Running on empty, with nothing left in me but doubt…

I’ve been clinging to music like a lifeline lately.  When I find a song that speaks to me in some profound way, I will play it incessantly, as if I’m trying in some desperate way to ensconce myself in the words or melody.

Work has been, traumatic lately, to say the least.  I’ve been met with a situation that is challenging beyond belief.  If I described it here, your responses would probably echo those of my friends, “How is that in the job description of a teacher?”  “That’s a dangerous situation for you.  Can’t they do anything?”  “What are you supposed to do?”  I won’t go in to any more detail here, just know that things at work are traumatic.

I’ve recently rediscovered this song, “All Will Be Well” by Gabe Dixon Band.  It’s featured in Season 4 Episode 6 of Parks and Recreation (“End of the World”).  It starts as Andy and April get in the car and drive to the Grand Canyon.  It’s a beautiful song and I’m currently obsessing over it.

I have a large tattoo on my left hip.  It’s a ribbon of music.  I thought for years about a song that I would want tattooed.  When I came up with the design for this piece, I wanted the notes to be coming off the staff, as if they were floating into space, or floating down onto the staff.  What the tattoo artist ended up doing was putting the notes on the staff.  When people see the tattoo, they ask if it’s a specific song.  It’s not.  I have only a vague idea of what the notes play as a girlfriend of mine played them for me once as I stood half naked in her living room.  The truth of the matter, and the reason why I bring it up here, is that, I don’t care what song it is.  It matters that it’s music.  Music speaks to me on a level that’s almost cerebral.  It allows me to feel things in a safe way that feels acceptable.  Emotions are not an easy thing for me to express or accept – as I’m sure I’ve said in previous posts.

I have playlists for almost every mood.  My playlist for when I’m feeling angry is filled with songs such as “Still Life” by CrowneVict, “Trapdoor” by Rubikon and “Until You Fly” by Cade.  My playlist for when I’m feeling sad is centered around the soundtrack to the movie “The Piano”.  I can listen to “The Heart Asks For Pleasure First/The Promise” on repeat for hours on end.  The same goes for “Act 4: Ah Tutti Contenti” from The Marriage of Figaro.

I don’t have a point in writing this other than to say that music allows me to express how I’m feeling safely.  It speaks for me when I find I don’t have the words to express how I’m feeling, or when I can’t process what I’m feeling.

Here are the lyrics for “All Will Be Well”.  I’ll try to remember to try and embed it in this post when I get home tonight.  Either way, go give them a listen.

The new day dawns
And I am practicing my purpose once again
It is fresh and it is fruitful if I win but if I lose
Oooooo I don’t know
I will be tired but I will turn and I will go
Only guessing til I get there then I’ll know
Oh oh oh I will know

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

The winter’s cold
But the snow still lightly settles on the trees
And a mess is still a moment I can seize until I know
That all will be well
Even though sometimes this is hard to tell
And the fight is just as frustrating as hell
All will be well

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

Keep it up and don’t give up
And chase your dreams and you will find
All in time

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

You can ask me how but only time will tell

…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.