not speaking to me after our first and only big fight.  I will always remember missing my flight to Portland and missing that time with my best friend.  My fuck ups stay with me.  They are burned into my memory and they come up and rear their ugly heads whenever a new (even perceived) fuck up occurs.  Taunting me.  Reminding me of my humanity.  Trying to convince me that I’m a worthless nobody.  My sister would say it’s Satan.  My mother would tell me to read the final prayer of the Amidah.  My therapist would tell me it’s related to my childhood.  None of them are comforting statements.

A month into this endeavor, I received a letter…

I needed you last night and you weren’t there for me.  I texted to let you know what happened.  You sent a perfunctory response.  You know how hard it’s been for me.  You knew how hard I’d take the news.

I called a few hours later.  Maybe it was only a few minutes.  I called.  It sounded like you clicked decline after a few rings.  Maybe that’s my perception.  Maybe you just let it go to voicemail on it’s own.

You didn’t call me back.

You tagged me in a post on Facebook.  You made no other attempt to reach out and see how I was doing.

You spent the day at Disney.

I needed you.  I needed you to return my call.  I needed you to reach out in a personal way and check in on me.  I needed your reassurance that somehow, someway, we’d make it through.

You posted pictures about how scary the Rock-‘N-Rollercoaster was.  How scary the Tower of Terror was.

What about how scared I am?  How scary this decision is?

I am furious at you.  I am disappointed.  I am 8 different levels of upset.  I feel irrational.  Unvalidated.  Unloved.

I understand that you deserve, that we all deserve, to go out and have fun.  That you deserve to live the life you’ve worked incredibly hard to accomplish.  I understand that you won’t always be available the minute I call.  I understand that I can be a lot.  That I’ve shown a tendency to catastrophize or fall down a dark tunnel in terms of thinking about the future and what some of these decisions mean.  I know that I cry, loudly, and have a hard time incorporating other perspectives or reasoning.  But I also know that I’m not wrong.  At least not fully.

I know I’m a lot, but I needed you.  Tagging me in Facebook isn’t enough.  That’s not enough to show you care.  That’s not enough to show that you understand my concern, even if I’m approaching it incorrectly.

It wasn’t enough.

I needed you.  And it wasn’t enough.  Is it because I’m not enough?

As long as he can hold a pen, he’s a threat

I saw this article on CNN this morning.  It’s from the opinion section, which I know can be filled with dribble.  I found this article helpful though.  Here’s the link, but I’m also going to paste the entire text below.  I have nothing of vast importance to say, other than I found this helpful and I think it’s important to read, especially for those of us (like me), who are having a hard time with the political scene as it stands right now, and how to interact with co-workers, friends, and family, who voted for Trump.

 

How to Reason with a Trump Voter

by Ben Mallicote

We are too quick to vilify those on the opposite side of the political aisle.  I am firmly opposed to Donald Trump, but because of where I live, I know a lot of good and decent people who voted for him.  If I feel the urge to disparage Trump supporters as a group, I have to reconcile that urge with what I know about the Trump voters with whom I work, eat and pray.

There are unquestionably people who voted for Trump for ugly reasons, and those folks are probably beyond persuasion (at least by me), but I’ve decided I’m going to spend th next four years trying to persuade the good and decent people; to appeal to their reason and the “better angels of their nature.”

Persuading them means addressing the motivations they’ve expressed, not the motivations we might ascribe to them based on the worst and loudest people on their side.  That’s what I’ve tried to do with a piece I posted last week on Facebook, and later on my website.  It ended up getting a lot of attention on the Internet, and a version of it is reprinted below.

Surprisingly, the most common criticism I’ve gotten from the piece as not been from those on the right saying I’m a “libtard snowflake,” but from those on the left who think I should have said, “You voted for Trump because you’re a fascist,” or the like.  While it’s surly true of some Trump voters, it’s grossly unfair as a blanket criticism of all Trump voters.  Such hot language rightfully alienates decent people, and cuts off any opportunity we might have had to change their minds.

Contrary to the social media headlines, we shouldn’t aim to DESTROY or EVISCERATE or ANNIHILATE the other side; we must persuade them to consider a different perspective.  That’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

That doesn’t mean we should allow wrongs to go unanswered, or yield even an inch in the defense of our rights.  It’s incumbent on all of us to remind our fellow citizens – boldly and continuously – about the ways that this administration is violating democratic norms and American ideals.  A call to treat one another with respect is emphatically not a call to “normalize” what the Trump administration and the worst of its supporters are doing.

To the vast majority of American people, we can say this is evil without saying you are evil.

We should, however, address their stated rationale for voting the way they did.  So to those good and decent people who voted for Donald Trump, here is what I wrote on Facebook and would like to say today:

You voted for Trump because Hillary Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket.  Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.”  Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi.  Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t care about “the little guy.”  Trump’s cabinet is full of billionaires, and he’s taking away your health insurance so he can give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it.  American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war.  Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated and given ISIS a decade’s worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t have the “stamina” to do the job.  Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5 p.m. phone call because “it was at the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in.”

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn’t respect Clinton.  Foreign leaders, both friendly and hostile, are openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and “he tells it like it is.”  Trump and his administration lie with regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let’s be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned.  Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark.  Hey, it happens, and there’s no shame in being taken by a pro.  But now that you know the score, quit insisting the conman is on your side.

History has it’s eyes on you.

It was inevitable that I would, at some point in the next four years, title an entry this.  I’m sure this post will be restated by me many times over during the current political situation.

I’ve never been good at confrontation, dissent, or dealing with people who hold tightly to opinions I strongly disagree with.  Can I participate in a conversation where someone thinks that UCONN mens basketball is categorically better than Syracuse mens basketball?  Sure.  And I can even do it reasonably civilly.    But I know they are wrong.  Where I run into trouble is when people have opinions that, to me, are so clearly on the wrong side of history that it frustrates me that they don’t agree with me.  Not only frustrates, that’s too nice of a word.  It angers me.  It makes my blood boil.  I can feel the heat climbing up my chest and face until I can almost feel the steam coming out of my ears.  I’m having a really difficult time reconciling the fact that I truly believe, I have no doubt at all, I am currently on the right side of history, with the fact that millions of others ALSO believe, without a doubt, that THEY are on the right side of history.  That’s the way life goes though isn’t it?  I’m so convinced of my superiority in beliefs that I can’t even FATHOM how small minded someone must be to believe differently from me.

Now I don’t mean I believe that in all aspects of my personal beliefs that I am superior or correct, but in the following categories, I 100% believe that history will prove that I am right:

  • Trump.  Tell me I’m wrong.  Show me evidence that the policies this man is putting into place are good for our country.  Tell me how banning people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries…EXCEPT FOR THE ONES IN WHICH TRUMP HOLDS BUSINESS TIES…is beneficial to our country and our nation’s safety?  swastika-vandalism-w710-h473  This was in the NYC subway system…on February 5th…2017.  Two thousand and mother-fucking seventeen.  I relate more to this brand of hate because it’s the one that directly affects me, a Jewish woman, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There’s a story floating around the internet of a senior picture at a school in Texas gone awry when a group of around 70 students started shouting “Heil Trump!  Heil Hitler” during their class photo.  The stories, as you all know, go on and on and on and affect everyone who isn’t a white, cis-gender, Christian.  It’s horrifying.  I canNOT incorporate the fact that people, millions and millions of people, think that this man was the correct choice for President of these great, yet broken, United States.  (Photo credit:  http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/02/ny-subway-swastikas-removed-by-hand-sanitizer-in-viral-post.html)

There was a post from Humans of New York that I wish I could find, but I can’t.  A woman was talking about her difficulty with the election cycle and said (something to the effect of), “for me, the line in the sand was the misogyny.  For others, it was abortion.  For others still it was something else. I have a hard time understanding other people’s lines.”  That sums up everything I’m feeling right now.  It unconditionally does not make any sort of sense to me that people could have different lines in the sand.  How can any of the things he said be ok?  How can his stance on business or the fact that he isn’t a life long politician, how can that possibly outweigh ANY of the rest of it?  He would have to hold the secret to ending world hunger and communicable diseases for all eternity to have me even begin to consider voting for him.  How can the fact that the use of a private email server (which, by the way, Trump himself is now doing…hypocrisy much?) be enough to think the current choice is better?  I just, I mean really, I just do not have the capability of incorporating this into any sense of reality.  I just don’t.  Has anyone had success doing this?  Not that I want to try.  But anything? I feel so stuck most days.  I don’t know how to move through a world that exists like that.  Shame on my privileged life that this is my most uncomfortable living setting.  The end of this tunnel seems impossibly far away, and the tunnel could collapse before we even get to the end.

  • LGBTQ rights.  Again.  Tell me I’m wrong.  You who claim that your version of G-d makes no mistakes.  Who claim that to live your life as G-d like as possible is the only way.  You who claim that the path to righteousness is to follow the teachings of a man who spoke about unconditional love and understanding.  Go ahead and tell me again how G-d made mistakes and that people who fall anywhere in the vast queer spectrum are wrong.  A favorite comedian of mine once said, “The mere fact that there are gay people born in the back woods of Alabama is enough to prove that being gay isn’t a choice.”  Why would someone chose to be gay in an area where they will be ostracized, abandoned and the target of mass hate?
  • Abortion.  Please.  Let’s go back to a time where 5,000+ women died annually in a fight to have autonomy over their own bodies.  Tell me again how you, whoever you are, get to decide what is right and what I can or can’t do with my own body.  Tell me again how you, who fight so hard for an unborn collection of cells will then turn around and fight when I request government assistance.  How you will call me a whore, a thief and a liar who lives off the teat of the government and the hard work of other Americans.  The collection of cells only matter until they are born huh?  Then you could care less about them.
  • Education.  Continuing the theme of “these cells only matter until they are born”, let’s talk about education.  How is it even a little OK that a man, who openly mocked people with disabilities, is in charge of appointing someone who will have an impact on my students?  Not only that, but the person he picked?  And we all thought John King was bad.  How in the world is it feasible that a woman WHO HAS NO IDEA THAT THERE IS A FEDERAL LAW PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES, not to mention her atrocious and extremely dangerous belief in taking federal dollars away from Title 1 schools for “school choice” is one small Republican Senator away from being official?  I cannot.
  • Immigration.  Let’s face it people, unless you are a Native American, you are, in some way, shape, or form, an immigrant in this country.  Do we, as a nation, need to make sure that we vet people?  Yes.  But guess what?  We already have a strenuous vetting process to enter this country.  Asking people their beliefs on the President before they enter the country and denying them entrance based on that?  Seriously?  I travel abroad at least once a year.  If they ask me my beliefs, I doubt I’ll be let back in the country.  Do we need to protect ourselves?  Yes.  We do.  Does that mean that anyone with a weird (to us) last name, a hijab, a turban, a burka, or brown skin is inherently evil and a terrorist?  No.  Throughout our history, people have been openly discriminated against based on where they came from.  How many of your relatives came over during one of the immigration waves and changed their last names at Ellis Island for fear of discrimination?  Again, yes, I understand that in the extremism of the post 9/11 world that we live in that we need to protect ourselves as a nation, but this immigration ban is unbelievably un-American.
  • Dakota Access Pipeline.  The crimes we, as Americans, have committed agains the Native Americans is nothing short of genocide in my opinion.  We have pushed policy after policy after policy through to oppress the Native population of this country.  We have marched them from their tribal lands.  We have lied.  We have stolen.  We have raped.  We have pillaged.  We have shrunk a population of people down to it’s bare bones but that’s still not enough for us.  Now, instead of responsibly harvesting energy, we are, as is the norm, taking the shortest (and in this case most destructive) path to victory.  We care nothing for the fact that in refusing the shift the location of a pipeline, we are creating the potential to completely destroy the drinking water for the reservation.  (I am aware that despite a mountain of reading, I may be getting some facts twisted.  If you notice any profound inaccuracies, please respectuflly let me know if the comments below).

The other problem I’m having today is centered around the Superbowl.  Such a silly thing to be up and arms about, when you first read the sentence but hear me out.  I’m not talking about the stunning Patriots comeback and could give two shits about whether or not Brady and Belichick are cheaters (as the evidence strongly suggests that for at least one Superbowl, they were).  What I’m talking about is Lady Gaga’s performance.  I, personally, enjoyed performance.  She did what she always does.  She put on a phenomenal show with a strong message about inclusivity and LGBTQ rights.  That’s been her platform for a while now.  But guess who else put on a killer show with a strong message that’s been in line with their platform?  Beyonce.  That’s right.  But all of a sudden there is article after article and statement after statement about how it was Lady Gaga who taught Beyonce a lesson in bringing America together.  Why?  Because Lady Gaga’s message was about people you could imagine as white?  Because fighting for LGBTQ rights is inherently less “dangerous” than fighting for the rights of people of color?  Because it’s “less” offensive to be gay than it is to be black?  Because we refuse to take a look at our police and we refuse to hold them accountable for murder?  (This in and of itself could turn into a whole rant about how we hold every other profession – mostly – accountable for mistakes – hell…teachers a essentially burned at the stake if they don’t hit a certain criteria for test score).  White people are so unbelievably scared of the concept of ALL people being equal.  If I can no longer oppress people who are black or gay or Muslim, than what does that mean for me as a white person?  Clearly raising someone up to have the same full rights as me means I’m less than right?  Because that’s what it seems like.  We seem to be so convinced that if everyone has equal rights, that really means that we won’t.  There have been so many articles written about why saying “All Lives Matter” is a crock of shit.  Do you homework and go read them.  Whitenonsense Roundup is a fantastic resource.

Ugh.  I’m so annoyed.  And out of time.  I’ll write more tonight if I can remember, or I’ll update tomorrow morning if any new feelings arise.

 

Cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf

It’s Monday!  This is “post experiment” update two.  I have nothing in my hair but some frizz-eaze.  I’m wearing my hair down (for now) and I don’t have make up on.  I feel much more like myself than I have since starting this experiment.  I’m interested to hear what comments I get from people today.  I feel good.  My hair feels soft.  I’m wearing an outfit I’m comfortable in (which I wore both the week I did my hair straight and the week I wore my hair curly).  It’s science at this point.  Keep everything the same and only change on thing, in this case my hair style, to see what the difference in comments is.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

No one has said anything to me.  Good or  bad.  It’s playing with my head.  I think I said it in another post too (the first time during the experiment that I forgot to wear make up).  I’m half panicking that everyone is saying how shitty I look behind my back.  I shouldn’t worry though, people here have no problem telling you they think you look like shit, so I guess if they aren’t saying it to my face, chances are they aren’t saying it.  It’s weird though, before the experiment, I never would have thought twice about people talking shit about me.  Now however, after two weeks of compliments on and off, I’m looking at everyone wondering if they are whispering about me.  I think that’s one of the biggest take aways for me.  I want to be able to wear and style myself how I want, when I want, without having to spend my day worrying about what type of feedback I’m going to get.  If I want to wear my hair straight, curly, or otherwise just a mess, I should feel like I can without worrying about the social consequences.  If I want to wear make up or not, I shouldn’t feel like any less of an attractive or valuable woman.  But there’s that little voice inside of me that disagrees.  I got compliments for two weeks.  I was even complimented on my figure (which seemingly hasn’t changed over the past month or so).  Today, nothing.  Is it a coincidence?  Is it a factor of what I’m wearing (I can’t imagine it is as, as state previously, I’m wearing an outfit that I’ve worn once a week for the past three weeks)?  Is it the lack of mascara?  Again, I don’t think so.  My use of make up was inconsistent at best across the past two weeks.  The only thing I consistently altered was my hair.

It’s a curious feeling, what I’m feeling right now.  I can’t adequately describe it.  I feel more genuine and more like myself than I have in the past two weeks, but I also feel slightly awkward and unsure of myself and I’m worried about comments I wasn’t worried about before starting this journey.

Un, deux, trois, quatre

Saturday.  I wore my hair curly again to see if my therapist would notice a difference.  He didn’t.  Or if he did, he didn’t comment on it.

I wore it curly later that night too for a night out at the bar.  I even kept it down the whole night…in a crowded bar…with dancing.  I’m impressed with myself.  And I had bright purple lipstick on and it stayed on all night.  I really am impressed with myself.  I don’t do that.  I don’t go out.  I don’t wear lipstick.  I don’t keep my hair down when I go out.  I am a very hot person.  A sweaty neck is the last thing you want when you are out.

It was a fun night and I got some compliments from the ladies I was out with.  It was a fun night.