Friday, October 26, 2012

Lesson Learned

Every day I feel like I’m learning something from my students.  Today we were painting and I watched one of my kids very carefully plan out what she wanted to do.  And then make a mistake.  If that had been me, at home, on my on painting, there would have been recriminations.  I would have ragged on myself for hours about what a talentless hack I am.  No, my two year olds don’t have that kind of vocabulary, but they are fully capable of getting upset or angry.  But instead of being angry, this little girl saw her mistake and embraced it.

We have to learn to be hard on ourselves.  In all my years of teaching, I’ve never seen a little one that was naturally hard on him-or-her-self.  I’ve learned the lesson of how terrible I can be quite well in the last thirty years and I’ve forgotten that sense of amazement my kids show me every day- the awe of “Ms. Tina!  I did it!” that I hear from them.  I don’t record my successes in my head.  I record my failures.  And the accumulated pile of failures is what I normally learn my lessons from, instead of learning from my achievements the way my kids do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I didn't like the part where I couldn't go roller skating last night like I wanted. I didn't like the part where I had to get up at five this morning. I did like the part where life was awesome.

Before the run

During the run people kept asking em to take their picture (it wasn't timed and we were there for fun), so I finally asked one of them for a picture of me

Me, Leah and Leta

Friday, October 12, 2012

Unicorn Success Club

Climbing out of the abyss, I didn’t mention my big achievement last month.  I ran the Brookfield ZooRunRun for the Conservation Fund.  Although I didn’t meet my fundraising goal, I exceeded my fitness goal.  I planned on averaging thirteen minute miles, and managed twelve and a half minute miles.  I planned on forty-five minutes and finished in forty-one.
Sarahmason and I- unicorns instead of bunny ears :)

Just before the run

Pretending to run, so we could get a picture 
Totally posed, crossing the finish line (which we did not actually do together, but a very nice woman agreed to take our picture)
Next up? Sunday morning I'm walking the Color Run in downtown Chicago with most of The Unicorn Success Club.  We're just walking, no fitness goals, no plans to achieve a miracle.  Just walking in the early morning and getting showered with awesome.

(Also, the ZooRunRun puts me at 6.4 miles on my goal to 10 miles and Double Unicorn Success.  By Sunday afternoon I'll be at 9.6.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Not Pretty Enough"

Before my descent into chaos I started to write about personal theme songs.  To me that’s the music that plays inside my head, like a soundtrack to my life.  I don’t really know if other people experience this, but music is a strong influence in my life.  I have to be careful of what I listen to because it impacts my life in a strong way.  For instance, I previously posted that one of my personal themes is Kasey Chambers’ “Not Pretty Enough”.  Because the videos don’t seem to be playing the way I want them to, and I’m not far enough out of the abyss yet to have the energy to look for a better video, I’ll include some lyrics-

I live, I breathe, I let it rain on me
I sleep, I wake, I try hard not to break
I crave, I love, I've waited long enough
I try as hard as I can

Am I not pretty enough
Is my heart to broken
Do I cry too much
Am I too outspoken
Don't I make you laugh
Should I try it harder
Why do you see right through me

I laugh, I feel, I make believe it's real
I fall, I freeze, I pray down on my knees
I hope, I stand, I take it like a man
I try as hard as I can
The key to what makes this song so impactful to me is not in the idea that she’s not pretty, it’s in the idea that she’s downright invisible.  She cries out several times (in the chorus and then repeats it about five times at the end of the song) “Why do you see right through me?”.  She’s doing the best she can, just struggling through life, and yet she’s invisible, whomever she is singing about doesn’t just not return her emotion, he doesn’t even know she’s there.  And I’ve been there.  Yearning for something, for someone, and knowing that no matter what I do, I can’t have it.  And the thing is, I’m so used to being that invisible girl that I’ve grown used to it.  I don’t like it when people look at me.  I don’t like when people are aware of me, and I go to some extremes to insure that people don’t see me.  I’vewritten before about my theory of “fake Tina” and “real Tina” but there’s more to it than just the way I act.  For a long time I dyed my hair big bold colors (I was a particular fan of jet black), wore outrageous clothes trying to keep all the attention on “fake Tina”.  “Real Tina” has been out in the open a lot more recently, but I’ve spent all that time trying to develop a Tina that is unnoticeable because I don’t want to draw attention.  Although, apparently there is a flaw, because I think I’ve been noticed.

I started this post with the idea that I would write about other personal themes, but I’ll have to leave it for another night, and another mindframe.  Because now I’m off to listen to a forbidden song, and dwell on… things I’m not talking about yet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm back (I hope)!!

So the last few months I’ve been feeling burned out on life.  Not one single thing seemed to go the way I wanted it to and it took more energy just to get up in the morning and go to work than I had to expend.  Thus there was no writing anything.  Every creative outlet, in fact, was barred to me because I was so worn out.  Which only wore me out more because I need to express myself through paint, or words, or photography.  I have to do something.  I finally realized I needed a break from the daily grind to recharge, to reenergize, to relearn what it is that makes me tick.  A break from every obligation of life- no people, no work, no plans.  Just me, my computer (and thus my novel), and a bag full of art supplies.  So I started Goggling, trying to find the perfect solution.  It turns out that when one is looking for a quiet getaway, Google only knows about two kinds- a spiritual retreat led by some sort of religious leader (and thus chock full of obligations) or a romantic getaway for two.  I struggled to figure out what a single girl who just wanted to be left alone was supposed to do.  But I finally found it.  And it’s even within my budget.  I don’t leave until November, but just knowing that I have a plan has helped the creative juices start flowing again.  I can feel plot lines wrap around me and characters that had fallen silent are whispering in my ear again.  I’m trying to refrain from writing to much about my novel (because it’s still very fragile and criticism can only break it at this point), but while I’m waiting to go on vacation to really dig back into it, I’m back to writing here.  Which is in itself a good sign.  I don’t promise any kind of regularity or even quality, but I’m hoping that I’m finally through the darkest part of my personal crazy.